Taxes, both real and imaginary

David Akin explores the tenuous reasoning behind the government’s latest radio spots.

They point to a report that came out of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Part of that report considered the idea of extending the levy Canadian consumers now pay on blank digital media like CDs to MP3 players. Indeed, the Heritage Committee voted on March 16 in favour of extending that levy with all Conservative members of that committee voting against and the two Liberals, two Bloc Quebecois, and one NDP MP voting in favour. Notably, as an NDP staffer pointed out to me today, the chairman of the committee, Conservative Gary Schellenberger did not vote with his Conservative colleagues, choosing to break a 5-5 tie at the committee by voting with the opposition.

The Canadian Private Copying Collective has apparently advised that an extension of the law would involve a levy of between $5 and $25 per unit. The NDP’s Charlie Angus has pegged it at $5. The Bloc’s Carole Lavellee has said it would be between $2 and $25. The Liberals have proposed amendments to the government’s copyright legislation, while categorically rejecting the idea of extending the copyright levy to iPods.

Perhaps interestingly, while the Conservative government says it is resolutely opposed to a levy on iPods, I am told by Minister James Moore’s office that the government has no plans to remove the levy that is already applied to blank CDs and audio cassettes.




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