B.C. Premier Christy Clark hoping for Bollywood ending come election time, says columnist

Published: January 24, 2013

MICHAEL SMYTH
VANCOUVER DESI

Christy Clark

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark holds up a Times of India Film Awards trophy during a press conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday January 22, 2013, announcing the event will be held in the city in April. Darryl Dyck/CP

The original idea to bring a Bollywood film extravaganza to Vancouver likely occurred to Premier Christy Clark in June 2011, when she was in Toronto for a speech.

Clark stayed at the ritzy Royal York Hotel — the same hotel where a number of Bollywood movie stars were embedded for the International Indian Film Academy Awards event.

The hotel was crawling with Indian film stars, producers, media and various hangers-on. Limos lined the curb outside, where fans and paparazzi clamoured for a glimpse of the Bollywood glitterati.

Clark was intrigued to learn the event was bankrolled to the tune of $12 million by the Ontario government, then in pre-election mode.

I’m certain Clark became even more intrigued after Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals managed to defy the pundits and pollsters and win re-election in Ontario that fall.

The moral of the story: If you think the Bollywood film awards now winging their way to Vancouver are all about cultural exchange and tourism marketing, then I’ve got a bridge in Mumbai I’d like to sell you.

This is about politics.

During that Toronto trip, Clark got a first-hand look at the excitement generated by the Bollywood movie industry within the politically dynamic Indo-Canadian community.

McGuinty and his cabinet ministers played starring roles at the various galas and events surrounding the Toronto festival. Now watch for Clark and her B.C. Liberals to soak up the limelight here, too.

The Indo-Canadian vote will be crucial in the May election in several closely contested ridings, especially in Surrey, where Clark’s Liberals will be in tooth-and-nail battles with the NDP.

The Indo-Canadian vote is also important in several Fraser Valley ridings, where the Liberals now are in unexpected trouble.

So bring on the Bollywood star power.

“A lot of callers to my show are saying it’s nothing but a political gimmick,” talk-show host Gurpreet Singh, of Surrey-based Radio India, told me Wednesday.

“I don’t think it will mean much for decided voters. But people love Bollywood stars. When they see Christy Clark with these stars, maybe it will make a difference with some undecideds.”

The event, which will cost B.C. taxpayers $11 million, is clearly designed to extract the most positive political impact in the community at the most opportune time: Three days of hype and hoopla, just a month before the election.

Unfortunately for Clark, it comes at the same time British Columbia’s own domestic film industry is taking a beating and pleading with the government for help. Thousands of industry workers rallied in support of their cause Tuesday night in North Vancouver.

But Clark — a master of political mistiming — has rejected the local industry’s requests for juicier tax credits, creating the impression she’s lavishing money on foreign filmmakers while our own domestic sector gets the shaft.

NDP leader Adrian Dix seized on the contradiction Wednesday and jetted off to L.A. for two days of meetings with film executives, while accusing the Liberals of abandoning the B.C. industry.

I have a feeling Clark may have to climb down — again — and sweeten the pot for the B.C. film sector. In the meantime, the Bollywood show must go on, as Clark soaks up every star-powered photo-op, and vote, she can find.


Times of India Film Awards press conference


Picture 1 of 13

Indian actress Chitrangada Singh holds a trophy during an event in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, announcing that The Times of India Film Awards will be held in the city in April. Darryl Dyck/CP


Tags: , ,





Featured

varsha

Ontario teen fighting superbugs with an assist from Indian home cooking

TOM SPEARS OTTAWA CITIZEN Like a lot of great discoveries, Varsha Jayasankar’s foray into how to kill superbugs with an extract from Indian food started…
Continue Reading »

File photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Low caste teen in India burnt alive after goats stray into neighbours’ field

CEN AGENCY A poor goat herder was burnt to death after greedy land owners doused him in petrol and set him ablaze because his goats…
Continue Reading »

Police are investigated a suspected murder in Surrey, B.C.

Police investigating suspected homicide in Surrey

SURREY NOW Police say an autopsy will be required to determine how Surrey’s 14th homicide of 2014 died. The body of the victim, a man…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

B.C.’s LNG emissions’ law greenest, cleanest in the world: environment minister

By Dirk Meissner THE CANADIAN PRESS VICTORIA – New legislation introduced in British Columbia requires liquefied-natural-gas plants to meet emission standards or face penalties and…
Continue Reading »

N.B.’s new premier to oilpatch: support for Energy East has not wavered

By Lauren Krugel THE CANADIAN PRESS CALGARY – New Brunswick’s new premier said Monday he’s looking to assure Alberta’s oilpatch that even though the government…
Continue Reading »

varsha

Ontario teen fighting superbugs with an assist from Indian home cooking

TOM SPEARS OTTAWA CITIZEN Like a lot of great discoveries, Varsha Jayasankar’s foray into how to kill superbugs with an extract from Indian food started…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver-BC-surrey

Most South Asians and Chinese in B.C. have faced discrimination based on ethnicity

A quarter reported experiencing moderate or significant amounts of discrimination DOUGLAS TODD VANCOUVER DESI  Stereotyping. Verbal harassment. Poor customer service. Workplace unfairness. Exclusion from dating….
Continue Reading »

MINOR ATACKED

False confession leads police to arrest new suspect in sexual assault of 9-year-old Surrey girl

FRANK LUBA VANCOUVER DESI A man who confessed to the sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl in Surrey has been released and a 28-year-old man…
Continue Reading »

Dilwali Fest

Diwali Fest kicks off with IndiGlam fashion-fusion show (w/ video)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI It was a classic mother-daughter argument that propelled Surrey’s Raji Khaira into a career of fashion design. Khaira, 25, grew up…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver Desi

Canada Place caught the eye of man who builds models in chalk (w/gallery)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Jagdeep Singh Bihal moved to Vancouver from India two years ago and did some sightseeing around the city,  it was…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-VANCOUVER-MUMBAI

Diwali organizer inspired by memories of Mumbai revelry

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver’s Rohit Chokhani can still recall his childhood in Mumbai when Indian streets would light up with fireworks and life would…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Desi boobs Sonakshi SInha

Sonakshi Sinha enjoyed Tamil film debut with Lingaa

IANS Chennai  – Actress Sonakshi Sinha, who is making her Tamil debut opposite superstar Rajinikanth in upcoming Tamil actioner Lingaa, says she thoroughly enjoyed working…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Irrfan Khan to head Abu Dhabi film fest jury

IANS New Delhi  – Acclaimed actor Irrfan Khan will preside over the Narrative Feature Competition Jury at the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF). The…
Continue Reading »

Rekha

Rekha’s TV presence has left tremendous impact: Indra Kumar

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS Mumbai  – Veteran actress Rekha, who has kept her distance from the small screen, has duly followed the current tradition of…
Continue Reading »