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Bill Morneau insists federal government still has no plans for a Netflix tax

Last Updated Dec 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm EDT

A person turns on Netflix. THE CANADIAN PRESS

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the federal government still has no intention of imposing a Netflix tax because it would result in a financial hit for middle-class Canadians.

Morneau’s remarks about the online streaming giant come a couple of days after Heritage Minister Melanie Joly insisted she never agreed to exempt Netflix from any sales tax as part of a deal that has been a political nightmare in her home province of Quebec.

Pressed about the issue on Friday, Joly said anyone with concerns about the lack of federal taxes on online streaming services should talk to Morneau because he’s in charge of taxation.

Joly unveiled a cultural policy in September that secured a $500-million pledge by Netflix to set up a Canadian office and fund original homegrown content — but the plan did not include taxes on the company’s service.

The ensuing weeks have seen the provincial government in Quebec vow to tax foreign online businesses, including Netflix, if Ottawa didn’t do so.

The issue has sparked outrage from artists and producers in Quebec’s cultural industry who have described it as an unfair subsidy.

Morneau insisted Sunday that Ottawa has no intention of changing its promise not to tax Netflix.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself has repeatedly and categorically ruled out a Netflix tax.

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said Sunday that he plans to raise the issue with Morneau when federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers meet for two days of talks in Ottawa.