Monday, September 21, 2009

Ethically wrong "contempt for the public"

Ignatieff today:
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says it's wrong that the Conservative government is spending much more taxpayer's money on promoting its own economic action plan than on its plans to fight the H1N1 flu.
Ignatieff's comments come in response to reports that the federal government is spending five times as many taxpayer dollars on the economic plan as it is on raising public awareness about the flu pandemic.
Ignatieff says "at a time when we're worried about H1N1, Canadian taxpayers' money should be spent on public health information, not paid advertising for the Conservative party."
He says it's "wastefulness" and "contempt for the public."
Government ads about stimulus spending have been appearing on TV recently - part of a $34-million media blitz trumpeting the Conservatives' recession-fighting budget.
Ignatieff - who answered reporters' questions after speaking to the Toronto Board of Trade today - says it all helps to explain why his party "can't continue to support" the Conservatives.
A reminder:
The Communications Policy of the Government of Canada includes this item, section 23 dealing with advertising:
Institutions must not use public funds to purchase advertising in support of a political party.
Action plan ads that incorporate the Conservatives' "stay the course" plea are quite arguably in breach of government communications policy. While the ads do not overtly support a political party, let's not kid ourselves, in their substance that's exactly what they are meant to accomplish.
It is above my political pay grade (metaphorically speaking of course, independent citizen here) but this issue may warrant official action of some sort. Perhaps in the form of an official complaint to one of the appropriate officers of parliament. Here. Or here.