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Some cash coming for Canuck biz

Gov does not increase tax credits for film, TV prod'n.

MONTREAL — Canuck pubcaster CBC will get a one-time cash infusion of C$60 million ($49 million) in the country’s budget, announced Wednesday by Finance Minister Ralph Goodale.

Canadian Heritage’s Tomorrow Starts Today arts fund also will receive $140 million over the next five years.

Budget mandates that CBC’s money must create more Canadian programming. Pubcaster already receives $753 million each year from Ottawa.The film and TV industry had mixed reaction to the budget. The good news was CBC’s extra cash and that the government did not cut significantly the funding for any of the key film and TV agencies, like Telefilm Canada and the National Film Board. Heritage Canada, the culture ministry, was not hit with the 5% overall cut imposed on several other ministries.

The bad news is that, despite lobbying, the government did not follow the lead of the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec and increase tax credits for film and TV production.

“That’s a big concern,” said Stephen Waddell, national executive director of ACTRA, the country’s main actors union. “Also, there’s no mention of the Canadian Television Fund. The budget is silent on the TV drama crisis. It hasn’t assisted us in trying to get more TV drama produced.”

The government pumps in $81 million annually to the Canadian Television Fund, one of the main financial motors of the domestic TV industry, but will provide that money for only one more year.

Even insiders at the CBC were disappointed because the government has made the $49 million a one-time grant rather than a regular addition to its budget. CBC is facing tough financial times due to the cancellation of the National Hockey League season. The NHL playoffs each spring are a major moneymaker for the net and the loss will cost it around $16 million.

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