A Simple Plan

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I’ll probably end up joining the Keep Ontario’s Cameras Rolling rally tomorrow at Queen’s Park, but ultimately I don’t think that tax credits will be the saviour of Ontario’s film and television industry — or the country’s, for that matter.

What we really need is new legislation from our government for more Canadian content on our screens.

It’s worked for the music biz. The CRTC has mandated 35% Canadian content on our radio stations each and every day between the hours of 6am and 11pm, and with grants from FACTOR Canadian recording artists can get the cash they need to get their music video on MuchMusic.

The result? After years of Canadian content minimums we’ve got a roster of musical acts whose success speaks for itself.

On the boob tube the CRTC has called for an average of 8 hours of Canadian programming per week in the 7 to 11pm window. This represents about 29% of the weekly prime time window, but barely more than than 6% of your typical broadcast day!

The result? I’m struggling to get my own TV pilot broadcast on a third-tier digital network, for a licensing fee of only $20 per minute of screen time!

As for movies, the CRTC doesn’t seem to have put any thought into Canadian content on our cinemas. My local megaplex, The Paramount, has a total of 15 screens — surely some homegrown product could play on one or two of them!

Now I’m not opposed to the idea of tax credits — sucking up to runaway productions from the States would at least give crews and day players some extra cash. But wouldn’t it be better for everyone to have a healthy film and television industry of our own? I think so.

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