Trudeau’s Media Bailout Package Raises Red Flags

December 03, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government recently delivered the Fall Economic Statement in the House of Commons. He painted a rosy picture of the Canadian economy, despite mounting debt and deficits, as well as rising inflation and interest rates. We were told all was well (just days later, we learned of the General Motors plant closure in Oshawa), except for the news media industry struggling in the digital age. The Government’s response would, therefore, be a media bailout package. The Liberals claim such an initiative will help support Canadian journalism; however, it raises considerable red flags that all Canadians should be concerned about.

The media bailout package Prime Minister Trudeau and his current Liberal government announced in the Fall Economic Statement is worth $600 million. This is a significant jump from the Liberal government’s original announcement of a $50 million package as part of Budget 2018. The bailout will come in the form of tax credits that will be available as of January 01, 2019. A panel of “independent” government-appointed journalists will determine which news outlets are eligible for the tax credit program.

A healthy democracy relies on an independent press, free of political influence. However, it should never be up to any government to determine which media outlets receive government support and which media outlets do not. Prime Minister Trudeau and the current Liberal government are compromising both the independence of the media and the integrity of our electoral process with this election-year bailout.

There’s less than a year to go before the next federal election and the Prime Minister is, once again, stacking the electoral deck for the benefit of the Liberal Party of Canada through this bailout package for the news media industry. Just to recap the steps he’s taken to date to stack the deck in his favour as Canadians prepare for the next federal election: 1) he has set limits on what opposition parties can do before the election begins; 2) he has unilaterally imposed new rules around the televised leader’s debate; 3) he continues to allow Liberal-friendly foreign special interests to interfere in our elections; and now he’s about to decide which media outlets will survive and which will be allowed to fail. This is not reflective of the open, transparent, and fair government platform the Liberals campaigned on during the 2015 federal election.

The $600 million media bailout package recently announced by Prime Minister Trudeau and the current Liberal government in their 2018 Fall Economic Statement is yet another example of their desire to stack the electoral deck in their favour at the expense of the media’s independence and the integrity of our electoral system. We, the Conservative Official Opposition, will use every tool at our disposal to fight their desperate attempt to rig the next election. We will continue to be the voice of Canadians who want a fair electoral process, as well as an independent media, free from political influence. This is the leadership Canadians want and expect.