The province has introduced a tax credit that will help companies in Nova Scotia develop interactive products like video games and websites. Regulations announced today, Nov. 26, provide specific details on the Nova Scotia Digital Media Tax Credit. “The digital media industry is a creative, growing industry with great potential for our future economy,” said acting Finance Minister Angus MacIsaac. “This tax credit makes us more competitive — it is financial incentive for producers to come to work in Nova Scotia and to hire Nova Scotians.” The credit, originally announced in the budget, is available for interactive digital media products whose primary purpose is to educate, inform or entertain. It is based on 35 per cent of Nova Scotia labour costs or 17.5 per cent of total development costs incurred in Nova Scotia, whichever is less. An additional bonus is available for product development outside Halifax Regional Municipality. Rates of credit and operation of the program are similar to the Film Industry Tax Credit, announced in September. The minister said government intends to increase the credit’s rates to match those of the Film Industry Tax Credit, in the spring. There are several digital media companies in operation in Nova Scotia. Extensive consultation with the industry took place as part of the program design and development of regulations. The credit is effective July 1, 2007. To get the credit, corporations must apply and meet eligibility criteria. Further details can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/finance . Official guidelines and application forms will be available online in January.
I want to update Nova Scotians about the ongoing negotiations with the federal government for a new RCMP policing contract. First, I want to thank all RCMP officers in this province. The RCMP provide quality service to the people of Nova Scotia; our residents, municipalities, and province appreciate their dedication and service. Where are we now? The existing 20-year contract with the RCMP expires March 31, 2012. Nova Scotia, together with most provinces and territories in Canada, is negotiating a new 20-year contract on behalf of most of our municipalities. These discussions have been rocky at times, which is not surprising. RCMP negotiations are historically complex and time-consuming. These current negotiations are no different. What are Nova Scotia’s contract issues? We have concerns around cost containment and accountability. The current contract talks do not cover wage increases, but they do cover almost all other areas of RCMP life. This includes costs of new construction for detachments and housing, costs for recruit training and transfers, costs for dog units, et cetera. There are many parties involved in these discussions, federal, provincial and municipal. There are about 820 RCMP officers in Nova Scotia. Of these, 200 work for the province and provide traffic and specialized crime services. The remaining officers are paid by municipalities. Eleven municipalities in Nova Scotia have their own police forces and HRM uses a municipal force and RCMP officers to police its boundaries. The provinces and municipalities pay 70 per cent of the costs for these officers — more than $100 million this year — and the federal government pays 30 per cent. In exchange, Ottawa gets the benefit of a national police force able to assist with national priorities. An example is the security provided by Nova Scotia’s RCMP officers during the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Municipalities are a key player and so they have a seat as an observer on the provincial bargaining team. In addition, municipalities are updated through a policing committee of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. So what happens next? The provinces and territories, minus Alberta and Saskatchewan, are continuing to negotiate with one voice. To ensure consistency at the negotiating table, the provinces and territories asked B.C. to act as the lead in discussions with Ottawa. Negotiations continue. However, it is also important for Nova Scotians to remember that there will be no immediate change in RCMP service no matter what happens at the negotiating table. The current contract, and any future contract, allows for a two-year transition if the province decides it wants to create a provincial police force. At this time, however, our focus is on negotiating a new 20-year agreement for RCMP services. I remain confident an agreement will be reached with Ottawa. -30-