Stimulus for the mind - Macleans.ca
 

Stimulus for the mind


 

Canadian Press looks into just how much you’re paying to have the use of your tax dollars promoted back to you.

The Conservative government is spending more than five times as many taxpayer dollars on promoting its economic plan as it is on raising public awareness about the flu pandemic…

Television viewers may have noticed the latest feel-good government ads about stimulus spending, including the Conservative-friendly, anti-election pitch: “We can’t stop now,” and “We have to stay on track.”

All the ads direct viewers to a Tory-blue government web site that includes more than 40 different photos of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and refers repeatedly to “the Harper government” – apparently in direct contravention of Treasury Board communications policy.

The TV spots are just the latest $5-million salvo in a $34-million media blitz trumpeting the Conservative’s recession-fighting budget.


 

Stimulus for the mind

  1. Didn't they once complain bitterly about this kind of thing? This is worse that anything they criticized Chretien for.

    This is starting to get scandalous… they should be careful.

  2. Harper was downright indignant about this sort of thing when *it wasn't him doing it*.

  3. Shock…there is fornicating going on in "The House of The Rising Sun"

  4. The most astonishing thing about the ads is their frequency, their appearance in almost the same time slots and channels as their "Just Visiting" ads, and the brazen self-promotion of Harper in the actionplan.gc.ca site. It's almost as if the same web designer worked on that site as well as the Conservative party site.

    It's hard to believe that the AG or Elections Canada won't do some sort of an audit on this expense.

    • And if those venerable institutions will not act, perhaps Duff at Democracy Watch can help out.

  5. The most astonishing thing about this "scandal" is the premise that anyone, anywhere, would still be unaware of the risks of H1N1. At some point, public awareness has been raised sufficiently that further nannying wash-your-hands ads will become mere background noise. On the other hand, isn't promoting economic optimism a virtuous circle?

  6. The most astonishing thing about this "scandal" is the premise that anyone, anywhere, would still be unaware of the risks of H1N1. At some point, public awareness has been raised sufficiently that further nannying wash-your-hands ads will become mere background noise. On the other hand, isn't promoting economic optimism theoretically part of a self-reinforcing virtuous circle?

  7. Sigh.

    If only the feds had to answer to an auditor general for their ads, like they do in Ontario, these ads would never have seen the light of day.

    • Interesting- This was one of the more annoying habits of the Harris neo-con government (well he wasn't a Progressive Conservative was he?). I don't remember though- was it McGuinty's government who put an end to this nonsense or Eves?

      • It was McGuinty. The Eves government was still running self-congratulatory ads for Telehealth(IIRC), filmed with a blue filter and thick Tory-blue bands at the top and bottom of the screen, during the 2003 election. After the election, the ads magically became orange!

        • Yep. In 2004, the new rules came down. Apparently, everything gets looked at ahead of time, before it goes out. Makes you wonder what happens to the ads that never made it.

        • And those, frankly, were not nearly as bad as the Harper ads.

          At least those had some information purpose and value.

  8. I see lots of ads on H1N1…they just happen to come from the provincial government.

    Last time I looked at the BNA act that was their responsibility to deliver. I also seem to rememeber that provinces get upset when the federal government starts talking too much in their areas of repsponsibility.

    I also remember a big sturm and drang in the federal house over the economic action plan…not enough, too much, too slow too fast yada yada.

    Seems to be about right….Of course, if the spending was reversed do you think the complaint would be the same? I think yes is one of the more likely answers.

    Really there are more important things to focus on rather than things that have reasonable explainations.

    • I might be wrong, but since the disease is pandemic in nature it really does fall under the purview of Health Canada no?

      However I think the larger point that's being made in the CP article is that once again we see a Conservative gov't that places partisan gain over good governance.

      I seem to recall hearing about how the Conservatives were gonna get in there and shake things up a little…what ever happened to those idealists?

      • Health canada has a role….and Health Canada doin advertising wouldnt be inconsistent with the role since advertising isnt part of service delivery, per se. But to argue against the point for a moment, all the press conferences talk about PSA's as being part of the first line of defence. If truem then it arguably is part of "service delivery".

        This is all an angels on the head of a pin argument. In Ontario, where I live, the provincial government is putting all kinds of ads on the air..so having federal advertising is unecessary. Its kind of one of those fun facts type of things…call it "empty calories for the mind" seems filling but ultimately doesnt do you any good. But Mr Wherry needs content, so posting a semi interesting CP story probably seemed like a good thing to do.

