Nova Scotia·Audio

Premier says Nova Scotia film tax credit a labour subsidy it can't afford

Premier says that the government can't afford to subsidize the film industry.

'Governing is about choices, it's about being fair to all Nova Scotians'

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says the government can't afford to subsidize the province's film industry. (CBC)

Premier Stephen McNeil says his government has to make hard choices about how to spend money and reducing the film tax credit helps fund other programs. 

"It is not a tax credit, it is a direct labour subsidy that is unsustainable for a province that has to deal with all of the other challenges," he said in an interview with CBC's Jean Laroche. 

"Imagine if we subsidized labour of every Nova Scotia company to 65 cents of the labour costs, they'd be booming too and they'd be upset if we reduced it down to 25."

McNeil's government axed the fim tax credit in 2015 and then promptly replaced it with a new film and television incentive fund. 

'You can't do it all'

Some members of province's film industry say all the changes have led to many people in the film industry leaving Nova Scotia to find work.

"Very proud of the investments we're going to make in low income Nova Scotians, very proud of the investments we've made with the business driving job growth and economic opportunity, those are the things that are being ignored," said McNeil.

"You can't do it all, you can't say that we're going to subsidize one sector to 65 cents on the dollar and ignore everybody else."

When Laroche suggested moving on with the interview, the premier refused and said this was a "pet project" of Laroche's and he appreciated it.

Laroche responded by saying that he wasn't the only one interested in talking about the changes to the fim tax credit. 

"I can tell you when I travel the province people don't talk to me about it," said McNeil.

"I can tell you what they talk to me about, they talk to me about child care, talk to me about making sure that, how do I deal with the issues making sure that my child is being supported properly before they go to school?

"How do I ensure that my child gets to school, that they're getting proper education? What about a job opportunity here in the province, across all sectors that's what people talk to me about."

You can hear the full interview with Stephen McNeil here.

With files from Jean Laroche, Information Morning

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