I am originally from Humboldt, Saskatchewan and had the great fortune to grow up in a province where I could hone my skills as a stand-up comedian and a writer for film and television.
I wrote for the entire six seasons of the television show “Corner Gas” and for the second season of “InSecurity,” both of which were filmed at the sound stages in Regina. I can’t tell you how proud I was to be able to work in my home province on both projects and also to work amongst other talented Saskatchewanians who fast-developed a reputation as being one of the finest production crews in the country – hard working, friendly, proud people.
So you can imagine my shock at the cancellation of the film subsidy program by the provincial government.
In the seven summers I worked in Regina, I personally: rented a car, bought gas, bought food, dined out, went to movies, went out for drinks, golfed, bought a condo, renovated it, hired local trades to wire, plumb and drywall it, furnished it, bought a bike and supported fundraising events in the city.
In those seven summers, the production company that shot in Regina hired a talented crew who also needed groceries and gas and entertainment and therefore supported many local businesses and industries. That seems to be a lot of lost revenue that could have been going to hard working business people in the province.
I could certainly understand if the program was eradicated because it was a grant that drained taxpayers’ money to create jobs for “artsy-fartsy” people. But in actuality it was a tax credit that was paid out after a production was completed and money was already invested back into the province, at six times the return on the dollar.
This makes absolutely no sense.
I make my home in Greater Vancouver and the cancellation of the subsidy really doesn’t affect my employment or finances in any way. I’m writing this letter because, as perplexed as I am as to why the film subsidy was cancelled, I am more so devastated when I hear that individuals, and even families, will be forced to move from the province they love to continue to work in the trade they are so passionate about.
I can’t tell you how much of a kick in the gut it is to the pride in my home province to see that happen. I love the cities, I love the people, and I am an insane Roughriders fan. But I can’t agree with a government that senselessly cuts a “revenue returning” incentive program and tries to justify it with misinformation.
If you don’t agree, then let your voice be heard.