It may seem difficult to believe today but there was once time where Parliament was a highly secretive place where citizens had no access to what actually occurred during debates.
Not only did this make it incredibly difficult for citizens to hold elected officials to account, it also created a situation where the public would hear different and competing characterizations of events that could differ significantly between opposition and government.
Fortunately, a gentleman by the name of Thomas Hansard came along and began publishing the events that occurred within the British Parliament and eventually this evolved into the system now known as “Hansard”.
Today we reference the Hansard Index as the key resource to information about what is said by Members of Parliament, in the House of Commons, during a session of Parliament.
This is not only transcribed into written text, but we also have audio and video records as part of the Hansard Index.
Hansard is how citizens can hold elected officials to account and allow Canadians to view debates and form their own opinions on events without partisan influence.
An example of this dates back to February of 2018, when the House of Commons was debating the idea of taxing online streaming services such as Netflix.
During this debate the NDP asked Prime Minister Trudeau why online companies such as Netflix and Facebook do not charge sales tax to Canadians.
The Prime Minister, in reply stated:
“It is not web giants that the NDP wants to charge, it is taxpayers. The New Democrats want to make taxpayers pay more taxes.”
When the NDP followed up with a second question on this the Prime Minister this time stated:
“Once again, the New Democrats are misleading Canadians. They are talking about making web giants pay their fair share. It is not the web giants they want to pay more in taxes; it is taxpayers. We made a commitment to taxpayers that they would not have to pay more for their online services. We on this side of the House plan to keep that promise.”
This week the Trudeau Liberal Government released what they called, a fiscal update.
In this update there is increased spending that will result in the budget deficit hitting at least $388.8 billion in 2020-21.
While there has been much discussion on the spending, there has been less focus on the fact that this budget update also proposes new taxes.
Specifically, the Liberal fiscal update proposes to tax online streaming services such as Netflix.
The Trudeau Liberals have indicated they expect to take $1.2 Billion out of Canadians pockets from these new online taxes over the next five years.
Back in August, when Parliament was prorogued, and the Prime Minister was asked by a reporter if he would increase taxes, his answer was clear:
“No. The last thing Canadians need is to see a rise in taxes right now,”
My question this week:
What do you think of the Prime Minister’s performance in this matter?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711?
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.