Clark’s Liberals teamed up with Bollywood awards in time for spring election, says columnist

Published: January 28, 2013

MICHAEL SMYTH
VANCOUVER DESI

Times of India Film Awards

A hint of the Bollywood-style entertainment to come was featured at the announcement Jan. 22, 2013, of the Times of India Film Awards, to be held in April in Vancouver, B.C. Nick Procaylo/PNG

When Christy Clark went shopping for a Bollywood film extravaganza, the first glittering bauble that caught her eye was the IIFA Awards, touted by some as the “Oscars of India.”

The International Indian Film Academy negotiated with the government to bring their 2013 awards gala to Vancouver, but the deal never got done.

Why? According to an IIFA official, the government wanted to move up the date of the awards from June to April.

“The reason was very obvious to everybody,” IIFA spokesman Sabbas Joseph told me Monday from Mumbai.

“We were well aware of the political situation in B.C.”

In other words, he said, Clark’s governing Liberals wanted to stage the awards right before the May election.

“That was a key condition for them,” Sabbas said. “We explained the IIFA Awards are always held in June or July, and we couldn’t change that.

“They weren’t happy at all.”

Instead, the government announced last week Vancouver will host the newly created Times of India Film Awards from April 4 to 6 – just a few days before the official start of the election campaign.

The cost to taxpayers? $11 million – at a time when B.C.’s domestic film industry is in the tank and begging for help.

With the Indo-Canadian vote bound to be crucial in several swing ridings in the May 14 election, it seems clear the governing Liberals are using this event for political gain.

With the election looming, Clark and her cabinet ministers will be swanning around for photo-ops with Indian film stars. I’m told the government and the Liberal party have already been swamped with ticket requests.

But Pat Bell, the cabinet minister responsible, insists the government rejected the IIFA awards because the Times of India awards was a better financial deal for taxpayers.

“The breaking point was money,” Bell said Monday. “The timing of the event did not a play a role.”

Bell told me he received regular briefings from his staff during the negotiations with the IIFA. So I asked him if the government insisted on staging the awards before the election.

“There was discussion about a wide variety of dates,” he answered.

But did the government request a pre-election date? And did the IIFA say no?

“I wasn’t part of the direct negotiations, so I can’t comment on that,” Bell replied.

Not good enough for NDP critic Spencer Chandra Herbert.

“The Liberals got caught,” he said.

“When they couldn’t get the more prestigious IIFA awards right before the election, they invented a whole new Bollywood awards show for $11 million of taxpayers’ money.”

But Bell said the Times of India approached the government with the idea. And he said $11 million is a bargain compared to what the IIFA wanted for their awards.

So how much money did the government offer to the IIFA, and how much did IIFA demand?

“It wouldn’t be inappropriate to disclose that,” Bell said.

Joseph, the IIFA official, said the government offered “substantially less” than what it’s now paying to the Times of India. He suggested the government may have deliberately low-balled the offer after the IIFA refused to budge on the date.

“We didn’t want to be part of a political story in British Columbia,” Joseph said.

But a political story it has become – and an expensive one at that for B.C. taxpayers.


Tags: , , ,





Featured

BC-court-statue of justice

Surrey man who sexually and physically abused woman receives six years in prison

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW Warning – extremely graphic content/Discretion advised NEW WESTMINSTER – A Surrey man who cruelly abused a woman over a period of…
Continue Reading »

Surrey BC transport

Surrey LRT plan passes key federal hurdle

ADRIAN MACNAIR SURREY NOW SURREY — A federal agency overseeing public-private infrastructure projects in Canada has given preliminary approval to Surrey’s application to help fund…
Continue Reading »

Jian Ghomeshi

Q producer who alleges Jian Ghomeshi threatened to ‘hate f—‘ her says she complained to boss in 2010

TOM BLACKWELL NATIONAL POST For a 27-year-old journalism-school graduate, it was the perfect job, helping build and produce a brand-new, national show on CBC Radio…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

BC-court-statue of justice

Surrey man who sexually and physically abused woman receives six years in prison

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW Warning – extremely graphic content/Discretion advised NEW WESTMINSTER – A Surrey man who cruelly abused a woman over a period of…
Continue Reading »

Surrey BC transport

Surrey LRT plan passes key federal hurdle

ADRIAN MACNAIR SURREY NOW SURREY — A federal agency overseeing public-private infrastructure projects in Canada has given preliminary approval to Surrey’s application to help fund…
Continue Reading »

Jian Ghomeshi

Q producer who alleges Jian Ghomeshi threatened to ‘hate f—‘ her says she complained to boss in 2010

TOM BLACKWELL NATIONAL POST For a 27-year-old journalism-school graduate, it was the perfect job, helping build and produce a brand-new, national show on CBC Radio…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

health check

Parents of six-year-old girl ‘horrified’ after botched vaccination exposes her to HIV

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI A six-year-old girl is in danger of having contacted HIV after a routine vaccination went awry in Fort St. James earlier…
Continue Reading »

ghost marriage

11 held for digging women’s graves for ‘ghost marriages’

IANS/EFE Beijing – Chinese police have arrested 11 people for allegedly digging up dead women’s bodies from their graves to sell them for rituals known…
Continue Reading »

Jian Ghomeshi

‘Big Ears Teddy’ Twitter account posted Jian Ghomeshi abuse allegations six months ago

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM In less than a week, Jian Ghomeshi has gone from one of the most well-known and beloved CBC personalities to an…
Continue Reading »

ATM-snakes

Bank customer flees after snake found sleeping by ATM machine

CEN AGENCY A bank customer in India fled when he went to use a cashpoint machine and found a four-foot cobra coiled up in front…
Continue Reading »

murder-British-India

Honeymoon murder: Accused husband Shrien Dewani met gay escort three times, court hears

IANS London – An Indian-origin businessman from Britain accused of arranging the murder of his wife in South Africa, met a gay escort three times….
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Super Nani: Wah Rekha, Cina-Ma Zindabad!

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Super Nani”; Cast: Rekha, Sharman Joshi, Randhir Kapoor, Anupam Kher; Directed by Indra Kumar; Rating: *** (3 stars) There is…
Continue Reading »

condom-ads-Durex-sex-booty shake

Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh says ‘I have only been dumped so far’

IANS Mumbai – Actor Ranveer Singh, who has often been chased by link-up rumours, says so far he has not dumped anyone in his life….
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Parineeti Chopra says stop comparing her with cousin Priyanka Chopra

IANS Mumbai – Her cousin Priyanka Chopra is a star. Now, another family member, Mannara, is all set to enter Bollywood with “Zid” and Parineeti…
Continue Reading »