* This post originally appeared on QuietMike.org, republished with permission from the author
As Canada celebrates it’s 146th birthday, I’m thankful to have a break from the corrupt circus that has become our parliament. Unfortunately, even with our government on an extended summer vacation we are constantly reminded that they’re around.
Canada’s Economic Action Plan ads, our government’s propaganda campaign to convince us that everything is A-OK continues to drive everyone in the country crazy and cost a fortune.
They’re everywhere on television, most of all on our news networks. They’re all over the internet, our radio stations, our newspapers and god knows where else. If you are a Canadian, there is no escape.
According to Treasury Board guidelines, taxpayer-funded government ads are supposed to inform citizens about programs and services. Instead the ads are being used to brainwash people into thinking the economy is in top shape, our environment is being protected and other wished-for results.
The Conservative government has been cutting back on spending every which way to Sunday over the last couple years and yet their “marketing” campaign has continued unabated, even increased.
Since 2009 the government has spent $113 million on their Economic Action Plan ads. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau recently asked Prime Minister Harper how heavy ad spending in a time of government cutbacks helps middle-class Canadians.
His answer was nothing short of civic pride: “Canadians understand and are very proud of the fact that Canada’s economy has performed so much better than other developed countries during these challenging times.” Apparently it doesn’t matter how well we’re actually doing so long as we feel good about ourselves.
And how we’re doing isn’t as good as advertised; Canada is no longer the leader of the G7 in growth, that honor now belongs to the United States. Other developed economies have also outpaced Canada since the 2009 recession, including Australia and all the Scandinavian countries.
Part of the reason Canada was able to whether the economic downturn better than most is Canada’s consumer debt being at an all-time high. Our unemployment rate has hovered around 7% for the last year, still 1% above where we started in 2009.
More surprisingly, the number of Canadians who need food banks are also at an all-time high. You have to wonder just who is benefiting from our tip top economy. I’d put money on the oil sand barons more than you or I.
The Action Plan ads aren’t fooling too many people these days, in fact a growing portion of the population are finding themselves annoyed or angered by them (glad I’m not alone). According to four different surveys the majority of respondents took to calling the material “propaganda” and a “waste of money.”
Canadians are ignoring them as well. As of April 2012, only 7% said they did something as a result of viewing one of the ads.
All this begs to question just why the Conservative Government is steadfast in its support and defense of these tiresome, useless ads. The Conservative Party has been polling lower than it has in years, running between second and third place despite the onslaught of advertising to convince us of their bang up job.
So, with the economy stagnating, people fed up of their propaganda and $113 million dollars spent, what is the logical thing to do? Double down of course!
A couple months ago the Conservatives put out a tender for a major new ad agency contract that might see the substance-free economic action plan brand continued until 2016 (even after the next election). Yes sir, three more years of this shit…
Happy Canada Day everyone!