Netflix tax

Netflix tax: Stephen Harper and the tax that nobody proposed

This week Prime Minister Stephen Harper calmed everyone down about the Netflix tax. What’s that? You never knew that anyone was proposing said tax?  Exactly. In a strange post on Twitter, Harper’s team posted this awkward video that confirms three things for us:

  1. Stephen Harper likes movies and television
  2. Stephen Harper likes Breaking Bad
  3. Stephen Harper’s dead eyes can stare through a man’s soul

Mr. Harper goes on to say: “Some have even called on us to introduce a Netflix tax. .. Now Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair had left the door wide opened to doing just that. I’m 100% against a Netflix tax. Always have been always will be.”

Well, I’m 100% against arming grizzly bears with deadly laser cannons. Always have been. Always will be. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

In all seriousness, this just underscores the lengths that the Conservative government will go to in order to “get the cool kid vote.” Yes, we all love Netflix. No, that does not mean that you have endeared yourself to us. It’s a bit late for that now.

The idea of a Netflix Tax is not something that showed up out of thin air. First proposed at a CRTC hearing in 2014, the Netflix tax idea is intended to put Canadian-based media on equal footing with foreign-owned companies like Netflix. Under Canadian law Netflix is not forced to pay mandatory sales tax back to the government, something that some believe put them in an unfair position in the Canadian market.

Reddit exploded last month when it was confirmed that the city of Chicago was instituting a 9% Netflix tax on citizens. Some are also calling it a “cloud tax” as it applies to a wide range of businesses that operate digital cloud services. Let’s just say that this one has been unpopular.

So is it actually possible that at some point there will be a legitimate political issue around a Netflix tax? You bet. It’s only a matter of time before the Canadian government starts more closely regulating services like Netflix. As for now, let’s just enjoy a good episode of Breaking Bad with Stephen (while it’s still cheap).