IATSE accuses Premier’s Office of scuttling changes to film fund

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IATSE accuses Premier’s Office of scuttling changes to film fund
A major film industry union is accusing the Nova Scotia premier’s office of scuttling a plan to change the film incentive fund. Global’s Legislative reporter Marieke Walsh reports – Apr 4, 2016

A major film and TV union in Halifax is accusing the Premier’s Office of scuttling a deal between Screen Nova Scotia and Business Minister Mark Furey.

The industry says it had a deal with Furey to make changes to the widely criticized film incentive fund, which the Liberals introduced after axing the more lucrative film tax credit.

READ MORE: NS film incentive fund cap has some flexibility, government says

In an email, obtained by Global News, IATSE Business Agent Gary Vermeir told members Friday that “higher ups” delayed announcing changes to the film fund all day Friday and ultimately “scuppered it.”

“We believe the premier stopped [Furey],” IATSE Local 849 president Marcel Boulet said Monday.

Premier Stephen McNeil’s office is denying the allegation.

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“There was no new deal on the table at the meeting Thursday,” spokesperson David Jackson said Monday.

However, industry groups and individuals who work in film and television in Nova Scotia say that’s not the case.

“Our understanding is we had a breakthrough,” Screen Nova Scotia chair Marc Almon said about his Thursday meeting with Furey.

The plan was for Furey to announce at least some changes at a news conference on Friday, Almon said. Instead, Furey issued a “clarification” late Friday that didn’t address the changes Almon and other industry representatives had asked for.

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