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Quebec FX workers say budget cuts will threaten local industry

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More than 8,000 workers in Montreal's film post-production industry are sounding alarm bells about what Quebec's last budget will do to the city's status as an international multimedia hub.

They say the changes to tax credits threaten their job security, and hundreds of workers demonstrated in Old Montreal on Saturday to try to force the Legault government to review its policy.

They argue that film productions send their work to where it's cheap, and if Montreal is no longer competitive, the contracts will simply move to other provinces or countries.

In addition, the budget bombshell dropped just as workers were starting to recover from major strikes in the industry last year.

"When the strikes ended, the employment was starting to gain traction again. The projects were starting to get going again," said special effects worker Thai Son Doan. "But because of the Quebec announcement, the Hollywood studios decided that there is uncertainty there, and there budgets are less attractive. Let's just go somewhere else until they figure it out."

For more than 20 years, the city turned into a multimedia hub, as it attracted hollywood studios who relied on the province's highly-trained visual and special effects industries.

These Quebec companies are responsible for special effects for recent franchises such as Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and series like Stranger Things.

In its last budget, Quebec considerably reduced a tax credit that encouraged Hollywood to send their movies to Quebec for post-production.

When announcing the cut, Quebec argued the tax credit had served its purpose by building an industry, but many say the industry cannot sustain itself without the tax credit. 

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