Follow the money - Shawn Loughlin editorial
In recent years, much has been made about the idea that Canadian media is underwritten by the federal government. This ignorant talking point shows up often in comment sections as a strawman for those opposed to media, government and spelling.
Even the lord and saviour of those opposed to the media, government and proper spelling and grammar, Pierre Poilievre, has taken shots at the media and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying the move was made not to aid an ailing industry, but to curry favour in print.
In 2019, the government announced a $595 million, five-year funding commitment to aid journalism organizations through labour tax credits and the creation of new jobs. Immediately, there was a lot of finger-pointing, even among media organizations themselves. Postmedia, for example, the company that gives column space to Jordan Peterson, Rex Murphy and Conrad Black, and routinely slams Trudeau and his “lavish handouts” for “welfare slackers”, gladly took in tens of millions in journalism tax credits and emergency wage subsidies. So, when readers slam the liberal-leaning Toronto Star, for example, for taking Trudeau’s subsidies but then fail to do the same for, say, the National Post, they’re turning a blind eye due to bias.
Furthermore, these funds disproportionately have aided larger papers, not us little guys.
So, aside from small business aids and wage subsidies during the pandemic (which were open to all businesses, not just the media), The Citizen has not benefitted at all from the funds.
On page four, readers will note the federal government logo, acknowledging the support of the Canada Periodical Fund, which is a small postal subsidy that was introduced by Stephen Harper’s government in 2009. (The fund replaced a subsidy on the delivery of Canadian periodicals which predated Confederation.) So, those who carve a notch on their bedpost with a large hunting knife every time a newspaper suggests Trudeau is not the devil surely were doing the same when those same left-leaning columnists and editorial writers were praising Harper between 2009 and 2015, lest they lose their meal ticket.
Hopefully they equally harangue our main street small businesses that accessed emergency wage or energy subsidies during the pandemic, in addition to freeloaders who went on CERB and those who didn’t burn their Climate Action Incentive cheques and pee on the ashes. Then there are the farm commodity groups, who have been taking government money for risk management and more for years. Let’s make sure they know they’ve disappointed us - in addition to any business that has accepted a government grant or tax break. Soon it’s starting to feel like we’re all on the take. Even Poilievre, the subsidy-loving bum, worked as a paperboy for the Calgary Sun (Shame!) before settling into an extensive career as a politician. (You will flip out when you find out who pays those people’s salaries.)
Taking it a step further, what about “self-made” millionaires and billionaires like Elon Musk, Donald Trump, Galen Weston Jr. and more who dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge paying taxes like the plague? Not paying taxes that are eassessed to others like you is certainly suckling upon the government’s teat.
The point here is not to shame those mentioned above, sarcastically or otherwise, but to recognize that, when you stop and think about it, we’re all a bit more indebted to the government than you may think. So, before you cry “Liberal Puppet” at the next reporter you meet, check your own bank account first.