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Canada Government The Almighty Buck The Internet

Quebec Plans To Require Website Blocking, Studies New Internet Access Tax 237

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Geist reports that the Government of Quebec released its budget (PDF) yesterday featuring two Internet-related measures that are sure to attract attention and possible litigation. First, it is moving forward with plans to study a new tax on residential Internet services in order to provide support for the cultural sector. Second, the government says it will be introducing a new law requiring ISPs to block access to online gambling sites. The list of blocked sites will be developed by Loto-Quebec, a government agency. The government views this as a revenue enhancing measure because it wants to channel gamblers to its own Espacejeux, the government's own online gaming site.
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Quebec Plans To Require Website Blocking, Studies New Internet Access Tax

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Allez chier ma gang d'osti de calisse de lèche-cul de tabarnaks.

  • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @10:50AM (#49354289)
    I hate it how everything I create, enjoy doing, or enjoy consuming isn't considered culture, and policies need to be put in place to defend so call culture. Just let the free market decide what we want self sustaining art to be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Welcome to the New Puritanism. It's like the old puritanism but without God.

    • Just let the free market decide what we want self sustaining art to be

      Not all of the arts are or ever have been self-sustaining. Historically, what you see is sponsorship by the state, the church, or the merchant prince.

      Quebec is an island of francophone culture off a continent that is dominated by the U.S. Either you embrace protectionism or risk losing all that makes you unique.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @12:12PM (#49354993)

        Quebec is an island of francophone culture off a continent that is dominated by the U.S. Either you embrace protectionism or risk losing all that makes you unique.

        That is a nonsense argument. If one needs to resort to protectionist measures to "preserve" your culture from a peaceful (to you) neighbor, then your people don't really support said measures even if they claim to. Actions speak louder than words. People claim to hate McDonalds and yet they sell millions of burgers every year to many of those same people. If the people of Quebec really want to speak French or engage in Francophile activities then they will do so. If they don't then they shouldn't be forced to. Cultural norms shift over time and there is nothing fundamentally bad about that.

        I spend a fair bit of time in Canada. I was married in Alberta and regularly vacation in Ontario. Canada is a wonderful country. Most of Canada has little difficulty maintaining what makes them unique because what makes them truly unique isn't stuff the government needs to pass laws to protect.

        • by OhPlz ( 168413 )

          I don't think most people would disagree with you, but I think it'd be an enormous loss if every country ended up being just like every other country. Tourism exists so that people can experience a different culture and environment for a short while. But if you get to some other location and it's the same language, same restaurants, same shops, same recreational activities, what a waste. I think there's probably a way to get people to take pride in what makes their pocket of humanity different without go

          • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @02:03PM (#49355971)

            I don't think most people would disagree with you, but I think it'd be an enormous loss if every country ended up being just like every other country.

            Never going to happen. Heck there are pretty substantial regional differences even within single countries. Go visit the Louisiana Bayou and then go to NYC and tell me America is homogenous.

            But if you get to some other location and it's the same language, same restaurants, same shops, same recreational activities, what a waste.

            "Waste"? Not at all. Shared cultural experiences have huge benefits, not the least of which are increased commerce and reduced conflict. It's hard to think of someone as the Other if they look, talk and act like you. Many people very much like familiarity even when in a foreign place. And it doesn't take a lot to feel displaced. Even something like moving from the US to Canada (or vice-versa) results in some pretty significant cultural adjustments even though the two countries are very similar in a lot of ways.

            I'm not at all arguing that everyplace should be the same (quite the opposite in fact) but there is nothing wrong with having some, or even a lot of similarity.

            In the end, I think a lot of places that want to be Americanized (or whatever you want to call it) will end up so, and then they'll soon come to regret it.

            I could say the exact reverse and it has the same potential of being true. There is nothing wrong with adopting bits of a different culture if they appeal to you. The US has adopted cultural practices and language from around the globe. There is no reason why it should be bad for other cultures to take bits of American culture and language they like (or not if they don't). Different merely for the sake of being different is every bit as bad as everyone being the same.

            • by OhPlz ( 168413 )

              Increased commerce? Not if everything is produced by Acme corp because no one sees any value in uniqueness. Reduced conflict? That's pitiful. If people hate each other, it's not going to matter if they speak the same language or not. It's probably better that they don't.

