Thank you very much for the question.
Before I answer, I have a very quick clarification to make. It was bugging me that my last answer could be interpreted to mean that Friends only supports increased funding for the CBC in the event that the private marketplace is not regulated, and that's not true. We advocate for both.
To answer your question, Mr. Julian, you're entirely right that taxpayers are subsidizing these companies, both through writeoffs and other activities. What we have now, and your finance committee will be particularly sensitive to this, are thousands of industries asking for help because the government had to shut down the economy for health reasons and the subsequent devastation that has arisen.
Meanwhile, there are two companies that earn almost $7 billion in Canada and pay zero taxes. They don't collect sales taxes. They put Canadian competitors out of business due to the artificial and unfair competitive advantages that are created simply by government inaction. More than that, we allow Canadian businesses to write these expenses off in contravention of section 19 of the Income Tax Act, which would suggest that foreign media expenditures not be tax deductible.
What we have here, without getting too far into the weeds, is a situation in which successive governments have decided not to act, and this has sort of crept up on them. Our first and foremost imperative is that the government sincerely declare its intention to do something about this. We have not seen that. This is not a problem that is technically challenging to solve; it requires will and courage.
When is the government going to say enough is enough? After that, we can talk about the details, and there are various options. Getting these companies to pay for the news they use is one such option Canada can pursue quickly and without direct public expense or direct public subsidy to the news industry. That's why, especially at this time, we are drawing attention to that.