The measures announced in the Morneau budget regarding support for Canadian media companies received a lukewarm response from the Quebec Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. CUPE Quebec welcomes the $172 million investment over five years to the Canada Media Fund (CMF). Once these five years are up, an annual investment of $42.5 million will be made to the Fund.
However, in view of the lack of significant action to restore fiscal balance between Canadian companies and digital giants, the media crisis will continue unabated.
“We salute the Government of Canada’s long-term commitment to the CMF. This will attenuate the crisis affecting televised entertainment productions. But given the lack of political courage by the Trudeau government, Canadian broadcasters will continue to be exposed to unfair competition from digital giants that do not have to pay taxes or income taxes. The budget today is a case of treating the symptoms without curing the illness,” explained Denis Bolduc, President of CUPE-Quebec.
CUPE does endorse the reaction to the Morneau budget by the Coalition for Culture and Media, which has been critical of the government’s inaction regarding fiscal equity. Read their reaction here.
Moreover, CUPE is extremely concerned with the little support for the regional print media and local journalism in the budget.
“Local journalism is literally disappearing, and $50 million over five years for all of Canada will have little impact. Local news is dying a slow death, in large part due to digital giants that are scooping up their advertising revenue. We are once again sounding the alarm, as this continues to be a disaster for democracy and culture,” added Denis Bolduc.
CUPE is also skeptical about the government’s willingness to study “new models that will authorize private donations and philanthropic support” for local newspapers. “At first glance, it looks like a red herring: charitable donations cannot replace lost revenue,” said Denis Bolduc.