THE BC Liberals say that despite the third wave of COVID-19 in B.C. and new public health restrictions enacted this week, Premier John Horgan and the NDP are moving forward with their plans to tax streaming services like Netflix and Spotify and even goods like carbonated beverages.
“We’ve opposed these NDP taxes since they were announced and again today we are calling on John Horgan to reverse his decision to impose these new costs on so many British Columbians in the middle of a global pandemic and economic crisis,” said Interim Leader of the Official Opposition Shirley Bond on Wednesday. “British Columbians are struggling financially and have once again been asked to do more to stop the spread. It’s the worst time for the NDP to be imposing new taxes on carbonated beverages and streaming platforms. British Columbians deserve a break.”
Starting Thursday, all e-commerce providers from outside the province with more than $10,000 in sales in B.C. must collect and charge PST to their customers, and PST will apply to all carbonated beverages whether they contain sugar or not. This includes soda fountains and soda guns, which will impact restaurants that are already struggling.
“Countless restaurant and hospitality workers found out on Monday that they’re losing out on shifts for at least the next three weeks, without any additional supports from the government. Now they’re about to pay more to responsibly have a movie night at home watching Netflix and enjoying some ginger ale,” said MLA Mike Bernier, BC Liberal Critic for Finance. “The fact that this soda tax applies not just to sugary drinks, but all carbonated beverages including sugar-free alternatives, proves that this isn’t about promoting healthier habits. It’s about gouging British Columbians at a time when money is tight, the economy is struggling, and countless small businesses are on the edge of bankruptcy.”
The taxes were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but are now coming into effect on April 1, 2021, in the middle of the third wave of infections, note the BC Liberals.