              Yes, there are pockets of America that maintain an identity of their own, but they're few and far between. Cultures get assimilated and eradicated. It takes decades, but eventually they fade away. I live in an area that had a strong f

      • Not all of the arts are or ever have been self-sustaining. Historically, what you see is sponsorship by the state, the church, or the merchant prince.

        I consider sponsorship from the church or merchant prince as being self sustaining. The artist found someone willing to pay for their services.

      • Either you embrace protectionism or risk losing all that makes you unique.

        And nothing of value was lost. Sorry, but I don't see what's so cool about being unique. It's a lot harder to justify going to war with a people who are just like you.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @10:51AM (#49354301)

    Anytime you hear the word "culture" in Quebec, watch out. It has a much more ominous overtone there than in most of the rest of the world.

    • I love Quebec, but they have some of the most obnoxious politicians in the world.
      • And don't forget that they're also among the most corrupted. And remember, when you're a Quebecer and want to participate in a contest, you're excluded, just like Iranians and North Koreans. Banana Republic of Quebec.
        • And remember, when you're a Quebecer and want to participate in a contest, you're excluded, just like Iranians and North Koreans. Banana Republic of Quebec.

          Quebec is an oddity because they have a ton of things that no one else does - they are ... special.

          So if you want to hold a contest Canada-wide, you follow basic legislation that applies federally (generally easy) and maybe have to make adjustments for each province (again, easy). But if you want to add QC, you suddenly are beholden to a TON more regulations. Most companies simply choose to avoid it because the benefit of adding QC is very small compared to the burden.

          It's also why in Canada you often run into things like "Not for sale in Quebec". Electronic toys are even more fascinating because you often have "Quebec edition" and "Not for Quebec edition" (usually marked as "Not for sale in Quebec").

          It's really an independent nation of its own - they just happen to use the Canadian dollar and passport.

          • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @01:11PM (#49355469)

            This is why both Canada and the US should be abolished as nations, and new (smaller) nations should be formed in their places. Quebec should be an independent country, the west coast should have its own country, the US northeast should be a country (perhaps combined with Canada's maritime provinces) the US southeast should be a separate country, etc. Then these new countries can form a trade union much like the EU, with a shared currency (maybe) and free trade between them, but still having a huge amount of autonomy so that each region can do its own thing, such as legalizing pot (as the PacNW wants to do), or banning pot and abortion (as the Dixie states want to do).

            • by dbsnstuf ( 446805 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @01:33PM (#49355701)

              What you describe is (mostly) what our federal system of government in the US was supposed to accomplish. Independent states bound together only by common commerce, money, and security. If the federal government hadn't grown to the size/scope it is today, we wouldn't bat an eye when one state enacted a particular law and the next did not.

              • BS, this is the exact same thing every libertarian regurgitates and it isn't true. What you're describing is the Articles of Confederation. Those were tossed out in the 1790s in favor of the Constitution, which provides a much stronger central government though still with some federalism. What you describe also isn't feasible at all with all the tiny states we have, some no bigger than Luxembourg (which itself saw the value of union and created a trade union with Belgium and Netherlands, called Benelux,

            • What you describe is pretty much the way the US was originally intended to be. The Feds handle standards (like weights and measures) and foreign policy, pretty much everything else handled at the level of the individual States.

              Alas, the Feds have been working hard to move every decision to Washington for a long time now, whether it makes sense to do so or not....

          • Awhile ago I was working on a project and had an integer field for 'percentage sales tax rate'. I get to Quebec and their tax rate is 9.975%. That's pretty much a microcosm of Canada right there.
            • Quebec was also the only place in the world AFAIK that had a tax on tax, they shamelessly added the provincial sales tax on top of the sub-total with the Canadian sales tax...

              Even the corrupt, greedy, selfish psychopaths running this banana republic had to agree this was excessive, they changed the formula but adjusted the rate to come out to the same total in the end. But now they can say they no longer tax tax.

              This place is so absurd and laughable.

      • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
        As much as we have stupid politicians, I only need to look at the federal level or to our neighbor down south to realize we're no worse off.
    • Anytime you hear the word "culture" in Quebec, watch out. It has a much more ominous overtone there than in most of the rest of the world.

      What do you mean by this? Are you referring to their insistence on being more French than the French (eg. Stop signs say 'Arret' in Quebec, but 'Stop' in France), or something else?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2015 @11:07AM (#49354451)

        Essentially, yes.

        In Quebec they choose to actively suppress English and promote French ... the the extent you can't have English signage unless it's smaller than French, and they've ever tried to get companies like Best Buy and Home Depot to change to French names,

        Basically they've been told to piss up a rope by those companies, and that they'd rather leave than to undermine their own existing brands.

        Quebec are a bunch of whiny assholes, who increasingly are trying to pass laws which actively discriminate against anybody who isn't white, French, and Catholic -- to the extent that they want to ban religious symbols, unless of course it's a cross, and then it's OK.

        That and they don't even realize they're barely capable of speaking in French -- they're illiterate in both offficial languages. I've known people from France who have to speak to people from Quebec in English because Quebecoise is such a mongrel of a language.

        They think they're preserving their culture ... when their "culture" is bigotry, a ruined version of the language, and a sense of entitlement mixed in with being whiny cunts.

        • That sounds disconcertingly similar to the situation among people who fly confederate flags to represent their 'culture'. Only in french-ish.
        • That and they don't even realize they're barely capable of speaking in French -- they're illiterate in both offficial languages. I've known people from France who have to speak to people from Quebec in English because Quebecoise is such a mongrel of a language.

          To be fair, it's the French language from France that is becoming a mongrel of a language.

          I've never been to Québec, but aside from their annoying accent, the French-speaking people from Québec I've met seem to be using really old French.

        • As an life-long anglo-Quebec resident, I feel I have to respond this unfair characterization of our province that you and many others outside of here have:

          In Quebec they choose to actively suppress English and promote French ... the the extent you can't have English signage unless it's smaller than French, and they've ever tried to get companies like Best Buy and Home Depot to change to French names,

          Most of us anglo-Quebecers are actually at ease with the fact that French is the dominant language and we need to adapt ourselves to it. I just consider a matter of common courtesy and politeness to make an effort to communicate with your neighbour. Sure, we will whine about the ridiculousness of the language police at times, but not many people argue wi

    • Indeed. It's the equivalent of "Will somebody think of the children" but with "culture" and "language" instead.

      It's one thing to try and protect the french language in Québec but it's another to shit on everyone's head (both unilingual and bilingual).

      It seems some politicians still don't understand what the Internet is or they're even dumber than we thought.

    • Anytime you hear the word "culture" in Quebec, watch out. It has a much more ominous overtone there than in most of the rest of the world.

      Just ask anyone who got stuck with a 'Canadian Multilingual Standard' keyboard layout...

      • You do know that you can change the keymap / keyboard type in the OS, right?
    • When I hear the word "Culture"..... that's when I reach for my revolver. Original quote "Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning!"
       
      Obligatory Godwin, but sometimes they got it right.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So the tax is to "support the movie, music, and book publishing industries."
    Shouldn't those "industries" be funded by investors, who get a return from sales?
    Or is this about propping up movies, music, and books no one wants to buy?

    • Well, art is different from many goods in that no one knows if anyone will want it until it's created. It's a high-risk high-failure business model. And the government reducing the risk has been showed to pay net dividends to society.

      • Well, art is different from many goods in that no one knows if anyone will want it until it's created. It's a high-risk high-failure business model.

        The lack of certainty about demand isn't limited to art. *cough* Zune *cough*. Or the reverse case, IBM estimating that their Entry Systems Department (PCs) if they were lucky might sell up to 100,000 units.

    • So the tax is to "support the movie, music, and book publishing industries."

      My question is, will this be limited to french only movies, music and books? There's still a large contingent of english here.

  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @11:02AM (#49354415)

    This sets a dangerous precedent that it is perfectly okay for the government to block websites in order to generate more revenue. If this passes, expect states in the US to try the same thing, especially if they have casinos that aren't doing well.

