POLITICS

Supporters of Saskatchewan's old film tax credit rally outside legislature

05/14/2012 06:17 EDT | Updated 07/14/2012 05:12 EDT
REGINA - Dozens of bikers and 10 semis pulled up outside the Saskatchewan legislature Monday to rally for the return of the province's film tax credit.

Saskatoon actor Kim Coates, who stars in the TV series "Sons of Anarchy," told the crowd he still can't understand why the government decided to get rid of the credit.

He said the incentive helped nurture the film industry in Saskatchewan and now — quote — "they want to rid of us of that culture."

The government has proposed a non-refundable tax credit instead.

But those at the rally said that's based on a corporate income tax model that won't work for the film industry.

A petition signed by thousands of people urging the government to reinstate the tax credit was given to the NDP at the rally to hand to Premier Brad Wall.

Virginia Thompson is president of Verite Films and was one of the producers of the hit television show "Corner Gas" with comedian Brent Butt. In the last decade, she has produced four series in Saskatchewan, which she said adds up to $100 million of production value. She contends that produces $600 million in economic activity for the province.

Saskatoon-based director and producer Doug Cuthand was among the protesters. He's not expecting the government to reverse the decision.

"It's the nature of government not to turn back on the decision they make. It's a loss of face, but they have to realize that they're ruining people's lives. They are taking away an industry," he said.

Cuthand is among those who believe ending the film tax credit will spell the end for Saskatchewan's film industry.

"There's a lot of people in this province that have made a good living off the film industry and it's not a freebie," Cuthand said. "It's a very tough industry to work in and a very tough industry to run as a business too."

Cuthand said the government needs to realize that films and the arts play an important role in maintaining Saskatchewan's strong economy.

(CJME)