N.B. refuses to reverse film tax credit cut

New Brunswick's Alward government is suggesting it will find other ways to support filmmakers, after cutting the film tax credit in the provincial budget.

New Brunswick's Alward government is suggesting it will find other ways to support filmmakers, after cutting the film tax credit in the provincial budget.

Those comments were made inside the Legislature in Fredericton on Thursday, as directors and producers staged a protest outside.

Business New Brunswick Minister Paul Robichaud said the tax credit may be gone, but there are alternate ways to support filmmakers in the province.

"Regional Development Corporations, Business New Brunswick, the Northern Economic Development Fund, those are the other tools we could look at with the industry to help them, case by case," said Robichaud.

However Liberal culture critic Roland Haché said that amounts to political control over which films get made.

"All of a sudden the artists are not so free. What we have to understand is the tax credit was there, and it didn't matter who it was," Haché said. "If you qualified for the tax credit, you qualified for the tax credit."

Robichaud said it's unfair that film and television producers have been receiving a tax credit from the provincial government, while other cultural sectors have not. He said the government wants to help the cultural sector as a whole.

Filmmakers protest

Outside the legislature on Thursday protesters held signs accusing the government of silencing the voices of filmmakers in New Brunswick and chanted "save our films."

They said cutting the film tax credit will have more serious consequences than the politicians realize.

Producer and Director Maurice Aubin, of Mozus Productions in Moncton, said it seems as though their arguments to government are falling on deaf ears.

"They don't see it as being an economic engine for the province," said Aubin. "But the other aspect is the cultural aspect. It's the English, French, Aboriginal producers of New Brunswick and the independent voice of the people of New Brunswick that is basically being shut up."

Aubin said producers and filmmakers are willing to sit down and talk to government about what can be done to rectify the situation.