        On the political side though, you want to tick off the Quebec Government? go ahead and start running lots of federal ads in areas of provincial responsibility…..health, education etc.

        • Vince,

          Advertising at the Provincial level is just good government. It is not contingent on whether the Feds also advertise; the McGuinty government would be advertising about it anyway, because it's the right thing to do…and an ounce of prevention, etc. (i.e. it's cheaper to advertise than it is hospitalize).

          The Federal government should have the same approach, and I hardly think they take a look and say "Oh, the Provinces have got this. We're good." If they do look at this way, it's irresponsible to dump something of Federal jurisdiction (it's a global pandemic, and the strategy for dealing with it is also global) on the Provinces.

          If, on the other hand, they're simply not advertising because of a lack of political will or poor organization, it's ridiculously incompetent.

          • Any communicable disease is a global phenomena as is any health issue, so lets take that off the table right away, that doesnt mean the feds somehow get pre eminence here….Health is a clear provincial responsibility. If the provinces are performing then why should the feds also get in. It makes no sense.

            MArtin and Chretien tread on provincial repsonsibilities to the detriment of the national discourse.

            I dont hear the provinces complaining that the feds arent doing more advertising directly. Nor is the BQ raising this issue either…..Iggy can do at his peril, it will fly like a lead balloon in Quebec…and as I said, in Ontario the provincial government is doing a fine job with their PSA's….Aaron needed content, so its easier to recycle a CP article at 3:00 am rather than actually think about it.

          • Vince: The provinces are asking the Feds to pay for either 90-100% of the vaccines and additional costs associated with this. You argument would have more credibility if the provinces were choosing to pick up a larger % of the tab.

          • I think there are multiple proposals on cost sharing, but cost sharing is happening….it does on the boradest basis anyway as the feds provide money for health…the gap between taxing and delivery repsonsibilities.

            The liberals in the past have used this gap to leverage into a "say", sometimes a really big say. Hey money can talk. You would be hard pressed to find a provincial government that wants to move back to that level of confrontation. You probably would find resistance within the fed bureacracy to that as well.

            Reality is the federal government has cut a relatively low cost deal that generates supply and jobs, for that matter, of vaccine. The provinces are negotiating, thats fine. But the argument at hand is that the criticism that the feds arent spending enough moeny on ADVERTISING on H1N1. And yet they are apaprently spending too much or the EAP….whatever. Get the vaccine done, let the provinces organize the delivery, as they are, and let the provinces do the advertising, which they are.

          • So "paying" for the service is in the Federal jurisdiction…but that's it?

            Sounds like the height of government accountability to me.

          • I didnt write the constitution….this is the one we have.

            The gap between the responsibility for things social and the funding for those things is tension that drives lots of Canadian Politics.

            As for paying, well all it is that the feds have additional taxing power, it isnt their money its yours and mine. So the feds play a redistributive role.

            See this recent column from Chantal Hebert…not endorsing it or dissing it, just find it a good discussion and true "Stimulus for the mind"

            http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/698527

          • To be fair, my centralist bias is definitely showing, and technically speaking, you are right about the constitutional jurisidiction. I'd like to see more standardization across the country – not less – should Newfoundland really deploy H1N1 vaccines separately from New Brunswick? Should Saskatchewan and Alberta really deploy separate advertising (thereby paying double the creative fees)?

    • That's right. See if you can deflect to the H1N1 rather than confront the part that says " in direct contravention of Treasury Board communications policy."

      • Any advertising by government is subject to this charge.

        Wouldnt H1N1 be subject to the same charge, in fact will be as the feds do as some commentators want here and raise their advertising/PSA's.

        So as I said above, there is fornicating going on, by all parties. Prepackaged positions….no thought…highly relevant to Wednesdays "Tolerance at St Lawrence" Coyne vs Wells. Is there a systemic reason why the predictably partisan surface scratching happens.

        Really, ad budgets is what we really give a hoot about?

        • You really don't understand, do you? The problem isn't with the ad spend money, it's that it refers to it as "Harper's party" money, not that of the Canadian government. They've taken advertising that was supposed to be for governmental awareness and changed it into campaign funding.

        • Sorry, here I thought you were just being partisan, but you really don't understand, do you?

          The problem isn't with the ad spend money, it's that it refers to it as "Harper's party" money, not that of the Canadian government. They've taken advertising that was supposed to be for governmental awareness and changed it into campaign funding.

