BUS. - FILM IND.: INCENTIVE PROG. BASE RATE - INCREASE

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS

MS. SUSAN LEBLANC « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Business. We now know that in 2017, Canada became the top filming location in the world, but Nova Scotia hasn't benefited from that. In fact, we've had the opposite story. That's a direct result of this government's decision to replace the employment-based Film Tax Credit with an equally expensive but much less effective incentive program.

The minister has indicated that he is willing to try to help dig the industry out of the hole his government has put us in. There is one important change that the industry says can help make our incentive program competitive again, and that is increasing the base incentive rate.

My question for the minister is: When can we expect to see the base rate for our incentive program increased?

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Based on our conversations with many members of the industry, I haven't heard that what's happening now is much less effective, and I haven't heard that the industry is falling apart the way the member would suggest it is. Obviously we are making those investments.

It seems to be that Screen Nova Scotia and those in the film and production industries are working hard to ensure that Nova Scotia is very much relevant in the Canadian film and screen market. I think they're doing a great job. We are working on a number of options to put on the table, and as we get into the budget season, I'll certainly talk to Mike Volpe and Screen Nova Scotia to see what comes next for the screen.

MS. LEBLANC « » : With respect, I hope the minister does consult with people other than Screen Nova Scotia. There are a lot of people who have moved out of this province because they cannot work in the film industry here any longer.

While Nova Scotia's film job numbers have dropped in the last three years, Northern Ontario is experiencing a film job boom. It's not because that region can offer more beautiful scenery than Nova Scotia or has a more established talent or infrastructure. It's because they have an incentive program that works and Nova Scotia doesn't anymore. Film and TV networks are making permanent investments in Ontario. CBS has just announced a new studio that will have six sound stages. Nova Scotia doesn't have one.

Mr. Speaker, industry has been clear a sound stage is part of what it needs to recover from the damage done by this government. So, will the minister tell us when we can expect to see a sound stage in Nova Scotia?

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Again, Mr. Speaker, by way of the access, by way of the investment in our fund for film and screen Nova Scotia, we're not seeing that there is some kind of devastation in the industry. To me, it's very much vibrant. Well, obviously, it's an easy talking point to say we've destroyed the industry. The numbers show very much the contrary. We . . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Minister of Business has the floor.

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, despite what happens in the conversations around screen here in this Chamber, we have a very positive relationship with Screen Nova Scotia and the industry . . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River will excuse herself for the balance of Question Period.

The honourable Minister of Business.

Order, please. Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Business.

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Despite, Mr. Speaker, the antics that we see sometimes with respect to film and screen, we are talking about infrastructure. We are talking about the investments. We are talking about what we can do outside of the incentive fund to build and help grow that industry as they're doing on their own, as their own participants in this industry. They're doing a fantastic job. We're going to be there to help them.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness.