Ottawa

Spending to sell yourself while cutting billions

While fighting the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s attempts to review its budget cuts, the Harper government is spending millions to advertise a budget that cuts billions in spending.

While Finance officials are refusing to disclose the budget for the current blitz, contracts listed on the department’s website suggest the saturation ad campaign is costing taxpayers about $14 million. A Treasury Board document shows that cabinet previously approved $16 million in “economic action plan” advertising in the first quarter of this year.

That doesn’t include $5 million approved for a “better jobs” ad campaign, $8 million to sell Canadians on cuts to old age security, and $5 million to promote “responsible resource development” — the slogan given to an environmental assessment system that was cut back and restructured in the last budget. All the measures are promoted on the government’s “economic action plan” web site.