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We could have hosted the real Bollywood Oscars *after* the provincial election.
Instead, the Liberal government is spending 12 million dollars on a so-called "copycat" award show in Vancouver just six weeks before the May vote.
And the timing may have been a key factor in the government's decision.
The brand new Times of India Film awards take place on April sixth, as opposed to the long standing International Indian Film Academy Awards, or "Eye-fa's", the so-called Bollywood Oscars.
That awards show is held in the summer, after the provincial election on May 14th.
CKNW contributor Bob Mackin spoke to Sabbas Joseph, whose company stages the IIFA's, about BC's failed bid.
Joseph indicates timing was an issue.
"We were doing it post-election. That is the normal schedule of the IIFA's."
While Premier Clark is touting the economic benefits of hosting the awards, she may also hope to personally benefit from colourful photo ops generated by the taxpayer funded awards just six weeks before the provincial election.
The NDP's Tourism and Arts critic is crying foul, saying the Premier is using the Times of India Awards show as nothing more than a re-election gimmick.
Spencer Chandra-Herbert says the motivation is clear in going with a lesser awards show just six days before the election writ is dropped.
"This is doing what Christy thinks is right for herself and her government to get re-elected."
Chandra-Herbert can't believe the government spent taxpayer money negotiating with the 'real' Indian oscars show only to ditch it because it would fall after May's election.
"I don't understand how a government can think they can get away with this kind of crap because we want trade with India but you don't do it just to hope that you can help yourself get re-elected you do it because you want it for the best of British Columbia."
The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills training has issued a statement in response to questions about the Times of India Film Awards.
The ministry says the times group approached the province with the proposal, promising to hold several major events in Vancouver in the build-up to the show, and an audience of 200 million people for the actual broadcast.
The statement also says the BC bid for the actual Bollywood Oscars was not in line with the financial support required by Wizcraft, and that the Times of India proposal was a more favourable deal for taxpayers.
The statement does not address the issue of timing for the spring show versus a post-election Bollywood Oscars.
After issuing the statement Jobs and Tourism minister Pat Bell was on CKNW denying that politics were at work in the government's surprise decision to spend up to 12 million dollars hosting the first ever Times of India awards ceremony in Vancouver just six weeks before the provincial election.
Bell told CKNW's Simi Sara today the Times of India film awards were simply cheaper to secure than the more established International Indian Film Academy awards.
Simi Sara "You're saying it was just money, are you saying definitively that timing was not an issue, that the fact the other words would have been in june or july, that didn't factor into this?"
Pat Bell "No that's correct simi so the financial aspect of our negotiations with wizcraft who holds the IIFA awards did not get a place we were comfortable with, so I had a very specific mandate from treasury board that i was to negotiate to, and we were unable to meet that mandate."
Simi Sara "Okay, so just money."
Pat Bell "That's correct."
Bell says the government is trying to send a message to India that B.C is serious about increasing trade with the country.
Click HERE to see the exclusive copy from the Investigators Bob Mackin, Jr.