04/28/2015 15:15 EDT | Updated 06/28/2015 01:12 EDT

Couillard defends dropping tax credit for company owned by Peladeau fiancee

QUEBEC - Premier Philippe Couillard is defending a decision to nix a tax credit that benefited a TV production company owned by the fiancee of Parti Quebecois leadership candidate Pierre Karl Peladeau.Couillard says the decision to eliminate the refundable tax credit granted to Julie Snyder is aimed at creating a level playing field for all players in the independent television production industry.He blamed the previous PQ government for creating an unfair situation by changing the criteria for Snyder's company, which is called Productions J.The firm is closely tied to television network TVA, which is a major client for her company's offerings and is owned by Peladeau's Quebecor Inc (QBR.B).Snyder says she's weighing legal action, suggesting the Liberals are acting out of spite because she's engaged to the perceived front-runner in the PQ race.Snyder, who is a household name in Quebec, says the survival of Productions J is at risk because hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake. Couillard denied Snyder's claims of discrimination, saying the goal was "to harmonize things and make things equal.""We know that independent producers have a very different challenge from a producer who is linked to a broadcaster," he told reporters in Quebec City.In an interview with Le Devoir, Snyder rejected the government's line of thinking, reaffirming her company's independence from Quebecor.