POLITICS

Retired major general supports Saskatchewan filmmakers in fight over tax credit

06/04/2012 09:18 EDT | Updated 08/04/2012 05:12 EDT
REGINA - The Saskatchewan film industry has gained an unusual ally in its war with the provincial government over the elimination of the film employment tax credit.

Retired major general Lewis MacKenzie was in Regina over the weekend to narrate a TV series called "Edge of War."

It could be one of the last productions made in the province by Partners in Motion since the credit was cut.

MacKenzie says he's sorry to hearing about "the movie industry being attacked here in Saskatchewan."

He says a film industry raises the profile of any province for tourism and brings employment.

The Saskatchewan government says the tax credit had cost the province $100 million since its inception in 1998 and has proposed replacing it with a new, non-refundable tax credit.

Mackenzie suggested that's not enough.

"Hopefully they can have another look at it before everyone has to move to — heaven forbid — Ontario or British Colombia," MacKenzie said.

Steve Allen, director of "Edge of War" agrees, saying that just like the potash and oil industry, filmmakers need help in order to compete.

"If you want to compete on an international stage, you do need a little bit of help to compete with other places that can do it cheaper," Allen explained. "So that's essentially what this tax credit or grant or whatever you want to call it was."

Kevin Doherty, who was recently appointed minister of culture, has said he has no intention of reinstating the old tax credit.

(CJME)