Canuck gov't OKs permanent coin

The majority Tory government has, for the first time, given permanent funding to the Canada Media Fund, the main financing motor of the local TV business.

In the budget approved in the House of Commons late Monday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government allotted C$100 million ($103 million) in annual financing to the fund.

It also receives coin from cable and satellite operators, and in total pumps around $390 million into local programming each year.

This permanent funding is big news for the industry and initial reaction was unanimously enthusiastic, with actors union ACTRA, the Writers Guild of Canada and the Canadian Media Production Assn., which reps producers, all applauding the announcement.

The fund contributes around 25% to 30% of all the coin devoted to TV production each year and creates around $1 billion in production.

“Independent producers and broadcasters can now plan well into the future,” said Norm Bolen, CEO of the producers’ org.

“This is a good first step for our industry,” said ACTRA prexy Ferne Downey.

The budget also included $62 million in extra coin for the CBC, a “one-time” addition that has been given to the pubcaster for nine years in a row.

These measures were included in the government’s previous budget in late March but that was voted down by the opposition parties and, since the Tories were a minority government at the time, that defeat led to the dissolution of Parliament and the election.

Harper’s Tories won their first majority government in early May and there were fears that his alliance would cut back cultural programs. But so far that is not the case.

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