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Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop more online censorship laws

OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – A plan by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government to tax the advertising revenues of non-Canadian tech giants and other companies – which could spark a major trade war and make accessing the internet more expensive – seems to be off the table, at least for now.  

According to Canadian law professor Dr. Michael Geist, the Trudeau government seems to have “quietly backed down from its plans to implement a new Digital Services Tax (DST) as of January 2024.” 

In its 2019 election party platform, the Trudeau Liberals had promised to impose a three percent so-called DST, which could have brought in an estimated $7.2 billion, but at the expense of tech giants that all provide services to Canadians.  

In October, the head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) Franco Terrazzano said the “feds need to stop dreaming up new taxes and new ways to make life more expensive.” 

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should be doing everything he can to make life more affordable, but this Digital Services Tax will mean higher prices for ordinary Canadians,” he noted.  

The CTF noted that when France introduced a similar tax against tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other large online sites, it caused everything to get more expensive in the country.  

“An economic impact assessment of the French digital services tax shows that about 55% of the total tax burden will be passed on to consumers, 40% to online vendors and only 5% borne by the digital companies targeted by the new tax,” noted the CTF. 

Geist said that after months of the Trudeau government insisting a DST would be incoming next year, the government has removed that “implementation deadline” in their recent Fall Economic Statement. 

When news first broke of the tax in late 2019, many U.S. Senators and Representatives signed letters asking the Canadian government to delay implementing a DST, which they warned would have created disastrous consequences.  

As it stands now, a 1984 Convention Between Canada and the U.S. regarding taxes on income lets American web companies only pay tax in their home state. Indeed, a federal report even confirmed that such a tax would breach the 1984 treaty and does not work with current Canadian income tax laws.  

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland had been insisting up until recently a DST would be coming. In the summer 2023, she said, “Two years ago, we agreed to pause the implementation of our own Digital Services Tax (DST), in order to give time and space for negotiations on Pillar One. But we were clear that Canada would need to move forward with our own DST as of January 1, 2024, if the treaty to implement Pillar One has not come into force.” 

Even earlier this month Freeland seemed “cautiously optimistic” a deal could be reached between Canada and the U.S. for a DST. 

Geist noted that it now “appears that the optimism came from a decision to simply remove the January 1, 2024 start date,” to implement the tax and move it down the road to a later date. 

As noted in the Trudeau Liberals Fall Economic Statement, “In order to protect Canada’s national economic interest, the government intends to move ahead with its longstanding plan for legislation to enact a Digital Services Tax in Canada and ensure that businesses pay their fair share of taxes and that Canada is not at a disadvantage relative to other countries.” 

“Forthcoming legislation would allow the government to determine the entry-into-force date of the new Digital Services Tax, as Canada continues conversations with its international partners.” 

Geist noted that the delay in implementing a DST means that it “buys time for a potential international agreement on implementing a global approach to the issue and should relieve some of the external pressure.” 

Putting in place DST now would create ‘significant risks’ 

As it stands now, the Trudeau Liberals have already pushed forth bills that will regulate the internet. This includes the federal government’s censorship Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, which has been blasted by many as allowing the government more control of free speech through potential new draconian web regulations. 

Another Trudeau internet censorship law, Bill C-18, the Online News Act, became law in June 2023 despite warnings that it will end free speech in Canada. This new law forces social media companies to pay Canadian legacy media for news content shared on their platforms. 

Geist observed that while implanting a DST on tech giants might be more “preferable to the cross-industry subsidy model found in Bills C-11 and C-18,” pushing forth with a DST now would bring disastrous consequences and could spark a trade war.  

“Moving ahead now would have created significant risks, including the prospect of billions in retaliatory tariffs. Led by Bill C-18 and the digital services tax, the government talked tough for months about regulating big tech,” wrote Geist. 

“But with the (Fall Economic Statement) FES providing a massive bailout to compensate for the harm caused by the Online News Act and the decision to hold off on implementing the DST, it would appear that the tough talk has been replaced by much-needed realism on what amounted to deeply flawed policies and a weak political hand.” 

Geist has continually warned that the Trudeau government’s meddling with big tech by trying to regulate the internet will not stop at “Web Giants,” but will lead to the government going after “news sites” and other “online” video sites as well. 

Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop more online censorship laws

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