A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Truth in Advertising.

As Susan Delacourt of the Star said this week if you are sick of political advertising now wait until next year and she goes on to highlight a recent blog post by former Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber wherein he says “It is shameful how a supposedly conservative government wastes tax dollars on blatant, self- serving, political advertising.” In his scathing article Mr Rathgeber goes on to point out that the Harper Regime continues to boast of programs that have not passed through the legislative process are are not in fact in place and does so with half truths and outright lies.

It is shameful how a supposedly conservative government wastes tax dollars on blatant, self- serving, political advertising. These recent transgressions are in addition to the $5 Million Veterans Affairs is using to promote the laughable concept of how well Canada treats its veterans. Parliament amazingly voted an additional $21,400,000 Wednesday night for additional government advertising;” (Read the majority Con Regime voted themselves increased advertising budget)
He ends his article with this observation:-

Public funds should not be used to push an agenda that is still before Parliament and/or is a matter of partisan political debate. It undermines democracy when one side has near unlimited taxpayer resources to promote its side and agenda.
As the government’s spin doctors seem to prefer unfair advantage over respect for taxpayers, they are clearly unable to police themselves. Accordingly, Canada desperately needs an arm’s length overseer to ensure that government ads and websites are factual, informative and non-partisan.”
Indeed public funds should not be used for ANY advertising that does not specifically inform the public of program details and where to access them, and that includes spouting internet links to nebulous things like non existent “Economic Action Plans”!
Meanwhile Ms Delacurt has a few suggestions as to what needs to be done to kerb this abuse.
  • Any political party could announce, starting tomorrow, that it will adhere to the voluntary code of Advertising Standards Canada, which takes a dim view of ads that are intended only to knock down rivals. (Not that anything 'voluntary' would have any impact upon Harper and his cronies)
  • Requiring all government ads to be vetted by the auditor-general to make sure that the party in power is not using public resources to push a political message. (As does Ontario)
  • If we are now in a permanent election campaign, (which seems to be the case) then why can’t we have the same advertising rules for both the official and unofficial campaigns? Specifically, why can’t we have the same spending limits on political party advertising in non-election times too?
All these things have merit but until and unless the Harper Regime is tossed from power its all just a wet dream for they will, and have, go in exactly the opposite direction and continue to overwhelm and mislead the voters with millions of dollars of false advertising in order to ge reelected, much of it using taxpayers dollars. You will be able to tell those ads paid for by their 'supporters' by the personal attacks upon the opposition leaders contained in them!

Stephen Harper's government is being called out for spending what the Liberals say is $548 million of taxpayers' money for partisan advertising - just prior to the 2015 election. A long ad campaign about a jobs plan that doesn't exist; feel-good ads about Canada's 150th anniversary - still two full years away; a two-month ad campaign ending this month, showcasing tax breaks that can't be accessed until March or April; and $9 million for ads denouncing Canada's wireless cellphone companies. “

Just how effective are those Ads?
The latest annual study of consumer perceptions of advertising, released in November by Advertising Standards Canada, found that a whopping 80 per cent of Canadians were “uncomfortable” with political ads, with only 19 per cent of respondents giving a favourable impression of how true or accurate they were.

Will that stop the Cons from continuing their practice of inundating the public with false, misleading and self-serving advertising on our dollar (and false, misleading and self-serving attack ads using their partys well stocked coffers) in the upcoming months? Not a chance!

Support Democracy - Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers

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