The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who is often questioned upon his ability to make rational decisions, is once again midst questions for trying to buy media influence. The Conservative opposition has accused Trudeau of trying to bribe Canadian media, to secure a positive political influence for the upcoming federal election.
The allegations come a day after Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, made the announcement in the fall economic update, which was expected to follow a US-like policy. Morneau announced that the government was introducing $600 million tax credits and incentives to help the media industry for the next five years.
However, Conservatives did not like it and instead declared the idea as ‘biased’. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said, “Justin Trudeau thinks it is the job of the media to shower him with praise and coincidentally, in an election year, he’s forcing Canadian taxpayers to dole out $600 million in order to try and buy Trudeau the media’s support as he goes to the polls.”
The money injected into the media sector is expected to be channelized towards a new tax credit for media organizations that supports the production of the content. Besides, another tax credit will be aimed at subscribers of digital news outlets. The plans will also allow non-profit media outlets to apply for charitable status.
However, the problem with the plan is that “It certainly gives the impression of potentially affecting, not necessarily individual journalists, but the organizations, the companies, the employers that they work for,” said Conservative MP Peter Kent, a retired journalist himself.
Contrarily, the Liberals defended the move and stated that the journalists in Canada are qualified enough to understand their job role and duly carry out their work, disregarding the funding models of their employers.
The full detail of the new policy by Federal Government will be disclosed in the next federal budget in the new year. Meanwhile, independent council of Journalism professionals will deliver its recommendations on the newly passed policy.