FYI, Canadians

FYI, Canadians

Text of bulletin from Canadian Film and Television Production Association
to its members, as reported in Playback:

Conservative Government Quietly Cuts Programs in Support of the Film and Video Sector

Dear Members,

As you may have read in the press this past weekend, the Conservative Government has quietly announced the elimination of several programs in support of the Canadian film and video sector.

The A-V Preservation Trust ($300,000), the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund ($1.5 million), the National Training Schools Program ($2.5 million), Trade Routes ($9 million) and PromArt ($4.7 million) will be eliminated as of March 31, 2009.

The Conservative Government chose to announce these cuts via phone calls by departmental officials to key stakeholder groups (including the CFTPA) late this past Friday. Officials have confirmed that a press release will not be issued by either the ministers of Canadian Heritage or Foreign Affairs. We would offer that this communications strategy was specifically intended to minimize negative reaction from industry stakeholders.

The CFTPA is deeply concerned about the Conservative Government’s commitment to Canadian culture and to the independent production sector more specifically. We fear this latest round of cuts may be the thin edge of the wedge for more significant cuts to our sector later this year. As CFTPA members may know, the government’s contribution to both the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) and the Canada New Media Fund (CNMF) also technically wind-down at the end of March 2009. There has been no indication by the Conservative Government on what it intends to do with regard to these programs that are so crucial to the viability of the independent television and interactive media production sectors in Canada.

What the CFTPA Intends To Do

In response to the announced cuts, the CFTPA jointly with the APFTQ will be writing both the ministers of Canadian Heritage and Foreign Affairs to request a meeting as soon as possible to press them to reconsider their decision and to seek clarification on the Conservative’s intentions with regard to the CTF and the CNMF. We will also be issuing a joint press release with the APFTQ and working with our colleagues in other industry sectors in this regard. Lastly, we will be raising the matter will all political parties with a view to putting federal support to our sector front and centre on the agenda for when the House of Commons resumes in September.

What CFTPA Members Can Do

Members can also help by raising these issues with their local Members of Parliament. We suggest that you stress the importance of the independent production sector to Canada’s cultural identity. Perhaps more meaningful to this Government, you may want to emphasize the sector’s contribution to Canada’s economy. Annually, the film and television sector generates $5 billion in production activity, including $1.7 billion of exports, and sustains some 127,000 direct and indirect jobs. Lastly, it is important to underscore the benefit provided by both Trade Routes and PromArt in helping to export Canadian content abroad and to attracting much needed foreign investment to our sector.

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