And that’s a wrap
The cries of “Here here!” rose out of both camps like grotesque chants or some insidious prayers that have been committed to memory and long ago lost all meaning. The disfigured and gesticulating alley cats that are the Saskatchewan Party sat, grinning down the barrels of their pointed noses at the scared church mice that were the NDP.
By my count, our revolution lasted roughly ten minutes in Question Period. Premier Brad Wall, an arrogant and smug grin plastered over his red, sweaty face physically turned his nose up at 8,000 signatures on an online petition that implored the leaders of our province to re-evaluate their decision to save the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit (SFETC), which was unexpectedly put up for execution in this year’s provincial budget. He, and Bill Hutchinson, and Dan D'Autremont share a laugh at our expense. “Sorry, Bubba!” You can imagine them saying, “But we needed a million to reconsider!”
After Question Period, at the gentle prodding of the officers of the Assembly, those of us of the film diaspora who have converged on the public galleries are told to leave the building.
Of course, it didn’t take long.
“I feel empty inside,” I heard one particularly heartbroken spectator remark.
With a Sask. Party majority, Brad Wall and his government were able to pass any legislation they saw fit, and, on Thursday, March 29, the SFETC’s fourteen-year run came to a close. The only incentive that foreign filmmakers had to shoot in our province was gone.
Kicking and screaming until the last breath, the Saskatchewan film industry went with it.
There are those of you smug pricks reading this who will snort and guffaw and say that the fine arts aren’t a real program anyway, and they should be eliminated to provide the rest of us with parking. Listen here, you trust-funded, Conservative-minded bastards: we might not have had mummy and daddy’s bankroll, and yes, we might have even voted for the big, bad NDP. But there is no denying the raw figures. The Saskatchewan film industry bolstered our economy to the tune of $627 million over the course of fourteen years, and the SFETC was cut to save a paltry $8 million a year?
In the Creative City Centre, there exists a wall. It is a largely unremarkable wall. It is not load bearing, nor does it serve any decorative purpose—rather, it serves to break up the flow of an otherwise quaint gathering spot. Patrons have lovingly dubbed it the “Brad” wall. Before, this seemed like a cute, partisan jab. Now, the nickname serves as one of the best metaphors we have for a province that has decimated one of the most profitable industries in Saskatchewan’s booming economy.
I hope Brad Wall’s Conservatives-in-disguise are proud of the work that they’ve done. I hope they sip on champagne and dine on raw oysters served on a bed of shredded 16 mm film.
And I hope they all choke on them.