One thing not being promoted in those “Economic Action Plan” ads: the Harper government’s inability to stay within its advertising budget.
In 2010-11, the last full year for which final accounting is available, the Harper cabinet approved $65.4 million in spending, but the government ran up an advertising bill of $83.3 million. A year earlier, at the height of the economic crisis and during an influenza pandemic, the government approved $85.3 million in advertising but spent $136.3 million.
In fact, in every single year since the Conservatives took office, the government has exceeded its posted advertising budget by at least 25 per cent — the smallest overshoot being the extra $16.5 million Ottawa spent in 2008-09. That was also the year the Harper government posted its lowest overall ad spending to date, $79.5 million.