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Budget missed the boat to help ACTRA

If Tuesday’s federal budget was an attempt by the Conservatives to apologize to Canada’s culture community for the devastating cuts of the last year, they missed a major cue.

If Tuesday’s federal budget was an attempt by the Conservatives to apologize to Canada’s culture community for the devastating cuts of the last year, they missed a major cue.

Canada’s $5-billion film and TV industry is a proven job generator and gives government a lot of bang for every dollar invested. By not making a significant investment in this industry, Conservatives passed on an opportunity to create thousands of well-paying, creative, skilled jobs and, in turn, stimulate Canadian economic growth.

A healthy cultural industry is in everybody’s interest — culture not only enriches our lives, it enriches our economy. More people work in culture than work in agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas — combined.

Our cultural industries already contribute more than $85 billion — or 7.4 per cent of Canada’s real gross domestic product — and more than 1.1 million jobs. ACTRA had presented a number of concrete job-creation ideas in the pre-budget process; unfortunately, the government didn’t include any of them in yesterday’s budget.

These practical solutions would have fuelled Canada’s $5-billion film and TV industry and added to the more than 125,000 full-time jobs our industry creates across Canada:

• Increased long-term funding for the Canadian Television Fund, Telefilm Canada, the CBC and the National Film Board;

• A new fund for new media productions that would come from a levy on the revenues of Internet service providers;

• Increased tax credits to encourage film and TV production across the country.

We also pitched the idea of re-introducing “income averaging” for tax purposes over a five-year period to provide fair and equitable tax treatment for self-employed Canadians, such as performers. We’re pleased to see renewed commitments to the Canadian Television Fund and New Media Fund. However, this is basically a status quo budget for our industry and a missed opportunity to use the job-creating power of our industry to its full potential.

Simply put, Canadian performers are surprised the government is passing on such a no-brainer.

 
 
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