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Montréal évaluera la possibilité d’imposer une taxe sur la livraison de produits chez ses résidants, à la suggestion d'un rapport sur l’avenir du commerce au détail commandé par l’administration Plante.

(Courtesy of La Presse)

Read the whole article here: https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/grand-montreal/2020-10-20/montreal-etudiera-la-possibilite-de-taxer-les-livraisons.php


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Il y a 4 heures, jesseps a dit :

Yeah.  I had read the whole thing before drafting my previous comment.  Took less than a minute.  The "report" upon which the article is based feels amateurish.  I have little hope that the "study" to be pursed by the City of Montréal will lead to tangible results.  Its sole merit will have been to "show" that the City "cares" about the fate of this considerable segment of the business community.  Nice try!

But make no mistake.  It is not as if I do not care about the harsh difficulties encountered by thousands of brick-and-mortar stores in Montreal (or elsewhere for that matter).  I am all for a level playing field.  But I also yearn for durable solutions not reliant on artificial protectionist measures which cannot last very long.  But before I arrive at my concluding remarks, let us take an historical perspective on a broader scale.  Technological change/progress is disruptive.  British (and continental European as well, a little later) weavers and textile workers lost their livelihood with the introduction of mechanical looms and  knitting frames  --see the Luddite Movement.  Also, horse-drawn carts were replaced by mechanized vehicles (trains, tramways, cars). In our times, light industry (shoemaking, clothemaking, etc.) faced stiif competition from imported goods, and as a result most have vanished.by the end of the 1980's at the latest.  Deep coal mining was replaced by cheaper imported open-pit mined coal, oil, natural gas, etc.; as well, all those carbon-based energy sources are bound to be replaced by "clean energy" .  And so on and so forth.

The point is: change is inevitable.  However, this does not mean that "traditional" brick-and-mortar stores are bound to disappear entirely.  In several instances, they will remain the best option for customers, either because  1) they can provide on-site professionnal advice; and/or 2) goods are of a type that customers prefer to see/try; and/or 3) are more convenient for customers residing nearby.  Etc.  But for other types of goods (e.g. "standard") or circumstances (e.g. for those residing in remote communities), price will be (as it should) the determinant factor;  then again, this is not to say that online retailing will always be the winner: this way of conducting business entails its own specific costs.  The first thing that matters from the standpoint of a level playing field is that sales and business taxes be the same as for their brick-and-mortar competitors.  Other than that, if, when and where they are more efficient, so be it, let them have their day.  

Another, albeit unrelated point, is that the current  retail crisis cannot be fully attributed to competition from online shopping.  The dramatic drop in tourism as well as the significant exodus from downtown office towers bear heavily on stores  catering to these normally large clienteles.  

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