        • Sorry, here I thought you were just being partisan, but you really don't understand, do you?

          The problem isn't with the ad spend money, it's that it refers to it as "Harper's party" money, not that of the Canadian government. They've taken advertising that was supposed to be for governmental awareness and changed it into campaign funding. If there were actually an election going on right now, then quite possibly it would be illegal campaign funding (although it'd probably take lawyers to figure out if campaign spending done with government money before the actual campaign started still counts as campaign spending, even if the adverts run during the campaign)

          • Yawn, criticism made of any government advertising…seriously.

            I totally get it, you are upset the background is blue and not red or orange. I think a better question is why you need any of the advertising in the first place….but that also misses the point. When you spend 50 BILLLION dollars and you argue about 34 million I really think you are seeing blades of grass and not the majestic beauty of the Algonquin Park.

          • Except that it isn't made of any government advertising. Only that advertising which is actually functioning as campaign material rather than educational/informational material.

            That you'd like it to be to fit your world view has no bearing on reality.

          • Don't worry. Vinny will be arguing next month that the gov't's ads on H1N1, which will likely say "You've got the sniffles and Stephen Harper's government has the kleenex and bodybags you'll need to withstand this pandemic — so now's not the time for change!" are good examples of public information…

          • Well now you are in to the realm of opinion…..and I wont dispute your thoughts that it is campaign material….as I said above, a crticism that is made of ANY government advertising.

            But if you want to split hairs of .07% of the money thats your priority to set.

    • Natives are a federal jurisdiction.

      The territories are federal jurisdiction.

      Pandemics across provincial borders are federal jurisdiction.

      Your pandering excuses for this gross violation of taxpayer trust and taxes is astonishing.

      • see focus on .07% comment above in relation to GROSS

        And yes you are correct that the first two have federal jurisdiction. and I have said that the Health Canada has a role. The point of the thread was comparing the the amount of expenditures on advertising and trying a make a point that doesnt exist. However, my version of the BNA act is missing a pandemic reference, you must have a different version.

  9. And still, large swaths of the population think government spends money more efficiently than the individuals from whom they take the money.

    Go figure.

    • I think the government spends money more wisely than the corporations I would otherwise have to pay for the public services the government provides.

      • Corporations are motivated to use money efficiently; if they waste it then either their profits go down, their prices go up, or their product/service deteriorates. In all three cases they lose either customers or profit per customer.

        Government's motivation is votes. It doesn't matter how much money they waste as long as people don't see it. Since no one pays directly for the service provided, it's easy to hide the inefficiency. Not only is there no motivation to use money wisely, there is direct incentive to misuse it for political purposes as reported here.

      • Corporations are motivated to use money efficiently; if they waste it then either their profits go down, their prices go up, or their product/service deteriorates. In all three cases they lose either customers or profit per customer.

        Government's motivation is votes. It doesn't matter how much money they waste as long as people don't see it. Since no one pays the direct price for the service provided, it's easy to hide the inefficiency. Not only is there no motivation to use money wisely, there is direct incentive to misuse it for political purposes as reported here.

      • As to public services, the argument for government provision is that they are inherently unprofitable. For example, the post office must service every town in Canada. This is unprofitable, but we accept the inefficiency because of the common good. That's fine for many things, but not for services where efficiency is the dominant consideration.

      • As to public services, the argument for government provision is that they are inherently unprofitable. For example, the post office must service every town in Canada. This is unprofitable, but we accept the inefficiency because of the common good. That's fine for many things but not for services where efficiency is the dominant consideration.

      • As to public services, the argument for government provision is that they are inherently unprofitable. For example, the post office must service every town in Canada. This is unprofitable, but we accept the inefficiency because of the common good. That's fine for many things but not for services where efficiency is the dominant consideration.

        Stimulus spending falls into the latter category.

        • Yeah, because filling pot-holes and shoring up old infrastructure is so profitable for private enterprise.

          The reason we're having to do this is as stimulus spending is because there's not enough private funding/investment desire to do these things already. So what do you want to do? Legislate that corporations must take this on, and then let them fight it out?

          Saying "government isn't efficient" does not change the fact that private enterprise is either lacking the interest or the ability to do this stuff. Non-efficient implementation vs non-implementation wins.

          • Filling pot-holes and shoring up old infrastructure is profitable for private enterprise, at a price. Offer a competitive price on a large enough project and it will be done, and done well. The money goes into the pockets of citizens who then spend it and pay some in income tax. Good all round.

