This week the government of Nova Scotia brought down its budget and decimated its film and TV tax credit. This is exactly what the industry there had been fearing for days. Earlier, the Trailer Park Boys, whose show benefited from the tax credit and is the biggest hit to come out of Nova Scotia, put up a public service message to beg for the incentive to continue.
No dice. The tax credit took a 75 percent chop in the budget. What intrigues me the most about this is that it wasn’t some right-wing government that did this — it was a Liberal government!
The way I look at it is that whether you like or hate these tax credits is beside the point. You can hate incentives all you want, but if you don’t have them in film and TV, it’s death. Nothing will get made, except maybe cheap public service announcements.
The issue is really a more fundamental one: “do you want your province to be in the film and TV business?” And the answer ought to be yes, because having a film industry creates jobs and means good publicity for your province. All these actors and actresses who shot films in your jurisdiction will be able to go on David Letterman or Jimmy Fallon, or Jimmy Kimmel, and tell everyone watching about the place where they shot their movie or their TV show! It’s great for tourism and for the general reputation of your place, but obvious Nova Scotia cares not one bit about that.
Of course, Saskatchewan also went through the same chop. The big difference between Nova Scotia and what happened in Saskatchewan is that the big excuse here was that there were all these other jobs for people to go to.
But Nova Scotia has no jobs! They desperately need to create work to keep their people there! This simply proves to me the Liberals aren’t serious about creating jobs in Nova Scotia. Doesn’t surprise me. Nova Scotia is a have-not province, and it’s government policies that are keeping it that way.
Anyway, it looks like film people in Nova Scotia are going to have to do what everyone else from there has to do anyway, and that’s move. Fortunately, there’s plenty of film work in the rest of Canada. Right now the BC film industry is booming, due in part to a dropping loonie and a big visual effects industry out there. And, oh yeah, because of their film and TV tax credit.
It’s too bad these film and TV productions are going to leave Nova Scotia, but I’m sure my brother in the film industry in BC won’t mind, he could use the work. That’s my rant on that.