Advertisement

Reality check: Is a vote for the NDP or Liberals a vote for a ‘Netflix tax’?

WATCH: Conservative leader Steven Harper released a video talking about Netflix, how much he likes the streaming service and especially the show “Breaking Bad”. He claims the other parties might tax Netflix. But Harper was quickly mocked online for it Global News decided the topic is worth a reality check. Eric Sorensen reports.

Overall truthiness: None.

I’m going to go out on a limb here: Neither the term nor the concept of a “Netflix tax” was on the minds of a vast majority of Canadians until the Conservatives released a statement and video chiding the NDP and Liberals for supporting one.

“I’m 100 per cent against a Netflix tax. Always have been, always will be,” Conservative leader Stephen Harper said in the video, shot while standing in front of a television screen bearing the fire-engine red Netflix logo.

The other guys, though, they’ve “opened the door” to such a tax, Harper warned.

Story continues below advertisement

The thing is, neither the Liberals nor the NDP have said they might do that. So who’s Harper arguing with here?

The closest anyone has come to such a thing was the Ontario government during last year’s CRTC Let’s Talk TV sessions. At one point in the fall 2014 hearings, the provincial Liberal government proposed imposing a fee on Netflix in order to put it on “level playing field” with Canadian broadcasters.

REALITY CHECK: Does the NDP minimum wage plan leave out 99% of minimum wage earners?

The Harper government quickly pounced on the proposal, rejecting it and calling it a Netflix and YouTube tax.

Neither Mulcair nor Trudeau, however, said anything one way or another on the matter; when asked after the Conservative statement and video came out, Mulcair told reporters he has no plan to introduce a “Netflix tax.”

Story continues below advertisement

A  Liberal spokesman told a Global News “any suggestion that the Liberal party supports a Netflix tax is nonsense.”

REALITY CHECK: How’d the NDP and Liberals vote on GST reductions?

The CRTC, the federal radio and telecommunications regulator, rejected the Ontario government’s idea of (what became known as) a “Netflix tax” once the Let’s Talk TV hearings wrapped up.

The CRTC doesn’t regulate the wildly popular television streaming service, which doesn’t charge HST or GST when Canadians sign up and pay the monthly fee.

Canadian online services such as Shomi and Crave, however, are obligated to.

Regardless of how staunch Harper was in his online video, it’s worth noting his 2014 budget called for input on relating to “effective” collection of sales tax on e-commerce sales to Canadians from foreign-based companies. So even the Conservatives, effectively, “opened the door” to that tax.