Trudeau Offers Huge Tax Breaks and Bailout to ‘Trusted’ News Organizations 11 Months Prior to Election
OTTAWA, Ontario, (LifeSiteNews) – Canada's left-leaning Liberal government is dangling before news organizations a whopping $595 million in tax breaks for media deemed to practice “professional journalism” by an as-yet-to-be-formed independent panel created by the government.
Justin Trudeau's government said the package aims to help what it called “trusted” news organizations.
Conservative news outlets like The Rebel Media and LifeSiteNews are alarmed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's scheme may amount to a conflict of interest.
LifeSiteNews' vice-president and managing editor, Patrick Craine, says government funding of the media is a bad idea.
"The bottom line is this: a free press cannot be truly free to criticize bad government policies when it has been bought out by the government," said Craine. "We at LifeSiteNews are against this media bailout package. It's bad for the media. It's bad for tax-paying families. And it's bad for Canadian democracy."
The Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant shared similar concerns on the conservative news outlet's website.
"There’s an election next year. And if you are a journalist who wants in on Trudeau’s $595-million slush fund, he has to know that he can trust you," he wrote.
"No tough questions for Trudeau or his cabinet, no matter how incompetent. No embarrassing investigations. You have to demonize any Trudeau critics as 'bigoted' or 'homophobic' or 'Islamophobic.' And you have to promote Trudeau’s policies on everything from the carbon tax to open border mass immigration," he continued.
"Trudeau wants to turn Canada’s newspapers and private TV stations into little replicas of the CBC. He’s buying their loyalty," he added.
This isn't the first time Trudeau has offered Canadian media outlets taxpayer dollars ahead of a federal election.
During the last federal election campaign in 2015, the Liberals promised to increase the annual budget of the country's public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/RadioCanada, by $150 million.
At The Rebel Media, Levant has already vowed to refuse money from the federal government.
"We take no government money at all. Zero. And we never will. Which is the reason we can say [we] report honestly about Trudeau," wrote Levant. "It’s why he doesn’t 'trust' us. Because we answer only to you, our viewers."
It's clear, though, that many news organizations in Canada are already eagerly awaiting that government media bailout which is to start in January next year.
The president of Unifor, the union that represents almost 12,000 workers in the media, has reportedly called on the government to help out the media sector.
"We've closed over 200 local newspapers in Canada so there has to be a mechanism in which to fund them. There needs to be some dramatic changes," Unifor president Jerry Dias reportedly said earlier this month.
And News Media Canada, an industry association representing roughly 800 daily, community and weekly newspapers, has also reportedly called on Ottawa to pony up $350 million for a Canadian Journalism Fund.