            Having the government act as middle man doesn't change the fact that someone will end up doing the work at a price they like. All it does is add the cost of political posturing and remove the benefit of a profit-driven entity directing the cash-flow. Terrific.

          • Ok, so there's a pothole on my street. You deride gov't as an inefficient "middle man", so who exactly contracts and pays a private business to fill the pothole? Me? My neighbourhood association? Some generous rich person?

            Please explain how this works in the absence of government.

            Also, you jump to the conclusion that government is inherently inefficient. Aside from anecdotal evidence, do you have any data to back that up? In my experience, government agencies to wield massive purchasing power to generate efficiencies for taxpayers they would never enjoy alone.

          • As to potholes, think Highway 407. It's the best maintained highway in Ontario. That is because the company that runs it wants people to use their product. The province, which runs all the other highways, just wants people to not get too upset. Degradation in quality can be offset by political stunts, both of which are paid for by the public. Since, however, the public does not pay these directly for highway use we generally don't correlate the amount we pay with the result we get.

            As to government vs. private enterprise, the best case study is any state-controlled nation. Take the USSR or pre-capitalist China vs. any capitalist society of the same period. Government-run projects result in people with no incentive to get things right directing projects they know nothing about. The same is true on a smaller scale of government-run projects here.

          • Think Highway 407. It's the best-maintained highway in Ontario. That is because the company that runs it wants people to use their product. The province, which runs all the other highways, just wants people to not get too upset. Degradation in quality can be offset by political stunts, both of which are paid for by the public. Since, however, the public does not pay these directly for highway use we generally don't correlate the amount we pay with the result we get.

            As to government vs. private enterprise, the best case study is any state-controlled nation. Take the USSR or pre-capitalist China vs. any capitalist society of the same period. Government-run projects result in people with no incentive to get things right directing projects they know nothing about. The same is true on a smaller scale of government-run projects here.

          • Think Highway 407. It's the best maintained highway in Ontario. That is because the company that runs it wants people to use their product. The province, which runs all the other highways, just wants people to not get too upset. Degradation in quality can be offset by political stunts, both of which are paid for by the public. Since, however, the public does not pay these directly for highway use we generally don't correlate the amount we pay with the result we get.

            As to government vs. private enterprise, the best case study is any state-controlled nation. Take the USSR or pre-capitalist China vs. any capitalist society of the same period. Government-run projects result in people with no incentive to get things right directing projects they know nothing about. The same is true on a smaller scale of government-run projects here.

          • Think Highway 407. It's the best-maintained highway in Ontario. That is because the company that runs it wants people to use their product. The province, which runs all the other highways, just wants people to not get too upset. Degradation in quality can be offset by political stunts, both of which are paid for by the public. Since, however, the public does not pay directly for provincial highway use we generally don't correlate the amount we pay with the result we get.

            As to government vs. private enterprise, the best case study is any state-controlled nation. Take the USSR or pre-capitalist China vs. any capitalist society of the same period. Government-run projects result in people with no incentive to get things right directing projects they know nothing about. The same is true on a smaller scale of government-run projects here.

          • I said *my* street. We've never met, but you could guess that my driveway doesn't connect to the 407. Are you proposing toll booths on every residential street? I see what you're trying to say, but the role of government is unavoidable in things like this, and there's no reason to try and avoid it.

            Government vs private enterprise – what about the collapse of Wall Street a year ago? What about Love Canal? The Exxon Valdez? General Motors? Enron? I could call that out and argue that private industry always pursues short-term gains and destroys itself over a period of time, but that would make no more sense than your "USSR therefore government is always bad" argument. Completely irrelevant since they didn't use our system of government.

            Again: do you have any actual data to back up your assertion that government is necessarily less efficient that private enterprise? Have you ever tried to sell to any level of government? The rigor they apply (and I'm talking about numerous agencies at the federal, provincial and municipal levels) is easily comparable to that of a chartered bank. There are failures of corporate governance (E-health, for example) but there's nothing to say a government agency is necessarily poorly-run or inefficient.

    • Exactly, the last thing we need is a bigger government with bigger taxes.

      • Tell it to Harper.

        No one has grown government this big – Harper not only broke spending records before the recession, but he added more employees onto the payroll than ever before – AND he's increased taxes and plans to increases taxes some more, including a crushing tax burden on small businesses and a carbon tax.

    • I'm sure it feels good to say something like that, but it's completely nonsensical.

