By Matt Toner
If—unlike thousands of people across our province—you don’t work in the film, television, or video-game industries, you might have missed the gathering storm that broke over the weekend. But it’s worth your attention, because it speaks volumes as to exactly how our province has been governed since 2009.
At issue is an Arts and Culture Branch report that fed into the creation of the B.C. Jobs Plan: it’s thanks to sleuthing by the NDP’s Spencer Chandra Herbert that this document was dragged into the light.
There’s lots to be read there, but for my money (and yours), the killer quote is:
Government has taken a close look at the screen-based entertainment industry as a possible focus for the Jobs Plan, and has not found a compelling case for any additional emphasis on this sector.
That is to say, we’re not going to even try to create any new jobs in this industry. Which is staggering when you consider the undisputed positive impact of this sector, the active engagement of governments in Ontario and Quebec, and the mounting flood of creative talent heading away from Vancouver to all points of the compass.
With this issue, however, there is the extra layer of Orwellian tactics that have been ladled over the mix.
Upon hearing about the recommendations of the Arts and Culture Branch, many people took to Facebook to voice their concerns. But over the weekend, hundreds and hundreds of these critical comments were apparently purged from Christy Clark’s official page, voices of dissent silenced with the click of the mouse.
Or were they?
Well, no, because you really can’t pull that crap in this day and age. The lost comments were captured and posted (and reposted) throughout the weekend. And that’s when people started to get angry and that’s when the Save B.C. Film movement was born.
Save B.C. Film only started a few days ago, but it’s growing fast: since Saturday, its Facebook page has registered more than 3,200 “likes”. Or check out the @savebcfilm Twitter feed, which had hundreds of followers within 24 hours. And if you agree with what they’re saying, sign the online petition, which had 13,000 signatures in two days.
The government’s response? So far, barely a yawn.
Thankfully, it’s an election year and the B.C. Liberals are going to find that ongoing indifference is going to be a tough policy to sell to an angered industry. They’ve squandered our trust and I can’t imagine them making the effort to rebuild it.
Adrian Dix, on the other hand, clearly understands the importance of creativity and innovation as a path to our province’s future. And the way we get there is by taking a series of measured steps that engage the industry and the people working in it.
The NDP is ready to make a change, not only to save jobs in the creative sector, but to also create an atmosphere that fosters growth. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t be running on their ticket.