Saturday, January 12, 2013

Film folks furious, Premier Photo Op censors Facebook comments

My story in Business in Vancouver about the B.C. Liberal government purposely omitting the film, TV and video gaming industries (collectively known as "screen-based entertainment") from Premier Christy Clark's BC Jobs Plan has struck a chord.

You can read the story here.

Film and TV workers suffering from a lack of work have bombarded Clark's Facebook page with hundreds of passionate pleas for her to help the industry, which has fallen to fourth in North America after Ontario lured producers with lucrative tax credits that B.C. has yet to match. Premier Jobs! Families! is being reminded that many families rely on jobs in film and TV, but there have been fewer jobs of late, meaning hard times for some families.

They're mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, because they think the Premier frankly doesn't give a damn and she can't handle the truth. They want to remind her she relies on the kindness of strangers (aka voters) to keep her employed. Show me the money, they say.

However, what we've got here is a failure to communicate. Someone in Clark's office cleansed the Facebook page of the comments (which did not appear to me to be offensive). Furious Facebookers have responded with a slew of new comments, complaints about the apparent censorship and even this digest of the comments that were deleted
Dax Belanger There was nothing in those posts that was a personal attack. The comments were well thought out and respectful. The deletion of them speaks volumes. Shame on this blatant disrespect for the voters of BC.
Sanchia Wong  Ms Clark, you might need to hire some new people in your office. I am not sure if they deleted the postings based on your instructions or they deleted them so that they do not have to tell you about them, and hence addressing the issue. I am pretty sure this will get deleted as well.
Below is a file showing some of the comments posted on Jan. 11.

UPDATE (Jan. 13): Sometime during the Golden Globe Awards, when the name Sarah Palin came up on a few occasions, a message attributed to Clark was posted on her Facebook page. The alleged response from the Premier offers no hint that any help whatsoever is on the way.
The film, television and digital media industries play an important role in B.C.'s economy.
Despite a challenging fiscal climate, the Province continues to make significant investments to support these industries through more than $200 million in tax credits, development program funding, funding film festivals, and through supporting projects like the new Centre for Digital Media and the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation.
Thank you to everyone for your comments and feedback. If you want to learn more about how we are supporting these important industries, please write me at
UPDATE (Jan. 16): Clark held her first news conference of 2013 and was asked to address the film industry's call for increased tax credits. She did not offer much hope of relief, though the budget is almost a month away on Feb. 19. Here is what she said:

"It's a hugely important industry for our province, in particular in the Lower Mainland. It's an industry that's great for our image, it's great for our culture here, it's great for jobs. And it's a green, clean industry.  
"We offer huge, lots of advantages for filmmakers, TV and filmmakers, here in the province, partly look outside. There's all that majestic beauty that you can't capture anywhere else in the world. 
"In addition to that, we offer about $285 millino in tax credits to film and TV in B.C. which is a very substantial benefit for a specific industry.  
"That's a good investment, it's a  big investment for taxpayers, but I think it's an investment taxpayers support. So we're going to continue to do that. We've been talking to leading members of the film industry and I understand the pressure, the race to the bottom that we've seen in economies that are really struggling. I understand the pressure that that's created. But here in B.C. we offer a pretty good deal for filmmakers and we do it for the right reasons because it's an important industry for us. 
"There's been a range of different requests (for financial assistance) that have been made, but I think in B.C. where we are also going to balance our budget, we don't have a bottomless pit of decisions to be able to make.  
"If that (90% unemployment rate in the industry) was true. Absolutely not, it's inaccurate."  


Danneau said...

I posted a pointed opinion piece over at It's not that the fine folks in the entertainment industry shouldn't have jobs, and decent, well-paid jobs, but until the industry can demonstrate that it provides some real benefit (aside from titillation and distraction) to society, then society should have the option to refuse the product. Subsidies and tax breaks prevent us from making that choice.

HelloWall said...

Someone used the line - "The alleged response from the Premier", I would suggest it should have been - 'The response from the alleged Premier.'

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