03/27/2013 12:08 EDT | Updated 05/26/2013 05:12 EDT

Sask. Party government spent thousands to justify film credit cut:NDP

REGINA - The NDP says the Saskatchewan government spent thousands of dollars trying to justify the end of a film tax credit after the decision to do away with it had already been finalized.

The party got documents through a Freedom Of Information request that it says shows in March 2012 the government sought out a consultant to come up with explanations for why the credit was cut.

NDP critic Danielle Chartier said in question period Tuesday that the contract didn't go out until the program was already axed and last year's budget was being printed.

Culture Minister Kevin Doherty ducked the question several times, focusing his initial response on how the province has balanced the budget.

He also mentioned the new $5 million Creative Saskatchewan fund, which will be shared among all the arts, including film.

The program was designed to be a replacement the film tax credit, but the film industry says it won't bring film production back to the province because Saskatchewan remains the only province without a targeted tax credit incentive.

"One week before the budget was released they put together a contract that cost thousands of dollars to come up with their justifications and talking points. Mr. Speaker, why would this government spend money on researching the tax credit after making the decision to cut it?" Chartier asked.

The NDP also notes that the consultant's report was not included in its FOI request and no explanation was given.