      Just how could I "efficiently" spend my own money to raise awareness of a potential pandemic? This can only be done by a government. You're comparing apples and oranges.

  10. And as with all other things the Harper government tries to frame right now as reasons to not have an election (i.e. economic recovery underway, tax measures advertised but not actually implemented, and now a sorely wanting strategy for dealing with H1N1) the government's incompetence and inability to act swiftly and definitively in dealing with these problems is no reason to avoid an election; it is, in fact, the precise reason we ought to be going to the polls.

  11. I heard a radio ad yesterday starring the voice of Dr Butler Jones. He tells us to wash our hands, and cough into our sleeves.

    It reminds me of the drills that taught kids to put their head between their knees in the case of a bomb attack during the cold war.

    A $34 million ad blitz. That doesn't help us at all, but payed for with our dwindling money supply.

    So, what are we going to do about it?

  12. Economic Action Plan? Superhero Sexy

    H1N1: Social responsibility – not very sexy

    That's Easy enough to understand, but difficult to swallow, is it not?

    • What! You mean Lisa Raitt is making the decisions now?

      • Not until they get Canada's Economic Action Plan bodybags…

  13. I don't care so much about the low H1N1 spending because I'm not sure what difference that will make. But if this comparison was a convenient excuse to bring up the other ads, fine. Because the economic action plan ads struck me as disgustingly self-serving and partisan, reaffirming yet again my decision last winter to shift my vote to something other than the Conservative Party.

  14. Now this article is why I read Macleans

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/17/virus-hunter-b

    The money quote…..

    Q: You've battled SARS in Toronto, Ebola in Uganda. What impact did that have on you?

    A: Probably the first is that there's an element of fear around infectious diseases, particularly with an outbreak. Battling that fear is just as important as curing the infection. ……

    So question…..who is battling fear, and who is using it?

  15. Does anyone have any data on the frequency of these ads since they first ran? To me, that would be more of an issue – they look a little partisan, fine. But if they ran them early and then stopped and then started again – that seems questionable.

  16. Aaron, you should link to that Hill Times article everyone's talking about this morning:

    Ignatieff has 'put absolutely nothing on the table,' say Liberal insiders
    http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display

    Warren Kinsella's response:
    Hi, I'm Warren. I'm not nice. I intend to find out who you are, little Hill Times source weasel, and I intend to take a chainsaw to your political ambitions, however modest they may be."

    Drama!

  17. Aaron, you should link to that Hill Times article everyone's talking about this morning:

    Ignatieff has 'put absolutely nothing on the table,' say Liberal insiders
    <a href="http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display…” target=”_blank”>http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/index.php?display

    Warren Kinsella's response:
    "Hi, I'm Warren. I'm not nice. I intend to find out who you are, little Hill Times source weasel, and I intend to take a chainsaw to your political ambitions, however modest they may be."

    Drama!

    • Its a good article, but I thought for other reasosn. It was the first article that started to get at reconcilling the differences between Ipsos and the others.

      ""The Ipsos Reid polls released last week and the week before that surprised a lot of political observers as both showed a nine-point and 11-point lead for Mr. Harper, respectively. Other polls released almost at the same time were showing three- or four-point differences between the Conservatives and the Liberals.

      When asked to explain the reason for this discrepancy, Mr. Wright explained that they were polling over three nights while other companies polled over 10 days or two weeks. This meant that others would have a polling sample of 2,000, which would even out at the end. In the end, Mr. Wright said, there isn't "much of a statistical difference" between polling, but rather it shows a trend that the Conservatives are moving up, while the Liberals are holding steady or declinging. "That I think is the bigger thing to look at, not the one or two point difference that there might be."

    • I can't link to the article – but is a Liberal insider a riding president from Squamish or a senior Ignatieff advisor?

      Strategically speaking, it does not make sense for Igantieff to give away his hand before an election campaign actually begins (particularly to so-called insiders who are happy to leak to the media).

      Maybe he has nothing in it; you might be right.

      But you have been often beating up on Ignatieff for not offering a clear strategy – but why would he? In the last election Dion did and Harper didn't (until the last minute). It was crushing for Dion and clearly a good strategy for Harper.

      • You misread the lesson, I think. The government has a record, so less need to offer new, although there was some. It wasnt that Dion offered policy, it was that he offered a high risk high reward complex policy in the election. Combine that with an apparent inability to explain and the oither issues the Liberals had and you get what happened to them.

