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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers sees 37 per cent increase in tips in 2019

The non-profit takes anonymous tips from the public, brings information to police

Esquimalt, T’Sou-ke nations join more than 50 other members in South Island Prosperity Partnership

Chiefs look forward to creating ‘sustainable future’ for next generations

Almost 150 calls of service for Westshore Towing during snowstorm

Most calls were from Sooke, Metchosin and Highlands

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Most Read