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Elizabeth May calls once more for taxes on major internet companies
Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks during the Federal leaders debate in Gatineau, Que. on Monday, October 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Christian Paas-Lang, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, October 9, 2019 2:00PM EDT
OTTAWA -- A Green government would "level the playing field" by implementing taxes on companies like Facebook and Netflix, leader Elizabeth May highlighted on the trail Wednesday.
She was in Montreal, emphasizing the effect she expects the Greens' plan for foreign internet-based companies would have in protecting Quebec culture.
The Green plan includes making sure tech companies charge GST as well as taxes on revenue. The plan would also close loopholes around advertising tax writeoffs May says encourage digital advertising to the detriment of local media.
May said the policy on tech firms extends to companies like Facebook, Amazon and Airbnb, but she focused in particular Wednesday on arts and culture companies like Netflix.
She said leaving the situation as-is is "too large a risk" for the country.
"The culture of Quebec needs to be protected from content that streams into our homes online that has nothing to do with Canada," she said.
May was with several Green candidates, including Pierre Nantel, an NDP MP who switched to run for the Greens late in the summer.
Nantel has long argued for stronger protections for Quebec's cultural sector, and was critical of a deal the Liberal government struck with Netflix in 2017 that committed the content giant to spending $500 million in Canada without specifically earmarking dollars for Quebec productions.
May said under a Green government Quebec would have a veto on similar agreements that affect Quebec culture.
May also highlighted a promise to spend an additional $300 million per year on the CBC and Radio-Canada to help bring its funding up to a per-capita level comparable to the BBC in the United Kingdom.
She said Canada should ensure Radio-Canada is able to provide high-quality broadcasting and can reach francophones outside of Quebec, and that Quebec has a "right to have content that is Canadian."
May said the support for cultural industries fits within the wider aim of creating a green economy.
"We act as though the things that contribute to our economy are the things that are killing us. We actually have green jobs now, and arts and culture are green jobs," she said.
"Poets are part of Canada's economy. Writers are part of Canada's economy, and painters. We need to support the arts in this country more than we do right now."
May has a second announcement scheduled in Montreal this afternoon, on affordable housing.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2019.