Mar 11, 2013 / 4:25 pm
The Harper government spent $21 million on major advertising campaigns under its Economic Action Plan brand in 2011-12, according to the latest annual report on ad spending.
Ottawa shelled out $78.5 million in the last fiscal year telling Canadians about everything from the switch to digital TV and the War of 1812, to elder abuse and anti-drug messaging.
"The central theme remained the promotion of key initiatives, programs and benefits available to Canadians through Canada's Economic Action Plan," says the introduction to the Public Works report.
The Finance Department spent $7.2 million on two major action plan ad campaigns, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada spent just over $7 million on two campaigns and the Canada Revenue Agency spent $6.7 million on a single campaign.
Canada's Economic Action Plan was coined for the January 2009 stimulus budget during a global recession, but it has been maintained by the Conservatives as an all-purpose brand for feel-good government measures.
Everything from boutique tax credits that predate the 2008 economic crash to First Nations announcements have been promoted under the action plan logo.
Despite government polling that suggests diminishing returns, the Economic Action Plan continues to be heavily promoted with ads currently being aired by Finance, the tax-collecting CRA, Natural Resources Canada and HRSDC.
Liberal finance critic Scott Brison called it "stomach-turning to see the Conservatives waste this much money on self-promoting ads while they're cutting front line services for Canadians."
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