MNAs vote unanimously to impose QST on Netflix
Published Tuesday, October 3, 2017 7:42PM EDT
Quebec's MNAs have voted unanimously in favour of imposing the provincial sales tax on Netflix and all streaming video services.
The vote comes after days of outrage that French-language culture was being ignored in a sweetheart deal arranged by the federal government for a foreign company that pays taxes in other markets.
Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said imposing the QST will depend on what exactly the federal government has arranged with the streaming content company in its $500 million deal.
He plans to meet with the federal finance minister, among others, in the coming weeks and he hopes they will elaborate on the arrangement whereby Netlflix has promised to spend money on Canadian television and film projects over the next five years.
"We need to know what was, what is, in that agreement between the federal government and Netflix. Especially I need to know if Mr. Morneau and finance Canada what they think of that agreement. Because I find it very odd that the federal government would exempt one company from a tax that all companies should collect," said Leitao.
What is known is that Netflix will not be paying into the Canadian Media Fund, something that Leitao and other MNAs found odd.
"First we need to have that conversation with the federal government. Secondly we need to have them clarify their position as to why or why not they want to give an exemption to one particular enterprise. And then once we have that we will be able to prepare a more effective strategy in our dealings with Netflix and not just Netflix but all the businesses in this field," said Leitao.
Last week federal heritage minister Melanie Joly announced the deal where Netflix would avoid paying taxes, and said that the company would devote $25 million over five years to French-language production.
The leader of Quebec's Union des Artistes, Sophie Pregent, met with Joly on Tuesday and said that Joly did not realize how much anger that deal would generate.
"I think (Joly) genuinely thought the deal with Netflix would assuage our concerns but it did the opposite. The fire has spread all over," said Pregent.
The Union des Artistes represents about 13,000 French-speaking artists throughout Canada.