Canadian Politician Told to Quit Over Film Tax Credit

Saskatchewan film and TV producers urged provincial culture minister Bill Hutchinson to resign after he introduced a production subsidy they consider unworkable for the industry.

TORONTO – Saskatchewan film and TV producers have told culture minister Bill Hutchinson to quit after he introduced an unworkable film tax credit that leaves their industry without a future.

"The actions of this minister have brought a $50 million annual industry to the brink of disaster. He (Hutchinson) has consistently ignored our concerns and brought forward a program that will not work," Ron Goetz, president of the Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association (SMPIA), representing local indie producers, said Thursday in a statement.

Goetz was reacting to Saskatchewan a week ago announcing it will replace a long-standing refundable 45 percent film tax credit with a 25 percent non-refundable subsidy that local producers insist does not subsidize production costs

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But Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall was quick to dismiss the call for Hutchinson’s resignation, insisting his minister did nothing wrong in replacing a film tax credit that was little more than a hand-out.

"Only two percent of this program was paid out as actually a tax credit, in other words reducing taxes paid in the province. The 98 percent has been paid out as a grant to industry," Wall told a TV interviewer in Saskatoon.

Goetz called for Hutchinson to go after insisting local producers offered an alternative new film tax credit a day before the culture minister unveiled a non-refundable tax credit that is unworkable for the industry.

The continuing uncertainty over Saskatchewan’s film tax credit contrasts with the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec juicing their film and digital tax credits to keep foreign producers shooting locally.

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