April 6, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 98  

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Taxation without lubrication? Group proposes pornography tax

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff
Matt Prince/Gazette
FIRST CAME RETRO JERSEYS, AND NOW, RETRO PORN. The United Nations Platform for Action Committee wants the Manitoba government to place a sales tax on pornography.

A Manitoba group is calling on the government to create a tax for pornography — a move that could anger university students and perverts throughout the province.

The feminist group United Nations Platform for Action Committee has suggested the Manitoba government to begin taxing pornography, confirmed project co-ordinator Jennifer De Groot.

“We’re going under the assumption [that pornography] is a powerful tool; they can either use it to promote women’s equality or exacerbate women’s inequality,” she said, adding it is hoped the money raised from the tax could ease female poverty in the province.

According to De Groot, UNPAC submitted a series of suggestions to the government during budget consultations, one of them was levying a tax on pornography and violent video games. “We’re saying we want more money and we have ideas of how to make money,” she added, noting the group is focusing on initiatives to raise money.

“It’s not something we’ve even discussed or looked at,” admitted William Kokesch, communications director of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It’s an issue we don’t agree with to begin with.

“It’s a matter of suggesting it can be taxed; it’s [also] giving it tacit approval,” he said. “We have a problem with the product, but the ends don’t justify the means.”

“I would not be happy about that — aren’t we taxed enough?” said Kim Partridge, manager of Adult Connection, a local adult video store. “I’d be up in arms — they tax us to death.

“You can get porno everywhere — and to tax it is wrong,” she added, noting that people can get porn on the Internet and in corner stores, making it difficult for the government to control if it attempted to tax porn.

“You’re going to push it underground. People will just find it in other places,” she said.

“I don’t think they should be exploiting the porn industry to generate revenue for their cause,” noted fourth-year media, information and technoculture and economics student Joey Zerdin.



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