Lights! Camera! Think!

Buying the business with more credits isn’t the best way to attract the film industry back to BC. That will require some creative thinking.

That was some pretty lame medicine Cultural Development minister Bill Bennett prescribed for workers in the hard-hit film industry when they rallied last week to heal their industry.

The industry, which employs some 25,000 people isn’t dead, but it’s certainly not feeling very well.

Other locations — most notable to us is Ontario, although Louisiana, Quebec, European and Asian locations — are luring away Hollywood film makers by offering better tax credits.

In other words, they’re buying the business (and the votes that come with it) and so are outbidding BC, which had it almost exclusively for so long.

We were close, we were skilled, we had the infrastructure, and we had some tax credits.

But none of that matters much now because it’s all about subsidization, or who will throw the most money at film producers. Bennett’s solution was to form a committee to look at the whole issue.

I’m hardly a backer of any government and I can feel sympathy and sorrow for the film workers caught up in this race. But I’m not sure if I can agree with them on the obvious solution — create better tax credits in BC.

Trying to out-subsidize other locations puts a big dent in a government’s budget and could probably be better used for such things as health care.

As even the smallest store owner can understand, buying business is a road to bankruptcy, because someone else is always willing to bid lower, as we’ve seen.

Judging by the news coming out of Ontario and Quebec, they’re getting pretty close to that point now: their deficits are swelling out of control.

So, I’m afraid that the BC industry is going to have to find some other, more innovative, way to attract the film makers back.

Every business has methods to attract premium customers, so maybe BC should copy or invent a few of them instead of asking for more from an ever-shrinking pot.