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

Big White firefighters rescue frozen dog from ice

The fire crew found a dog stuck in the at Lake Paul on May 20

Kelowna Blues repeat as touch football champions

The Kelowna Blues won the 39th Annual Maybowl Western Canada Touch Football Tournament

Former Kelowna hockey player dies after battle with ALS

Mitch Wilson was born in Kelowna and was 57 when he died

Toddler sustains serious injuries after falling from Rutland balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment on May 18

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister

An independent report commissioned concluded $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. last year

Trudeau’s action plan on climate change brings B.C. politician out of retirement

Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, is running for federal office in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

Survey finds minimal progress in Canadian military’s fight against sexual misconduct

1.6 per cent of regular-force members — 900 military personnel — reported having been victims of sexual assaults over past year

Okanagan woman hopes to bring attention to high number of medical errors in Canada

Retired nurse requires over 300 signatures for petition with June 13 deadline

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

North Okanagan tests out two $10/day childcare sites

Katrine Conroy came to Vernon to tour universal child care prototype sites, including the one at Maven Lane

Most Read