Thursday, November 12, 2009

Taxpayers Billed For Harper Campaign Blitz

This article about a two week extravaganza of taxpayer funded advertising has a lot of elements.

The story of course is that in the time leading up to the Liberal non-confidence motion, the Reform Conservatives spent more than three million dollars on an advertising blitz, suggesting that they had created a wallop of jobs with this so-called action plan, which is turning out to have created about as much action in the economy as a grape in the sun.

$3,111,877.44 from Infrastructure Canada on advertising from Sept. 14 to Sept. 29.

During this time they were also trying to sell a doom and gloom scenario of an election, which they didn't want at the time because they were down in the polls and would soon have to start answering for their bogus stimulus package.

And of course, we saw what happened. The non-confidence motion failed and Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals plummeted in popularity.

The irony is of course that with that plummet the Ref-Cons surged, but they had been so busy selling the public on the errors of an election, that they couldn't call one when they might have their best chance at fooling Canadians into giving them a majority.

This situation would be absolutely hilarious if it wasn't for the fact that Canadians got billed $3,111,877.44 for this little adventure.

The numbers are becoming rather alarming and it's predicted that their advertising on the (in)Action Plan could hit as high as 100 million dollars. And yet the funds didn't get to where they should have and unemployment is still on the rise.

I mean look at some of the projects. 4 million dollars for a library for a private (for profit) religious school. $500,000.00 for an indoor soccer field for another private religious school. Numerous rinks. How will these things help the economy overall?

They are only helping the Reformers unfortunately, as they are helping themselves to our money.


  1. The are few things as funny as having a Liberal critisizing anyone about how they spends government advertising dollars. Thanks for the chuckle, that's a gut-splitting funny way to end my day. Please keep them coming ... :)

  2. Well you know what? Public servants are admitting that they have never seen anything like this before.

    The Harper government has officially set the bar for corruption and future governments will be able to say yes we're corrupt, but we're not as corrupt as the Reform Conservatives.

    That takes a special skill.

    And remember they were the ones who got elected because they were going to clean things up.

    You have to also remember that Michael Ignatieff was never involved in Adscam. He was "just visiting", remember? Brian Mulroney opened the door for the sponsorship scandal and Liberal bureaucrats jumped in with both feet. (no elected officials involved unlike the "In and Out")

    This level of abuse of our tax dollars is brand new and even Brian Mulroney has been vindicated.

  3. "Public servants are admitting that they have never seen anything like this before."

    Hi Emily. I would really like to read a bit more about the public servants who are saying that this government is corrupt, because to be honest, that's not been my impression. Could you please provide me with a few links or references so that I can also read this information first hand?

  4. There are several. One can be found here from back in June.

    From a long time public servant back in June: "I wondered how long it would take for the media to discover that the infrastructure stimulus spending has everything to with patronage, and nothing to do with what is good for the nation. [Deputy Minister Louis] Ranger [whose retirement was announced yesterday] was pushed out of the job and told, “We don’t want your advice” regarding the spending projects. Indeed, the woman who is the ADM in charge of the file has been specifically told by the Minster’s office, “We don’t want your advice; we want you to do as you’re told.”

    Projects are selected based on the needs of the Conservative Member of Parliament in that riding as the first criteria. As a long time bureaucrat, I am used to dealing with politicians who revel in self-interest. Baird however, is the nastiest, most partisan creature to have ever run a large department. What is best for Canada isn’t even remotely of interest to him – what is best for his party and his own political ambitions drives his agenda entirely.

    The Conservative party does not understand the nature of a professional public service. Indeed, they seem to believe we are all minions for Iggy or Jack and none of us are to be trusted. As you can imagine, the morale of senior executives government-wide is depressingly low as we find our political masters to be blindly-partisan, self-interested and ignorant to what is in the best interest of Canada."

  5. "The action plan website has been the subject of considerable controversy over the last few weeks.

    "Critics have slammed it for appearing to be a Conservative propaganda tool rather than a non-partisan information source. The blue motif is similar to that on Conservative party websites and is plastered with photos of Harper, although many of the pictures were removed after The Canadian Press drew attention to the issue.

    "The website is administered by the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic arm of Harper's office. Sources have told The Canadian Press that PCO bureaucrats were reluctant to take charge of the site and have raised concerns about its partisan nature."

  6. Katy O'Mally October 9, 2009

    "First, there was last night’s eyebrow-raising report from Canadian Press, in which “government insiders past and present” spoke out against the Conservatives’ alleged use of taxpayer dollars for partisan purposes. Not surprisingly, not one was willing to go on the record — and really, does anyone out there not agree that in this case, that “fear of reprisal” is entirely justified? — but the concerns that they expressed seem to be remarkably consistent:

    "A partisan government advertising campaign paid for by taxpayers raised alarms from the outset among senior public servants who serve Prime Minister Stephen Harper, The Canadian Press has learned.

    "The Privy Council Office, the non-partisan bureaucratic arm of the Prime Minister’s Office, has never been comfortable administering the website for the Economic Action Plan — and informed Harper of its misgivings at the time of last January’s federal budget.

    "Those misgivings were heard, but overruled.

    "While the story is being denied by both PCO and PMO, the extraordinary claim originates from several sources within the famously discreet Privy Council Office.

    "The fact the story is being aired at all — even under the cloak of anonymity — suggests just how far the Conservatives are stretching the traditional boundaries of partisan behaviour in Canada’s professional bureaucracy. [...]

    "In interviews with past and present government insiders, The Canadian Press was told the Tories are trampling the admittedly grey area between partisanship and policy.

    "More than one career bureaucrat said they’ve never seen anything so blatant as the current use of the office for self-promotion.

    "None would speak on the record, some for fear of reprisals, but many said it is a story that needs to be told.

    “You have a political party that is not constrained by what conventionally would be perceived as overtly partisan actions,” said one former insider.

    “I can tell you every funding program across the government is being politicized,” said another public servant.

    “They do it for their own needs and they don’t do it to help people. Welcome to Stephen Harper’s world.”