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Pollster ROBBINS leads way on billion dollar BC movie negotiation
  Jan 16, 2005

A random digit dialing survey of 720 respondents throughout 37 ridings in British Columbia between January 14-17, 2005. An audit of 50 calls in Coquitlam, Port Moody, Burnaby, Mission, Surrey, was conducted personally by Glen P. Robbins. This survey features a margin of error of 2.5%, 18 times out of 20 @96% competency.

Question #1
In your opinion should some BC industries receive preferential economic treatment from government over other industries?
Yes    48 %
No    52 %
Question #2
In your opinion which is the following is most important to BCs economy?
Forestry    72 %
Hi-Tech Industries    19 %
The movie industry    09 %
Question #3
Currently, the movie industry in British Columbia is valued at one billion dollars per annum. The rising dollar and arguably high labour costs are making it difficult for this industry to continue to make movies in this province. In your opinion should Finance Minister Colin Hansen grant the BC movie industry between 30 million and 70 million dollars in tax credits or other provincial subsidy to keep their 1 billion dollar per year industry in the province?
Yes    72 %
No    28 %
Question #4
Spokespersons for BCs movie industry have indicated that they are being induced by offers from Ontario and Quebec, which would ultimately make movie production less expensive for them. In other words BCs loss would be Ontario and Quebecs gain. Which one of the following statements in your opinion best depicts what Finance Minister Colin Hansen should say to BCs movie industry?
British Columbians will not get in a bidding war with other provinces that is not how we negotiate    04 %
British Columbians have no intention of providing subsidies to any BC industry, if one gets one so should all the others    16 %
British Columbians value the movie industry and we are willing within reason to make an economic accommodation in order to keep it here    76 %
British Columbians cannot be subsidizing the movie industries high labour costs    04 %
Question #5
After considering the cost of the Vancouver Olympics, the potential cost overruns of Vancouver RAV line, the sale of BC Rail, the part privatization of BC Hydro and the attempted sale of the Coquihalla Highway, is it fair and reasonable for people living in the lower mainland where most movies in BC are produced, to expect other British Columbians outside the lower mainland to agree to a subsidy for the movie industry?
Yes    36 %
No    64 %
Question #6
(This is a question to help better identify you)-If a provincial election were held today for which political party would you vote?
BC Liberals    39 %
BC NDP    45 %
Green    06 %
I generally don't or won't vote    35 %
Other/Undecided    09 %
Theoretically British Columbians are split on whether or not some B.C. industries should be subsidized over others. Respondents on Vancouver Island are split, and those in the Lower Mainland (except Langley and the Fraser Valley) are in favour of subsidies
British Columbians in all regions of this 37 constituency based survey are of the opinion that forestry is the most important industry in British Columbia, with hi-technology industries and the movie industry a distant second and third.
In Question #3 respondents from all 37 ridings in this survey are in the majority when it comes to supporting tax credits to the movie industry. Those respondents in the Fraser Valley were the least supportive (but still in the majority) and those in Burnaby, Tri-Cities and Vancouver are overwhelmingly in support.
This clear support is based almost exclusively on the size of annual revenue the movie industry generates and the fact that circumstances involving the increase in the value of the Canadian dollar make the movie industries position understandable to British Columbians. Given some serious difficulties the forestry industry in BC has had to endure, the movie industry, and British Columbians love of Hollywood movies, makes this request from the movie industry reasonable according to respondents.
Many respondents were clear to point out that at significantly lower annual total revenues from the movie industry they would not approve any tax credit. Respondents in the North were more outspoken in their objection to subsidies however in their response to this question, they also indicated that tax credits are more acceptable in this situation owing to the fact that the dollar rose so significantly, and in that light a subsidy is not unreasonable. This is noteworthy given that a significant majority of respondents in many parts of the Northern and Interior regions answered No to Question #5.
Question #4 reaffirms the majority support from all British Columbians for the tax credits, or PST exemption, or other subsidy in return for keeping the one billion dollar movie industry in BC. It also reaffirmed British Columbians convictions that their agreement to this arrangement is not based so much on the fact that they preferred the movie industry, but that they understood and accept the principle behind the tax credits in this particularly circumstance.
Question #5 provided some insight into the relative fairness of the movie industries request in light of the fact that most movies are produced in the lower mainland and the fact that Gordon Campbell has not treated British Columbians outside the lower mainland with as much consideration.
Naturally, the amount of the tax credit provided should be tied to the annual revenues, but it should be noted, very few respondents focused so much on the amount of tax credit provided in the question (i.e. 30 million or 70 million) but on the annual total of revenues brought to the province, which underscores the rationale of the higher Canadian dollar as the basis for their consent to grant the tax credits. To wit: at one billion dollars or more of annual revenues British Columbians easily support tax credits, at lower amounts they likely will not.
This survey which featured only three (3) hang-ups (average is around 20 for a survey like this) reveals clear and unequivocal majority support for Finance Minister Colin Hansen to get this deal done to keep Hollywood North in BC, for the benefit of British Columbians.

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