Asner Blames Policy for Filmmaking Woes

Monday, August 11th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ORILLIA, Ont. (AP) _ While actor Ed Asner thinks Canada is not to blame for the migration of entertainment jobs to America's northern neighbor, he is concerned about the fallout.

The actor, who as Lou Grant ran one of television's most famous newsrooms, ventured north Saturday to join in a panel discussion on national cultural identity at the 72nd annual Couchiching Conference.

Asner spoke about the changes and challenges facing the filmmaking and television industries _ two industries which in the last 15 years have boomed in Canada, due to federal, provincial and local incentives.

Asner complained about the loss of jobs in the Los Angeles area because of runaway productions, in which American studios and companies do the principal work _ such as filming and photography _ in other countries in order to save money.

Asner blamed the NAFTA trade agreement for much of the downturn in U.S. production because costs are now more attractive elsewhere.

He said corporate greed permeates the American entertainment industry, leaving Americans bereft of work due to the shortsightedness of American tax policy.

``Take it from me, filmmaking is suffering in the U.S. Eighteen films featuring Chicago last year were shot elsewhere. Toronto will all too easily replace Chicago.''