April 1, 2016
For immediate release
Today, the Progressive Conservatives are launching a petition calling on Premier Stephen McNeil to adopt the film industry’s request to roll the unused portion of this year’s film incentive fund into the upcoming budget and match it with workable criteria to save our Nova Scotia film industry.
Click here to sign the petition.
“The Liberals broke their election promise to the film industry. Rather than expand it as promised, they devastated the industry in Nova Scotia,” says PC leader Jamie Baillie. “Thousands of people relied on film and creative work for their livelihoods. They were let down. At the very least, McNeil owes them this.”
The Atlantic division of the Director’s Guild of Canada (DGC) says its Nova Scotian members’ salaries and number of days worked have dropped by half since 2014. The guild cites the elimination of the film tax credit as the cause.
Like many Nova Scotians in the film industry, Kim Stewart has had to make tough decisions since the film tax credit was scrapped, including selling Foodstruck Cantina, the food truck she operated in Dartmouth with her partner, Joe.
“Last winter, we were able to save money by working in local film jobs to help get us back up and running in the summer,” says Stewart. “But this year has been more difficult with the slashing of the film tax credit.”
Stewart has worked in the province’s film industry for over 17 years. She has witnessed some ups and downs in the industry, but this year has been the toughest yet.
“This isn’t just a lull,” says Stewart. “This situation has been intentionally created by the government. Film workers have been saying all along that it’s not just them who are affected by these changes. It’s the small businesses throughout Nova Scotia that rely on the film industry that are hurting too.”
In place of the film tax credit, the premier tried to establish a $10 million fund, even though he was warned it would decimate the industry. This fund has proven to be unworkable. Three quarters of the fund sits unused as the budget year comes to an end.
Despite this obvious shortfall, the unworkable criteria and terms of the fund have not been addressed by the Liberal government. With job losses counting well over 1,000, the upcoming budget must include new and better criteria for access.
“These funds were earmarked for the film industry. Many people in the industry are telling us that these funds should be invested back into the arts and creative industry to save the remaining jobs here in Nova Scotia,” says Baillie. “The creative community has already been put through enough turmoil. It’s time to stop these job losses.”
Sign the petition requesting Premier Stephen McNeil halt the destruction of Nova Scotia’s film industry here.