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O Canada! Why We Shouldn't Take You For Granted

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AP
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So I'm in Canada. Vancouver, to be exact. Cold. Brrrrr. Canada is like the quiet brother you love but ignore. Then one day he comes home with a brand new Porsche and a red hot girlfriend. Maybe you should have been paying attention.

Canada has now become a victim of its own success. Its dollar is more valuable than our dollar, and while Canadians are proud of that, they're not happy. Not happy at all, unless they're crossing the border to buy cars or flying to Hawaii.

Today, I'm reporting on the double-whammy the Canadian film and TV production industry is suffering--it's getting more expensive to shoot in Canada, and the writers' strike is drying up U.S. productions.

Some Canadian production companies tell me they've actually lost money. They're paid in U.S. dollars based on contracts signed months ago when the greenback had value. Meantime, their costs are in today's Loonies (that's slang for the Canadian dollar coin.)

Most in the business, though, say this year was ok. Next year--uh oh! The head of Vancouver's largest studio facility says they can't afford a strike any more than U.S. based studios can, and people will lose jobs. The other problem: U.S. productions usually lock in a currency exchange rate ahead of time, the way airlines hedge fuel prices, but no bank right now wants to guess what the Loonie will be worth down the road.

The Vancouver-based producer of "Psych," on the USA Network, is especially worried. "Psych" is supposed to take place in Santa Barbara, but it is actually shot entirely in Canada. Next season, though, he says it might just be cheaper to shoot a show about Santa Barbara...in Santa Barbara.

Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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