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It’s a great deal.
You’re walking down the street and someone offers to sell you a brand new Rolex watch.
It looks great. It says Rolex and it’s thousands of dollars cheaper than in a jewelry store.
You buy it and show it off to your friends.
But one of them notices the second hand isn’t sweeping as smoothly as it should. The date isn’t magnified and it’s heavier than other Rolex watches.
It’s a fake.
It still looks beautiful on your wrist, but something is missing. It’s not authentic.
Canadians, and especially residents of Prince Edward Island, can relate to wearing a fake Rolex when they watch the CBC television sitcom “Cavendish.”
The final of eight episodes this season last aired in February.
Given the setting was one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations, the Island should have been a hive of filming and production activity.
It didn’t turn out that way.
Most of the show was filmed in Nova Scotia, with only two days filmed on P.E.I.
To know this, you’d have to read the credits at the end of an episode. Otherwise, you can’t tell.
But now you know, and just as with the fake Rolex, it doesn’t feel right anymore.
While it makes sense to provide support and financial incentives for local productions, there shouldn’t be financial disincentives to shoot out-of-province.
Chuck Thompson, CBC’s head of public affairs, told the Charlottetown Guardian recently that “in a perfect world, we would have done it all in P.E.I.”
We deserve better from the nation’s public broadcaster with its deep pockets full of taxpayers’ money; the same national broadcaster that constantly reminds us of its cultural importance to Canadians.
The show’s production company agreed that the decision to shoot in two locations came down to logistics, but also financial considerations.
Substituting one location for another to save money is nothing new. For example, using the Toronto waterfront to replicate New York City.
But this case comes down to competing provincial programs — the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund and the P.E.I. Media Fund (and the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Tax Credit) — that provide financial incentives to local production companies filming in their own provinces.
Granted, P.E.I. doesn’t have the film industry resources of Nova Scotia. So, looking to a Nova Scotia company to film “Cavendish” does make some sense. But we’re still left with the absurdity of a Nova Scotia company filming a show about a popular P.E.I. community in Nova Scotia.
And, while it makes sense to provide support and financial incentives for local productions, there shouldn’t be financial disincentives to shoot out-of-province.
As the Atlantic provinces continue to find ways to work together and improve the region’s economy, this is an item that should be put on the agenda. There’s no word on whether there will be a second season of “Cavendish.” But if there is, let’s hope there are funding changes in place that benefit both provinces and well as maintain the cultural authenticity that Canadians deserve.