POLITICS

Trailer Park Boys Fight To Keep Nova Scotia Film Tax Credit, With Snoop Dogg's Help

04/06/2015 11:59 EDT | Updated 06/06/2015 05:59 EDT
HALIFAX - An attempt by the Trailer Park Boys to raise awareness about the importance of a film tax credit in Nova Scotia has caught the attention of celebrities like Snoop Dogg and helped fuel an industry movement to save the incentive ahead of the release of the provincial budget this week.

The comedic trio of Rob Wells, Mike Smith and John Paul Tremblay recently posted a video as their characters Ricky, Bubbles and Julian asking the government to preserve the tax credit.

The video, which has garnered more than 500,000 views on the Trailer Park Boys Facebook page, says their show may no longer be filmed in Nova Scotia if the credit is cut.

"I just found out on the Internet here that the Nova Scotia government might be cutting the tax program," said Smith as his character Bubbles, wearing his signature thick-lensed glasses.

"If they do that, then the camera people that come and film us, put us on the TV, they're not going to be able to come anymore. So there will be no more show, unless we move away."

The government has not said it is eliminating the refundable tax credit for costs directly related to the production of films in Nova Scotia.

But Finance Minister Diana Whalen recently told a business group that she was examining the credit, which costs about $24 million per year, as she gets ready to present the budget Thursday.

"I believe all tax credits and exemptions have to be examined closely to ensure that they are effective and affordable," a copy of Whalen's March 25 speech said.

Finance Department spokesman Darcy MacRae would not confirm any details of the budget.

"It is important that everyone use caution when speculating what will or will not be in the upcoming budget," said MacRae in an email Monday.

Industry stakeholders and fans of television shows and movies filmed in the province have taken to social media to show their support for the film tax credit, prompting hash tags like #SupportOurScreens, #NSFilmJobs and #SupportNSFilm.

Rapper Snoop Dogg retweeted a tweet from the Trailer Park Boys and asked his 12 million followers to sign an online petition to preserve the tax credit.

Guns N' Roses made a similar plea from their Twitter account, as did a number of other celebrities including the band's frontman Axl Rose, comedian Carrot Top and rocker Sebastian Bach, who has appeared as a guest star in the Trailer Park Boys.

Marc Almon, chairman of Screen Nova Scotia, said roughly 2,000 people work in Nova Scotia's film industry and the province would no longer be competitive with other jurisdictions in North America without the tax credit.

"The film industry as we know it here in Nova Scotia would come to an end," said Almon.

The industry pumps roughly $139 million into the provincial economy each year, up from $6 million when the credit was introduced in 1993, he said.

"Any place that has a viable film industry has a tax credit, even California," he said.

"Without a tax credit, we would not be able to bring in the investment into the province and we wouldn't be able to tell our own stories."

Follow @AlyThomson on Twitter.