Monday, August 15, 2011

New Brunswick Business Journal: Tories urged to stop funding of Bathurst film

Taxpayers federation says film tax credit is wasteful

Published Monday August 15th, 2011

C2 Times & Transcript Staff

FREDERICTON - The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging David Alward's Tory government to revoke a big tax credit being offered to the makers of a controversial film in Bathurst.

Click here to read original story in NB Business Journal

Kevin Lacey, the organization's Atlantic director, has written an open letter to Trevor Holder, the minister responsible for culture, asking him to cancel the $250,000 credit to Dream Street Pictures.

The producers plan on making a film about the Bathurst High School Phantoms basketball team that won the provincial AA tournament in 2009, a year after seven team members and the coach's wife were killed on the way back from a game in Moncton.

"Your government determined that the Film Tax credit program was deserving of budget cuts," Lacey wrote.

"Given the government determined the program was ineffective, we believe that no further money should have been spent."

Lacey said the federation supported the provincial government when it cancelled the tax credit for the film industry during this year's budget because it considered the subsidy wasteful and ineffective.

Dream Street Pictures successfully applied for the tax credit before the subsidy was axed.

Two of the victims' mothers are livid that the production is going ahead.

Isabelle Hains and Ana Acevedo, mothers of Daniel Hains and Javier Acevedo, victims of the 15-passenger van crash in January 2008, contacted the federation to plead their case.

Both have said that neither the filmmakers nor School District 15 talked to them about the movie before permission was granted to shoot on location at Bathurst High School.

"Given taxpayers money, including those of the victims families, is being spent to support the film, the government and producers should have sincere and meaningful consultations with the very people who will be most affected by the production of this movie," Lacey said, adding that so far, the Alward government has upheld its campaign promise to consult with the public on most issues.

"It's our hope your government will listen again and support our call to end taxpayer subsidies to this movie."

Holder did not respond to requests for comment.