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

prv0122Nfashion01

Passion for fashion turned into day job for Surrey clothing designer

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Surrey’s Davi Bains-Gill never thought her love for fashion and design could be her livelihood. She pursued a career in social…
Continue Reading »

five hole main

Donated equipment from Vancouver on its way to hockey-mad northern India

KENT SPENCER VANCOUVER DESI The neat thing about a Canadian effort to donate hockey equipment to the Himalayas is that there is a lot of…
Continue Reading »

DEVGAN

Hindi superstar Ajay Devgan to shoot parts of Bollywood blockbuster in Alberta

ERIC VOLMERS CALGARY HERALD A highly anticipated Bollywood film will be using the snowy mountains of Alberta as a backdrop for a three-month shoot. Shivay, scheduled to begin shooting…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

prv0122Nfashion01

Passion for fashion turned into day job for Surrey clothing designer

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Surrey’s Davi Bains-Gill never thought her love for fashion and design could be her livelihood. She pursued a career in social…
Continue Reading »

NHL announces that World Cup of Hockey will return next year in Toronto

By Stephen Whyno THE CANADIAN PRESS COLUMBUS, Ohio — The World Cup of Hockey is back with a new format as the NHL seeks to…
Continue Reading »

NHL announces that World Cup of Hockey will return next year in Toronto

By Stephen Whyno THE CANADIAN PRESS COLUMBUS, Ohio — The World Cup of Hockey is back with a new format as the NHL seeks to…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

shiamak

Bollywood dance guru Shiamak Davar gets Canadian dignitaries grooving with a dance lesson

VANCOUVER DESI A number of Canadian dignitaries got their very own personal dance lesson from the guru of Bollywood dance himself, Shiamak Davar, while attending…
Continue Reading »

FILE PHOTO: A nine-year-old Palestinian girl  suffering from scoliosis sits as her mother shows her back x-ray as she is treated by U.S. pediatric orthopedic surgeon Hugh Watts (L) February 18, 2004 at Al-Quds hospital, in Gaza City. Abid Katib/Getty Images

Seven-year-old Scoliosis patient in Western India cured by revolutionary surgery

IANS Mumbai  – A seven-year-old girl in Mumbai suffering from Scoliosis is the first in Western India to successfully undergo a new and revolutionary procedure…
Continue Reading »

Rashida Samji

Former Vancouver notary public fined $33 million for fraud related to multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme

JAMES KELLER THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER — A former notary in Vancouver who allegedly spent almost a decade collecting at least $100 million from investors…
Continue Reading »

South Asian senior woman gets PR

After years of lobbying, 84-year-old South Asian woman secure in Canada

JEFF BELL TIMES COLONIST VANCOUVER ISLAND — Surjit Bhandal, the 84-year-old Saanich woman whose family successfully fought for her to be able to stay in Canada, has…
Continue Reading »

desi dance

Theatre school project still resonates 11 years later for Port Moody’s Anita Majumdar

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Port Moody’s Anita Majumdar had no idea her final theatre school project more than 10 years ago would end up defining…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Indian Bollywood film actress Jacqueline Fernandez poses during the launch of Scholl's latest innovation in foot care in Mumbai on January 22, 2015. AFP PHOTOSTR/AFP/Getty Images

Do you want to travel to Dubai with Jacqueline Fernandez?

DIBYOJYOTI BAKSI HINDUSTAN TIMES Several actors nowadays are known to take an active interest in the promotion strategies of their films. Another actor, who has…
Continue Reading »

DEVGAN

Hindi superstar Ajay Devgan to shoot parts of Bollywood blockbuster in Alberta

ERIC VOLMERS CALGARY HERALD A highly anticipated Bollywood film will be using the snowy mountains of Alberta as a backdrop for a three-month shoot. Shivay, scheduled to begin shooting…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar is pictured here in a still from his latest espionage thriller, Baby. The movie has been banned in Pakistan. HANDOUT.

Akshay Kumar’s latest film Baby banned in Pakistan

HINDUSTAN TIMES Akshay Kumar’s espionage thriller Baby, which centres around an Indian spy’s mission to capture a terrorist from a West Asian nation, has been…
Continue Reading »