Of course, I am talking about Facebook, Google, Netflix and other online media giants.
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Canadian business spent $8.5 billion on digital advertising in 2019, with 87 per cent, or $7.4 billion flowing to foreign internet platforms — mostly Facebook and Google. Netflix made $1.6 billion more, according to the Yale Commission report. Because they have so few Canadian employees, almost all of this is profit.
Canadians who are fighting for their livelihoods and to preserve their businesses, large and small, are right to be furious at Ottawa for allowing these companies to profit so handsomely while the rest of us paid our taxes and now find ourselves struggling to survive.
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It is long past time that Ottawa taxes these companies just like any other corporation operating here. Applying the federal corporate income tax of 15 per cent to foreign online ad sales would yield $1.1 billion. That money would be enough to double the Parliamentary appropriation to CBC.
If Ottawa does not act now, it will be too late for our media. CBC may be the only source of reliable Canadian journalism left standing, while Canadians are swamped with misinformation and illegal content from the likes of Facebook.
This article was originally published in the Toronto Star.