Canada’s Conservative government permanently renewed the Canada Media Fund, the main financing motor of the local TV and new-media biz, in its budget announcement on Tuesday.
But Prime Minister Stephen Harper leads a minority government and it looks likely that the budget will be voted down by opposition parties in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Friday.
If that happens, Canadians will be asked to go to the polls to elect a new government, and none of the budget measures will go into effect.
Industryites nevertheless reacted positively to the news amid expectations that the Conservatives would be re-elected.”This budgetary support will encourage investment and provide the TV industry with the kind of stability it needs to go forward and create in confidence,” said Writers Guild of Canada exec director Maureen Parker.
The government intends to pump C$100 million ($102 million) into the Canada Media Fund each year. The fund injects $357 million into the TV and new-media industry annually, with coin coming from the government and cable and satellite distributors, who are forced by the broadcast regulator to pay into it.
“We are confident that the federal government will continue to support the industry,” said Canada Media Fund spokesman Steve Flanagan. “We have an engagement from the government to give permament funding to the fund so we don’t have to go to the government each year to plead our case.”
The government also announced that it will add $61 million to pubcaster CBC’s $1 billion budget. This was initially announced as a “one-time” injection of funds to CBC in 2001 but the pubcaster has received the money each year since then.