    • This sets a dangerous precedent that it is perfectly okay for the government to block websites in order to generate more revenue. If this passes, expect states in the US to try the same thing, especially if they have casinos that aren't doing well.

      That would almost make sense, except Quebec, like Louisiana, has a legal system based / influenced on French civil law, rather than the more common (in US and Canada) English common law heritage.

      That said, state and provincial governments are facing deficits and short-falls, so anything that promises increased revenue would certainly catch their attention.

    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      Did you miss how the US does block international internet casinos in direct opposition to their WIPO obligations? Did you miss how some tiny island nations notable for their internet gambling can now consume all US IP for nothing and legally (at least to WIPO treaties)?

      This was years ago now, but the US has long ago jumped down that hole.

    • Canadians are lucky, us in Denmark are censored and billed in a way that will make north koreans laugh. We are being blocked from sites operating in other EU countries that sells real estate, because of a civil copyright dispute between 2 estate companies, still the court have ordered ISP's to block acces to the site (http://homelifespain.com) . Other gambling sites are also blocked in similar cases as the topic, to gain revenue to the government supported gambling site. Top of the cake is that we have t
    • If this passes, expect states in the US to try the same thing, especially if they have casinos that aren't doing well.

      States in the US have had a hypocritical fight against gambling going on for years. Plenty of states have prohibited and restricted gambling in one form or another for most of my life. It's a fairly recent development that casinos have been permitted outside of Nevada, New Jersey and Indian Reservations because the state wanted the gambling revenue for the state lotteries. It's been an uphill battle to allow casinos and other forms of gambling in most states until fairly recently. And now the brink and

  • Tax Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @11:07AM (#49354455) Homepage
    As a resident of Quebec, let me laugh at that statement. Help culture? The Liberals don't give a toss about culture, they're just completely fixed on the notion of having a zero-deficit budget by any means necessary. They'll slash health and education funding, they'll add hidden taxes while claiming none are added, they'll do whatever it takes to reach this, because they're considered to be the "economically focused" party. To give context, when a journalist asked them if they could promise that the significant cuts in healthcare funding would not affect services, they straight up said that they can't say that because there might be "obstruction" or "slow uptake" of their new magical plan which makes more with less.

    If culture sees a single cent of that tax, I'll be impressed. This is strictly a way of balancing their budget without raising the tax rates, which would've caused furor. This internet tax sailed past all major news organizations as far as I can tell.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    is the Trans Canada , heading West...

  • The only thing's that are infinite are Government Greed and Human Stupidity.

  • I've been disappointed with Montreal and Quebec in general for a long time but always fell back on the cop-out "it's not better elsewhere" loser mentality.

    It is better elsewhere. But where do they still hire PCB designers?

  • I don't believe Quebec has the power to regulate ISPs. AFAIK, telecommunication regulations are the domain of the federal government.

    • Check your phone bill. See the provincial sales tax? There's a difference between regulation and taxation.
      • by dskoll ( 99328 )

        Taxation, perhaps they could get away with. I was actually referring more the the "blocking gambling sites" part of the article. I suppose I should have been more clear.

  • Whenever an article even as much as mentions the word "Quebec", the Quebec bashers come out of the woodworks, most of them anonymous cowards. Take a moment to check an article covering any other specific place and you'll note that none of them are so overflowing with baseless attacks and claims, often completely unrelated to the topic.

    I don't even understand why that is, which is probably the weirdest part.
  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @12:39PM (#49355239)

    This isn't as anti-gambling or even as anti-competition as it sounds. Quebec's gambling laws have always been very different from the rest of Canada, in a very interesting way.

    For example, in Ontario, gambling is really for lotteries and contests and casinos and that's about it. Everything else is illegal -- just like you can't buy alcohol in a grocery store, you can't gamble in a bar.

    In Quebec, however, there are slot machines (fun ones) in bars all the time. Gambling is available everywhere -- especially where alcohol is. It's governed and licensed and available.

    Two very different ways of controlling gambling, in a country where gambling is seen as an addictive activity to be controlled. Quebec's not wrong in wanting to control on-line gambling -- it's totally consistent with their gaming laws.

    And, most of all, I promise that no one in Quebec is at a loss for opportunities to gamble. They are everywhere.

