Faites vos jeux, mesdames et messieurs

by Yule Heibel on September 27, 2003

I have not paid much — any? — attention to California’s recall debacle. It seems so distant, even though California is part of the West Coast Ecotopia zone. California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, southern Alaska: it’s a natural grouping, like a sibling cohort. Terrain and vegetation are somehow similar, and it’s clear to anyone with half a brain that they come from the same geologic era. If you’re from coastal California, you’ll find coastal BC familiar in a way that the coastal Eastern seaboard just isn’t. (Of course it’s also a fact that people have caused California to change so much that many of us are not quite sure we still want it in the cohort. California has too many people, including many Canadian ex-pats; it has far too many cars; and it’s just too fast, too dry. Dry and fast? Ow. No good. We like some wet, thank you.) Back to the recall, which suddenly interests me, via Martin Knelman’s article in today’s Toronto Star, Will Arnold Kill Hollywood North? The Terminator, if elected, will likely terminate Canadian, specifically British Columbian, Hollywood branch operations: “…given his steely, coldly dismissive view of Canada, the mere possibility of Governor Arnold is enough to give chills to people in the film world whose security and hopes for lasting prosperity depend on the assumption that Hollywood studios will continue to make movies in Canada and help their northern neighbour live happily ever after.” Last year, Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines, was pulled from the Vancouver production roster and moved to L.A., due solely to Arnold’s influence. Even though it was cheaper by US$8mil. to make the movie here, Mr. Schwarzenegger sat the production team down, chipped in a pile of his own money, and convinced everyone involved that it was better to make the movie in California. It’s an Arnoldian vision, apparently: “… we helped create jobs, hundreds of new jobs, and that’s what I want to do as governor. I want to bring business back to this state.” The Film and Television Action Committee claims that “tax credits offered by the [Canadian] federal and provincial governments to lure Hollywood productions constituted an unfair trade practice that had cost the U.S. industry 25,000 jobs and $4.1 billion in lost revenue yearly [!sic] since 1998.” Canadians might now worry that Governor Arnold will provide California with the same kind of seductive tax credits. Which means that a very wealthy Republican governor could use tax money (that’d be your money, p’adner) to subsidize Hollywood, do battle agin the evil pot-smoking sodomites up north, and fight free trade under the table. Gotta love them Republicans, they’re full of surprises. Golly, it would make a great movie.


Betsy Burke September 28, 2003 at 6:24 am

unfair trade balance? Give us a break. Personally, I’ll look forward to the day when the films allow Vancouver to be itself and not an NY city substitute.

Yule Heibel September 28, 2003 at 12:50 pm

Indeed — and nothing very interesting comes out of Hollywood, so why bother supporting it in any way? I think it’s also interesting that the business insiders aren’t following Schwarzenegger’s take on runaway production. But it’s an issue for Sch., and how he treats it might have implications for his overall handling of the world’s 5th largest economy. So stay tuned, his irrationalities and idiosyncrasies might well be exposed over this issue.

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