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Monthly Archives: January 2013

For those of you who don’t know me I have been an actor in Vancouver for 26 years. In the summer of 2011 I had no auditions. None. Which was unusual. I went online and googled the Toronto film list and saw that 28 shows were shooting there and 8 were shooting here. A few weeks later I ran for the board of UBCP/Actra and was elected.

I write this, not as a member of the board but as an actor and a tax paying resident of BC. I was so inspired to be a part of the the town hall and so impressed that we on the “laid back” West Coast finally got our act together and showed up in droves. I heard loud and clear that MPPIA encourages one voice and supports the view that we just need to be competitive with Ontario and not necessarily match their tax credits. I respectfully disagree.

Now let me preface this by saying, I am no genius. I am not a business person. I am just an actor. But I do have a pretty level head and common sense. It seems to me that the only real way to find stability with this industry, both here and in the East is to always match each other’s tax credits. If our government has a blanket commitment to always match Ontario and Quebec – no matter what – then there is no incentive to ever try to undercut one another ever. I believe, were we to do that, the first thing Ontario and Quebec would do in their next budgets would be to raise their all in tax credits to 20% or 17% or perhaps they would take on our 33% labour credit instead. That would certainly help the troubled Ontario and Quebec economies. It would also offer stability to the producers who would be clear about the incentives in Canada, wherever they want to shoot.

Toronto has seen its fair share of bad times too. We were the ones who started the tax credit competition in the late 90’s. It is time to rethink our approach nationally to the benefit of all our brothers and sisters in all the unions in this Industry. We have had our taste of their bad times so let’s call it a draw and figure out something that works for us all.

We have a unique advantage being in Canada. We have awesome, world class crews, our actors look and sound like Americans and we have a separate global economy. Why don’t we get a plan together and compete with the American jurisdictions for this very lucrative industry.

I would like nothing better than to work in Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax. But right now not being a resident of the province offering the credit causes problems. I can’t work there. I don’t qualify for the credit as a non-resident. Perhaps also with this blanket commitment to match all tax credits, we would expand this new plan to include applying the tax credits to all Canadian workers, not just the provincial ones.

It is time to get smart and get a plan that works for all parts of the country and works for a long time to come. Incremental changes to tax credits are short term solutions brought in by governments that change every few years. If we could get our provincial ministers to agree to one tax credit across the country, I believe in the long run that would benefit all Canadians.

We need bold leadership and foresight to allow this Industry flourish across the country.

CALL TO ACTION

Help Save the BC Film and TV Industry



Over the past 18 months UBCP has been involved in a very intensive government outreach effort.  Our Government Relations Committee has met with 20 politicians representing all the major political parties at the provincial and federal levels of government.  This includes two separate meetings with the BC Minister responsible for the film and TV industry.
The issues we have discussed include:
·       Leveling the playing field with Ontario and Quebec
·       Tax averaging for performers
·       Inter-provincial performer mobility
·       Non-Canadian Performers taking jobs from Canadian Performers
Of course, a great deal of our discussions have centred on leveling the playing field with Ontario and Quebec which provide better incentives for production than BC.  In the last few years those two provinces have attracted more than a billion dollars in production away from our province.
While we left all of our meetings with the impression that our concerns were being politely heard, we have not been left with the impression that any change to the current government approach would come quickly.

The grassroots Save BC Film campaign has arrived at just the right time.  UBCP (and our partners in the Motion Picture Production Industry Association) have very respectfully informed the government and opposition about the issues facing the industry here.  Save BC Film has added a lot of volume and media profile through their magnificent efforts.

UBCP will continue to meet one on one with BC’s elected representatives.  We will continue to be a part of MPPIA’s outreach efforts, and at the same time we have added our support to the grassroots Save BC Film campaign.

Here are three things you can do to make the BC film and television industry competitive again:

1.     Sign the petition at http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/SAVE_BC_FILM/?weKgRdb

2.     Send your MLA an email or letter.  Or, give them a phone call.  Use MLA finder http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm for contact information.  For advice on what to say please see the “Tips when contacting your MLA” below.
 
3.     Visit these important links to stay current on what is happening:
Save BC Film – https://www.facebook.com/savebcfilm
We Create BC – https://www.facebook.com/wecreatebc
https://www.ubcp.com


Tips when contacting your MLA
·       Always be respectful.
·       Let the MLA know you are one of their constituents.
·       Make your point about how the downturn in the industry has affected you and your family.
·       Ask them to consider the 25,000 people working in the industry and the consequences of those people staying unemployed.
·       Make the point that not only are there 25,000 direct jobs, but there are thousands of indirect jobs created by industry.
·       Make the point that the investment in the film and TV industry is a good investment, which makes a positive contribution to the BC economy.
·       UBCP’s specific ask has been to have our government inform Ontario and Quebec that we will match their credits whether they go up or down.  MPPIA’s ask has been to come within 5% of the Ontario advantage.  We support whatever action the government takes providing it leads to us being competitive again.
 
 

Dear Premier Clark

Earlier today I left the following post on your facebook page regarding the 10 year contract for the teachers.

Wow – clearly you are deleting negative comments here. Ms. Clark – would you sign a radio contract for 10 years. That is a very unrealistic thing to expect any professional to do. It shows again this government’s inability to see the big picture. There is more to government than bottom lines and balanced budgets. In times of economic hardship you allow for debt to grow the economy and then balance it when the economy is robust – like all countries all over the world are doing now to pull out of this world economic tail spin. You are playing it safe by sticking to numbers because you lack the courage and vision to be bold. In the long run you are hurting the future of this economy with these oppressive short sighted measures. The good teachers will leave, the film industry will leave and you will be left with a culture-less province that caters to pipelines and natural gas.”

My post was deleted and I have now been blocked from posting on your facebook page.
I stand by my opinions and my post. Nothing was abusive. I just clearly disagree with your policies. I am assuming that whomever administers your Facebook is a government paid employee. As a tax payer I take issue with this. Perhaps you don’t understand Facebook. If you wish to have a Fan page where no one can comment but can see your posts and like photos etc then you should do that. I do. As an actor I don’t invite the opinions of other’s because I am not a public servant. If you are going to delete any critical posts then you are falsely giving the impression that more people support your policies than perhaps do not. That is deceitful. Check out Barak Obama’s Facebook page. There is a lot of dissent and differing opinions but that is the voice of the public. Sanitizing your page doesn’t garner you support, it makes transparent your disregard for the people over whom you govern.

Sincerely,

Ellie Harvie