Friday November 21, 2014

Sask. Party killed film industry


On March 31 of this year, the Sask. Party killed the film and television industry in our province. They didnít just end an incentive program: they destroyed the hopes, dreams, jobs and businesses of talented Saskatchewan storytellers. Since then, the government has been unable or unwilling to tell the truth.

The program they ended, the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax credit, is not an upfront grant, as Premier Wall would have you believe. In fact it is paid out usually more than a year after the production has been completed and it is based on the number of Saskatchewan people employed on film and television projects.

The government has gone out of their way to say how much the tax credit has cost without ever once admitting that film and television projects bring money into the province ó working people paying taxes, PST paid on goods and services purchased. The money the government spends comes back as revenue. In addition the province has received the economic boost of hundreds of millions of dollars of production dollars spent in Saskatchewan.

In a letter written by the Premier Wall in June 2011, he called the film industry, ďa vital component of our provinceís growing economy.Ē Less than a year later his government is trying to destroy the industry, without listening to the people of Saskatchewan. A recent poll shows that nearly 75 per cent of the people of our province believe the film and television industry is important, and 60 per cent oppose the elimination of the Saskatchewan Film Employment tax credit.

I grew up in North Battleford dreaming of becoming a writer. I have had the great fortune of being a screenwriter for nearly 15 years and I have raised a family in the province that I love. Please tell the Sask. Party that we want a film and television industry to tell our Saskatchewan stories and let our creative people fulfill their dreams, in their home province.

Jeff Martel




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