The Conservatives have finally deigned to provide a figure for how much has been spent on advertising the Economic Action Plan. They're claiming it's $42 million, an incredible enough figure given the debt we've gone into over the past year. It's also incredible given the partisan nature of most of this advertising endeavour.
Still, the $42 million is incomplete. The figure doesn't include all those nifty EAP signs across the country. Le Devoir reported in November that the signs cost between $800 - $7,000 apiece. The total cost estimate for the signs therefore ranged between $5 to $45 million (on 6,500 signs). The federal share would be about a third, with the provinces & municipalities, i.e., still we the taxpayers, picking up the rest of the tab. Just to stick a sign in front of the project and advertise, yep, the federal government has been here. Only the feds get their name on the sign.
There was also that recent news, which the government tried to suppress, of the $5 million ad spree during the Olympics alone. Does the $42 million include that amount?
With the ad bonanza we saw in the fall, comparable to what we saw during the Olympics, it just doesn't seem credible that the total figure is $42 million. There was an estimate in the fall of $56 million for the period of January-June last year. So there's likely more to come on this issue. Eventually. Maybe the Auditor General might help us out in the fall when she reports on the EAP.