June 18, 2013 11:19 pm

De Jong calls on provincial counterparts to help our film industry

B.C.’s Finance Minister Mike De Jong called on his provincial counterparts today to find a way to stop being pitted against one another by Hollywood and save our film industry.

“These large studios come in and get a subsidy and then they go to Ontario and get a bigger one then they go to Quebec and they’re playing one against another,” says De Jong.

The film industry continues to struggle in this province as Ontario and Quebec use more favourable tax credit schemes to entice productions that would usually located in B.C.

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“We’ve had migration of our talent and that’s a concern of ours – we certainly don’t want to lose any infrastructure in the business,” says North shore Studios President Peter Leitch. “We think there are opportunities because this is an innovative industry – people just want to work.”

During the election campaign the Liberals promised to work with Ontario and Quebec to establish a standardized film incentive policy across the country.

But the NDP’s new film industry critic dismissed de Jong’s suggestion as an empty ploy.

“He’s trying to negotiate with Ontario and Quebec from a position of weakness,” says George Heyman. “B.C.’s lost 3,500 jobs in 2012… while Ontario is paid thousands as a result of changing their tax credit structure. Mr de Jong has told Ontario and Quebec they’ve won but he’d like to sit down and talk to them. I don’t think that’s going to work.”

The finance minister will be reintroducing his budget next week and it’s not expected to contain new tax relief for the film industry.

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