Canadian b'casters take fee argument to high court

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TORONTO -- Canadian broadcasters will go to Canada's Supreme Court in an effort to recover more than CAN$100 million ($99.8 million) in fees paid annually to the federal government.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters is seeking to overturn a Federal Court of Appeal ruling last week that said that Ottawa can charge domestic fees because federal broadcast licenses pave the way for companies to make money in the TV and radio business.

"The fact remains that, in return for payment of the fees, the (broadcaster) acquires or maintains the right to engage in a highly regulated, highly sheltered industry with a significant potential for economic gain," last week's Federal Court of Appeal decision by Justice Michael Ryer read.

The Canadian broadcasters insist the federal government charges on their business amounts to an illegal tax, as the money goes directly into general coffers.
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