Sask. government pays to study film tax credit after it was cut

A contract reveals Saskatchewan government spent up to $5,000 to study the elimination of a tax credit after it had already decided to cut it.
Many people in Saskatchewan's film and video industry were furious when the government announced last year it was eliminating the old film tax credit program. (CBC)

The Government of Saskatchewan spent public money to study the elimination of a tax credit after it had already decided to scrap it.

The Saskatchewan NDP released a government contract it obtained from a freedom of information application. The contract indicates the government spent up to $5,000 for consulting services.

Saskatchewan's film tax credit was cut in the 2011-12 provincial budget. On March 11, 2012,  the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport signed a contract to study the film tax credit and come up with a narrative to explain the findings.

Kevin Doherty, Minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport, said he was never given the contract nor its findings when he became culture minister in May,

"From what I've seen in that particular contract it looks like the ministry and the minister at the time were looking for some communication assistance on a very difficult decision made in the budget," Doherty said.

NDP MLA Danielle Chartier said the government should have been able to tell people why it scrapped the tax credit – without outside help – once the decision was made.

"It's totally not common sense to cut a program and then spend money to look at that program," Chartier said. "It's clear that all they were spending money to do is to come up with public relations and spin to be able to sell their decision."