Jobs Minister Shirley Bond defends B.C.’s Bollywood awards

NDP says TV ratings of 30 million Indian households show the B.C. Liberals blew $11 million on an election stunt

Premier Christy Clark announces B.C.'s sponsorship for Times of India Film Awards at Vancouver news conference

VICTORIA – TV ratings of around 30 million households in India don’t mean an unhappy ending for B.C.’s $11 million investment in hosting a Bollywood movie awards show, Jobs Minister Shirley Bond says.

Premier Christy Clark was widely criticized for the decision to invest $11 million to host the Times of India Film Awards, an upstart competitor to India’s 60-year-old National Film Awards that was staged in Vancouver April 6. At the time, Clark said the show would be seen by 400 million people.

NDP leader Adrian Dix zeroed in on the TV ratings in the legislature Wednesday, calling it a “vastly inflated” and “totally fictitious” rationale for spending millions on the awards show.

An NDP freedom of information request for the business case behind the awards uncovered “a couple of emails, a press release … and a poster with the premier’s picture on it,” Dix said.

Bond said the Indian newspaper group reports 32 million TV screens for the June 16 telecast in India, with as many as 20 million South Asian people in other countries seeing an international simulcast. A webcast by Sony reached another eight million online viewers, and the program will be rebroadcast on TV as many as 11 more times, Bond said.

Asked if B.C. would sponsor the event again, Bond didn’t rule it out.

“We recognize the benefit of reaching out to India, and this is one way to do it,” she said. “We’re going to measure the outcomes.”

Bond said the week-long event, with launch news conferences in Vancouver and Mumbai, a global voting campaign and a music event at the PNE before the main awards show, generated 6,000 direct and indirect jobs in B.C. The Times Group also booked 3,000 hotel rooms in Vancouver.

Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains told the legislature the $11 million would have been better spent on school expansions for students in portable classrooms in his constituency.

Just Posted

More Peninsula councillors declare their 2018 intentions

Carl Jensen and Chris Graham, both of Central Saanich, have said they will run again.

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Peninsula scientist lauded for Arctic research

Scientist Eddy Carmack, an oceanographer and Central Saanich resident, is in Norway… Continue reading

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

Sidney’s Salish Sea aquarium to close for maintenance

First extended closure for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea since it opened in 2009

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Most Read