Bloc Québécois calls on Competition Bureau to review Netflix deal

The Bloc Québécois is asking Canada’s Competition Bureau to review the federal government’s agreement with Netflix.

In a letter to the Competition Commissioner, Bloc parliamentary leader Xavier Barsalou-Duval called for an investigation into the tax exemption granted to the American streaming service.  He accused Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly of “deliberately” ignoring expert advice in creating a double standard that favours foreign enterprises. 

The Netflix deal, according to Barsalou-Duval, runs contrary to the spirit of the Competition Act and sets a “dangerous precedent”. 

In an interview with La Presse Canadienne, the Pierre-Boucher-Les Patriotes-Verchères MP railed against what he considers preferential treatment. 

“It’s unacceptable,” he said. “It’s not foreign companies we should be favouring if we are to play favourites; it’s ones from here.” 

He said Joly was sidetracking the debate by claiming to defend a cultural policy instead of a fiscal one. 

“There is nobody in the arts, culture or politics — other than Minister Joly, basically all alone — who agrees with this deal,” he said.

Barsalou-Duval added that Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao’s stated intention of applying the Quebec sales tax to Netflix is a “good start” towards restoring financial equity to a sector already destabilized by the rise of digital services.