  • Brought to you by the guys that sold you scratch tickets in exchange for your welfare checque.

  • I wonder if any of Quebec's "legislators" (applying the term very loosely) know what a VPN is?
    Quebec's gamblers soon will.
    How to enforce? How to enforce?...

    What a marvellous idea: following in China's footsteps.
    Here comes the Great Firewall of Quebec.
    Statist thugs, that's all they are.

  • by substance2003 ( 665358 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @01:09PM (#49355441)
    Having heard too many stories of gambling addicts loosing everything in Casinos and even seeing it happen to my own father. I might have gotten behind the idea of blocking gambling websites if they blocked all of them period. But since Loto-Quebec will be making it so that people go to their online site instead it's not a move to help reduce the risk. Just making sure our own provincially hungry fox guards the hen house. People will still loose their shirts in the end and we'll still have these establishment who end up putting people in poverty which I find is only a short term boost to the provincial revenue for a long term lost.

    I'm not even certain it's a good thing for Loto-Quebec since it would open the door to other provinces and countries blocking access to Quebec gambling sites. Who knows where this could end up? Once you start blocking one group of sites, you could start blocking other groups too.

    In the end, I don't think it will be seen as legal. Someone will surely challenge this all the way to the supreme court.
  • by Vitriol+Angst ( 458300 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @01:12PM (#49355481)

    "The government views this as a revenue enhancing measure because it wants to channel gamblers to its own Espacejeux, the government's own online gaming site."

    Usually the blocking of sites is for morality issues, but Quebec is seeing this as a revenue measure. Much like the provisions against bringing in your own water bottle to a concert, so you can buy their more expensive one.

    Communism is redistribution of wealth, or at least apportionment of resources (can be like old USSR, or like Star Trek if you've got machines to materialize anything you can want -- resources are no longer limited).

    Fascism is a government that runs for the purpose of businesses and eventually, picks a winner (like 1940's Italy and Germany, and arguably Japan today, and America is getting close).

    But what is it when the government BECOMES the company? Don't government's know they can just PRINT MONEY? SEE; Real World economics explained below.

    Instead of a lottery/gambling;
    Form your own bank, create bonds for local infrastructure, and pay 10% per diem with tax breaks to investors and meanwhile you can put people to work creating things that will enhance business and the community. You get more money back from the wages.

    Gambling is a pernicious social problem, and these scratch-card financed governments can only capture revenue from other locations and their own citizens, who will be less productive and lose a work ethic for their "get rich quick" gambling ethic. It's a way to raise taxes on the people who usually have the least education, judgement and income. In short; it's robbing Peter to pay Paul, but doing it with Pay-Day loans and Paul is going to be a useless wife-beater wearing fool who insists everyone around him write their Le Menu in French.

    *In the USA we have a fractional reserve banking system. Bonds are created to be offset by dollars created and the bonds are investments the government can sell. So money is created by debt. The Money just gets shipped to banks. Why doesn't the government be the bank, you may ask, since it's both the real lender and the one taking the risk (holding and paying off the bond) - and wow, Iceland just did it and it seems to have worked fine in the past in the USA. Great question, which will get you kicked out of economics class if you ask it again. but that's because it was necessary to pay off the rich people in charge at the time during the Civil War -- I'm sure people have learned interesting and convoluted economical explanations for why our Federal Reserve banking system is yadda yadda, but they can't explain how the system doesn't collapse if you pay off all the debts that created money in the first place (because of factoring, banks can loan $10 or more dollars for each on deposit - but leverage works both ways see; Nov. 2008) -- oh, and let's not notice that the #1 Investor is offshore banks. Anyone know if we don't just manufacture money to buy our own money? But I digress, all is well and go back to whatever and just know; governments don't need to tax -- EXCEPT to engage the citizens, and to redistribute wealth (some other fools think it's because they can't pay for things otherwise and stuff about who DESERVES what they earned -- as if most wages weren't decisions made by those who valued themselves higher), and it's a way to value their currency -- you have to back a currency with the ability to pay it back if you don't have nuclear weapons (OK, someone really needs to explain to the average person how currencies are valued; military power, and/or arbitrary decision of World Banker and his last bootie call -- you are welcome).

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