        If the Liberasl thought they had an election imminent, fine, hold back till it happens, but that pause will only last for awhile. Eventually yoour policies will have to be in place, if only to ensure that your criticisms of the government dont come back and bite your own policy book. Whether iggy makes a policy statement or not, his criticisms will outline his policies by default….or he risks looking inconsistent when he actually pronounces.

        I hoinestly think the Liberals are still getting their policy framework aligned. they havent had the time.

    • Re Warren

      "…I intend to take a chainsaw to your political ambitions, however modest they may be."

      Wow, good thing for that source that Warren is ONLY a volunteer and not really Iggy's staff. That would be serious.

    • Was that really his response? You're humorously paraphrasing, no?

        • Thanks. That is something else. Dude.

        • Thanks. Dude.

        • Thanks. Dude. Looks like all pretense is finally being dropped.

        • I have stopped visiting his website after his Wafergate stories. It was a low point for many reasons. This is not the first time someone has tried to divide Canadians around their religious beliefs.

          The pattern keeps repeating itself unfortunately for him.

    • Was that really his response? You're paraphrasing, right?

    • Was that really his response? You're humorously paraphrasing, right?

  18. I agree with your comment on Dion – the policy itself was part of the problem. You are also probably right about the Liberals. But if I was Michael I – I would not release the bulk of my platform until election day minus 3 weeks. Helps you define the coverage in the days leading up to the vote. The risks you cite are certainly valid though.

  19. Besides which, most of the construction and infrastructure projects Harper is taking credit for in his ads are within provincial jurisdiction.

    • Re the Economic money and provicial jurisdiction. You are correct some of the money that the Feds have went to projects the provinces applied for and the feds approved. Now, the EAP is clearly a short term measure with strings attached to them…all over and above normal operating money, and no one is forced to take it…clear fed program. I am sure some might even be heakth related, ie hospital construction etc.

      But that is different than a clear provincial responsibility for health, which flu vacinations are….and they are always cross border and flu always kills someone every year….this happens to be a particularly more lethal strain. So the argument about responsibilities still holds, as it should, divisions of powers doesnt get tossed out the window for something like this.

      The cheap political shots that count for criticism on this issue are demoralizing. There are legitimate criticisms to be made…this just isnt one of them. And maybe, just maybe some will start to think a little deeper about the difference between constructive criticism and traficking in fear, the opposition comes awful close to the latter.

  20. The most astonishing thing about this "scandal" is the premise that anyone, anywhere, would still be unaware of the risks of H1N1. At some point – thanks in no small part to media fearmongering – public awareness has been raised sufficiently that further nannying wash-your-hands ads will become mere background noise. On the other hand, isn't promoting economic optimism theoretically part of a self-reinforcing virtuous circle?

    • Risks of H1N1? Sure. What to do about it? What are the symptoms and how are they differ from other types of flu?

      Instead, selling Canadians on stuff that doesn't need selling? With my taxpayer dollars? And telling me that it is at risk if there is an election???? And suddenly bombarding us with $34 million worth of ads, when there are already signs of confidence in the economy? When he's already told us that 80% of the stimulus is out the door?

      You could make the same claim you make that the premise anyone, anywhere, would still be unaware of how many billions and billions of our dollars the Conservatives have spent on the infrastructure and stimulus underscores how these ads have nothing to do with consumer confidence.

      These are campaign ads at taxpayer expense. Period.

      The contrast with care and attention to the H1N1 plague is stark, poignant and very revealing about what are Conservative priorities. Cons

      • That's exactly right.

        One of the adverts even says we have to "stay the course"; as blatant a campaign message against a possible election as anyone could have imagined.

        Harper wants to cancel the direct ax payer subsidy for parties for his own advantage, because he clearly behaves like he already has another one at his use.

        • That "stay the course" portion of the ad was NOT in the ads running this summer. It was added this fall, AFTER Ignatieff said he won't support the government.

          • Add to the pile those dozens of hyper-partisan 10-percenters that continue to hit my mailbox and you've got an incredible amount of unnecessary waste from this government, all in the name of 'upselling'… Just another messy example of hypocrites in action. Just watch their bots defend it, as though they thought nothing was wrong when the Chretien Liberals did 20% of it…

    • Deflecting shields at full, I see. To such a point you'd rather criticize the average Canadian who might be unaware rather than the party going directly against policy.

    • avr – an honest question from me:

      In your opinion, do you think that "public awareness has been raised sufficiently" that additional advertising on Canada's economic action plan is just "background noise?"