NationalOpinion

So what if the Liberal government taxes Netflix?

Netflix Tax

I spent lots, share lots, here’s my tax.

I think not, care not of your tax.

I’m less fraught, have bought your new tax.

And such is the case I will relax.

— Words by Jonah Kondro


The federal government is considering implementing a tax on Netflix subscriptions, which surprised me because I thought I was already taxed for that — like everything else I pay for.

There is a goods and services tax on books, bread, and good times, so I just assumed that somehow the government was getting paid every month when Netflix charges my credit card. I currently pay $8.99 per month for access to Netflix on two devices (plus HD). But that cost could change if Trudeau’s government implements a tax on the internet services us Canadians buy from places that aren’t Canada. This means that Netflix, which is based south of our border, will cost a little extra each month to stream television shows like Friends, Futurama, or Trailer Park Boys.

Unless the cost of Netflix goes up 3,000 per cent or something astronomical, I’m not going to push for rebellion. All I’m going to do, if a Netflix tax is implemented, is make one more thrifty purchase each month to offset the tax. So, as a student, instead of buying the good can of tuna, I’ll opt for the lesser brand.

Even if my Netflix cost tripled after Trudeau got his way, the streaming service is still cheaper than paying for a basic cable package. Shaw’s Personal TV Plan (which includes: a small selection of news, sports, and entertainment channels for casual viewing) is advertised at an introductory rate of $29.90/month – the small print says that “price shown does not include tax.” So if I decided to go backwards by ditching Netflix and having cable hooked up, I’d have to let a weird cable guy into my house and then be subject to commercials in between the shows I’m now casually viewing.

I remember when my sister and I were kids living with mum in a four-plex in Red Deer. It was a big deal when we got cable television. Mum was working part-time and going to college full-time — she didn’t have any money. When I grew up and got a house of my own, I considered it a luxury to have a satellite dish over cable. But when Netflix was handed down to us mortals from the Gods of the internet and I found out how cheap it was, I was a little too enthusiastic about cancelling my highfalutin satellite package.

All of us Netflix subscribers got it pretty good — even those who spend the huge $11.99 per month for access on four devices, Ultra HD, and the ability to download videos on four phones or tablets. For those of us who are old enough, we often forget about recording shows with a VCR (or how hard it was to set the VCR clock). And we also forget what a pain in the ass it was when two prime time shows were airing in the same time slot. Netflix lets us watch our shows for a low cost whenever we want — without commercials — and solved a few problems we had in the ‘90s trying to watch T.V.

Trudeau can tax me on my monthly Netflix subscription. I didn’t realize it wasn’t occurring before and I can’t seem to get worked up over the thought of it costing me a few dollars more to avoid the cable guy or a VCR.

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