Saturday, March 06, 2010

New ad campaign mocks Conservative austerity message

With Thursday's budget, the Conservatives were determined to send a message of austerity, of belt-tightening. of deficit fighting. But a rash of new Economic Action Plan ads flooding the airwaves mocks this message, and exposes it as a fraud.


Austerity was the message they wanted to send. There was empty symbolism like promising to freeze MP and Senator salaries. There was a freezing of operating budgets. Promises to find efficiencies and cut waste they've apparently been tolerating for nearly four years. And there was a pretty chart of reducing deficits. Read the fine print and you'd see it's all pretty much a sham, with no real plan for deficit reduction to back their rosy projections.

Still, some of the more gullible members of the media swallowed the message uncritically. The most glaring example of this was John Ibbitson. In a Globe column that made me regret actually dropping $1.50 for a print newspaper for the first time in two years, Ibbitson called this the "the most austere, hell-and-high-water, deficit-fighting document since Paul Martin set out to balance his budget in the nineties." And I'm the King of Siam.

The austerity message was patently absurd from the start, as a look inside government operations clearly shows.

  • Stephen Harper has made no move to trim his bloated cabinet, which would generate real savings on salaries and perks. Reducing cabinet to the level Jean Chretien did when he was fighting the deficit would save $3.9 million.
  • Though Harper once boasted he didn't govern according to polls, spending on polling skyrocketed under his government. Just bringing polling spending back to the level it was at when Harper came into office would save $5 million.
  • They're spending 156 per cent more on management consultants than the Liberals did, costing a whopping $355 million.
  • And then there's the incessant, taxpayer funding advertising flooding the airwaves. The Reform-era Conservatives once railed against these ads. But the “Transport and Communications” budget which includes government advertising, as well as travel and communications contracts, has increased by 31.9 per cent under the Conservatives, costing a staggering $820 million. On Economic Action Plan ads alone, the Conservatives dropped $100 million. Yes, $100 million.
And they're not done yet. Watching the Leafs/Sens game tonight on Hockey Night in Canada, during the commercial breaks I was treated to a brand new round of Economic Action Plan ads. Clearly designed as a post-budget ad campaign, the ads tout year two of the stimulus program, and feature shots of the Hurdman Transitway station that bring back memories of my years in Ottawa.

How much will this new ad campaign cost? The Conservatives are still stalling on revealing how much they dropped on ads during the Olympics, when the price for a 30-second ad peaked at a staggering $365,000.

And what purpose will the new ad campaign serve? That there's any purpose at all is highly debatable. Stimulus for the broadcasters, perhaps. But one thing is for sure: it exposes as a laughable fraud the message of Conservative austerity, of serious deficit fighting, of any semblance of belt-tightening. Now when they're flooding the airwaves with ads.

Austerity begins at home. Unless you're a government that wants to use tax dollars to keep its poll numbers up, it seems.

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7 comments:

CanadianSense said...

What is the total dollar figure you are unhapppy with, $ 1 Billion?

The gov't is NOT spending on areas the opposition wants and can defeat them easily. The outcome is an election.

EAP was a two year plan and stimulus was promised to continue until the recovery was clear.

Martin had an ally in Manning to cut spending. The Liberals suggest they won't support the budget by not showing up. How does make the look credible and keeping the gov't accountable?

Ken S from Ramara said...

All this Harper arrogance is do to one single fact, the Left is divided and a divided Left keeps the Conservative in office. Before it's too late the Left has to realize the CPC is our common enemy and co-operation will be required temporarially to bring about the demise of King Stephen! If the leaders of the Left are unwilling then the local EDAs have to push for this compromise!

rockfish said...

Unfortunately, you're adroit points are going to be sucked into a vacuum. The number of media members who remember the idea of principled journalistic ethics add up to the sum total of canadiansenseless' IQ. It's crafty of the CONs, when you think of it. Splurge and expand advertising to obese levels, even while trumpeting the 'austerity' tune like a talented Louis Armstrong protege -- and how hard is the media going to call you on it? Are CTV, Canwest, Global, Black press going to call them on it? Or are they going to cash their cheques, turn their heads and cough when asked? Yah, I didn't think so, either.
However, that kind of manipulative, cynical artwork will eventually by Harper and his cronies downfall. The sooner the better, I hope.

RuralSandi said...

You know what I find disturbing about the media, who are supposedly in the know?

They never mention the difference in the situations.

The NDP and Cons like to say that Chretien/Martin cleared up our financial crisis on the backs of Canadians BUT they never tell the whole story.

When the Liberals took over from Mulroney, we were in a different type of crisis. We were about to lose our credit rating and therefore wouldn't be able to borrow. Without the abitility to borrow the country would have gone under, crashed, sunk.

Harper's not in that position. He came in with a silver tray and banking regulations already in place, the regulations he lobbied against and voted against and is now bragging about.

Our media are a joke.

bubba said...

If the left unites and the NDP have a meaningful sau in the next few budgets what will our defecit be? If the left unite many common sense liberals will be voting CPOC and I think we seen how that went after the attempted overthrow last year. If the two parties campaign on a coalition and win (which I seriously doubt) all the power to them.

marie said...

the left unites and the NDP have a meaningful sau in the next few budgets what will our defecit be? If the left unite many common sense liberals will be voting CPOC and I think we seen how that went after the attempted overthrow last year. If the two parties campaign on a coalition and win (which I seriously doubt) all the power to them.

Wrong Bubba, that's wishful thinking on you and the Harper fraudulent gov. The biggest population of Canadians have woken up and see the PM for what he really is and what he isn't. Hell even a lot of true blue supporters are not happy about this make believe trustworthy, honorable, truthful and honest. Only his paid supporters like yourself agree with him. It really does say a lot about his 30% supporters and its not very pretty and something I would not be bragging about if I were in your shoes. A little common sense would do wonders making friends bubba. But I think you and your friends have been trained to dislike anyone who doesn't agree with you. Senseless is another example of one that has been drinking the propaganda served to you daily in their Kool Aid.

As for voting CPOC, not a chance ever. I would rather vote for the rhinoceros party given the choice.

I might even feel sorry for the lot of you when this country demands to oust your dictatorial control freak out of the country or even puts him behind bars along with his Mp's. His days are numbered and I for one will celebrate when that day happens soon. The PM commander and chief giving orders which amounts to war crimes. BTW, we support our troops every day but we do not support the control Commander and chief who is putting our troops in danger daily especially every day he is the PM. Maybe he had better do another number like with the help of my friends.

The average Canadian has a lot more common sense then you give them credit for. At least those that haven't been brainwashed and brain drained at the same time.

Coalition, is that the same as what Harper tried in 2004 with Layton and Duceppe the sovereign leader he so blatantly hates and please do not attempt to deny this. A little research will take you to the paper trail of this event and if the liberals use his piece of information in their campaign, guess what. More support for them and a whole lot less for the dishonest liar you people so adore.

As for the Media, run and owned by this gov spreading the propaganda, may they fail and go broke. Who needs money for campaigning when they have the Media to do it for them.

That's my rant for the week. Have a great week.

MichaelB said...

Why is the Can. Taxpayers Fed. not jumping up and down about this latest round of ads? They are useless, pointless, and do not convey any information that requires action or response on the part of the people. It is pure promotion and a waste of money. Can the CTF be lobbied into action?