The federal Conservative government claims it is serious about eliminating wasteful spending, yet it has ramped up the most obvious example: partisan government ads.
Everyone has seen them, and it’s not cheap. Just one of their “Economic Action Plan” television commercials can cost up to $95,000 to air.
In 2012, the government spent over $2.5 million to advertise the Canada Jobs Grant, which was never launched. Spending millions of dollars to advertise a program that doesn’t even exist is like flushing tax dollars down the toilet.
Over time, all this waste adds up: since coming to office, the Harper government has spent over $600 million on advertising; by 2015 they’re projected to have spent nearly $1 billion. That’s an extraordinary amount of money.
Yet some government ads have legitimate goals like promoting public health.
So how do we keep the good and cut the bad?
The federal government should follow Ontario’s model: its ads are screened before they air by a panel setup by the auditor general to prevent partisan waste. That model has proven to be a success.
That’s why I’ve introduced Bill C-544, the Elimination of Partisan Government Advertising Act, modelled on Ontario’s system. It will have the auditor general appoint an independent advertising commission to oversee government spending on advertising and pre-screen all ads.
No member of Parliament can look their constituents in the eye and justify the kind of wasteful commercials taxpayers have paid for under the past eight years of Conservative government.
Please ask your MP to support Bill C-544. We can all do without more ads for programs that don’t exist.
David McGuinty, MP
Liberal Party of Canada