(CANADA) – The Trudeau Liberals have announced $600 million to be spent in what appears to be a media bailout.
The “tax credits and incentives” will be dished out over the next 5 years, the government has announced.
TL;DR = Using your tax dollars, the federal government is going to bail out media companies they choose. Canadians can still pick and choose which media they want to support, by reading their news/buying subscriptions, but now the failing ones will be propped up with your tax dollars. You will still be bombarded by news companies that people have stopped supporting because your tax dollars are being given to them.
To put this into context, it has been reported that the CBC receives about $1,300,000,000 yearly in government funding. This entire bailout is $600,000,000 over 5 years. Why is the government propping up news organizations?
The government says the specifics of how the government handout will be sent will be worked out after an ‘independent panel’ consult happens.
What can be expected are ‘tax credits’ for creating content, labour along with a ‘tax credit’ for digital media subscribers. This will basically be cheques being sent to media companies.
Some media organizations have been putting up a ‘paywall’ on their websites lately, which will enable them to access more of this bailout.
It will be interesting to see if the ‘independent panel’ has anyone that recommends not bailing out any media companies and allowing the free market to be exactly that, a free market.
“The big problem is that – beyond the waste of taxpayer dollars– the government will be picking which media companies end up getting bailed out.” – Spencer Fernando
The panel is expected to be independent of political interference, but in reality, whoever picks the panel has the power. It is quite easy to fill the panel with people who will do what is asked of them.
The Trudeau Liberals media bailout plan is expected to influence news coverage among desperate media companies nationwide. The Conservatives are opposed to the bailout at the taxpayer’s expense. There is now a seriously massive financial incentive for media companies to favour positive reporting regarding the liberals, and ultimately to keep Trudeau in power.
The union that represents over 12,000 journalists and media workers have deemed themselves as the resistance to Andrew Scheer, the federal conservative party leader. Thoughts?
Can we expect members of Unifor to report on the upcoming election campaign without a bias? Which local media journalists are members of Unifor?
This will have very serious negative consequences for Canada as a whole. The ‘free press’ is being bought out. This will mean more and more news agencies will only be surviving based on government handouts, and reporting is likely to lean on the political spectrum.
Unifor, welcomes Finance Minister Bill Mourneau’s announcement of $600 million in aid for financially struggling news organizations.
“The new labour tax credit for local journalism is what’s been needed to help save local news,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President.
In today’s Fall Economic Statement, it was revealed that news outlets that hire to expand local news coverage will be eligible for tax credits. Unifor is also relieved that the federal government will allow non-profit news organizations to apply for charitable status, and Canadians will receive a 15 percent refund on all subscriptions to paid digital news sites.
“Mainstream journalism does the heavy lifting in our democracy and it is in crisis as advertising revenue is siphoned away by Google and Facebook,” said Dias with a presumed straight face.
Canadian newspapers, including their website operations, have lost about 40 percent of their revenue since 2012 and more than 250 Canadian news outlets have closed in the last decade. Meanwhile, new and truly independent media websites are thriving.
“Unifor media workers have been talking to Members of Parliament and it is refreshing to see that they got the message,” said Jake Moore, Unifor Media Chair.
Unifor also welcomes the new tax reforms and write-offs in which they believe will incentivize investment and job creation throughout the Canadian economy.
“By enabling businesses to immediately expense investments in machinery and equipment, there will be an added financial incentive to expand operations and create jobs and that is good news for our members,” said Dias.
The question is begging to be asked, why is Unifor actively campaigning against Andrew Scheer and the conservatives when Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are in power?
Normally unions pressure employers, not their employer’s competition.
For many years there has been an argument that Canada’s mainstream press mainly has a centre-left position in how it reports. This media bailout has many expecting that lean to lean out further.
Ethical journalists and politicians alike have already started calling out this clear partisan play. Below is respected Global News journalist David Akin commenting.
Many journalists are in an ethical grey-zone due to this media bailout, and Unifor claiming to be Andrew Scheer’s “resistance” and “nightmare” does not seem to look good.
It’s clear that Unifor’s union dues collected from hundreds of thousands of members, along with the union’s resources will be used to help re-elect Justin Trudeau. Is Unifor conscripting it’s members to vote for Trudeau?
In many communist countries, the media is funded and controlled by the government.
We are wondering which if any local media in Thunder Bay will get this funding.
With files from Unifor