“It sit down with the minister of community and social services and try to get residential care for a young adult who has multiple disabilities and I’m told there isn’t enough money,” Klees.
TORONTO - How much did your scandal-plagued provincial government spend on advertising over the past three months?
By Christina Blizzard ,QMI Agency, Sun April 02, 2014
All told, it’s $33.5 million.
They spent $10.1 million a month to tell you to buy your veggies from Foodland Ontario, get your flu shot — or to ask if you can pay your gym membership on a monthly basis.
And how about those happy slappy ads telling you how great full-day kindergarten is for your kids?
What they’re really doing is reminding voters the Liberal government is continuing to fund a babysitting program we can’t afford.
In his 2012 report advising the government on how to pull out of the economic tailspin they’ve got us into, economist Don Drummond told the government to slow down implementation of full-day kindergarten — or scrap it entirely. They did neither.
Instead, they cranked it up by advertising it so there’ll be a greater uptake.
Thanks for that.
They spent $21.2 million on advertising for agencies such as Metrolinx and another $12.3 million to promote ministries.
Tory critic Frank Klees is outraged. He gets phone calls from constituents who need services the government of Kathleen Wynne says we can’t afford.
“It sit down with the minister of community and social services and try to get residential care for a young adult who has multiple disabilities and I’m told there isn’t enough money,” Klees told me Wednesday.
“Yet we have $33 million being wasted by government to make people feel good about this province,” he said.
The ads include those expensive TV commercials telling us how Metrolinx is building a rail link to the airport.
Klees recently had a call from someone angry about an ad he had seen on TV telling him where to get his licence renewed.
“He’s lived in this province more than 50 years and he knows full well where to get his licence renewed. He doesn’t need the government to tell him that,” he said.
Klees believes the ads are meant to divert attention from the scandals the Wynne government is embroiled in.
“What’s unfortunate in this is that you hear the minister of health on a regular basis telling us there’s no money to pay for cancer care drugs and children with cystic fibrosis and you hear her response when we talk about ensuring that seniors are properly looked after,” he said.
A spokesman for Government Services Minister John Milloy said the ads are vetted by the auditor general.
“Liberals were the first to enact legislation that banned government-paid politically partisan advertising in key media such as newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio and television,” Jenna Mannone said by e-mail.
The $33 million doesn’t even include agency and production costs — so it’s a low-ball figure.
It does include all forms of advertising: Newspaper, billboards, on-line as well as TV.
“It was our government that introduced the Government Advertising Act in 2004, that would give the Auditor General the authority to oversee and approve government advertising before it can be used,” she said.
The auditor reports annually on ad expenditures.
Of course, those reports come in a year after the fact — so too late to shut the barn door.
For the whole year in 2012, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk reported the government spent $12 million on TV, $3 million on radio, $8 million on print and $1.2 million on billboards and transit advertising — including agency costs. Online advertising doesn’t fall under her mandate — an omission lamented in her report.
“In the past, we have seen government online campaigns that would have been in violation of the act if they had been submitted to our office for review,” her report says.
In the 2012-13 year, the government spent more on Internet advertising than it did on print products.
But advertising for that whole year was $30.2 million — all in. The government’s just blown that amount in three months.
I’m waiting for the ad telling me how they blew $1.1 billion to scrap two gas plants. And perhaps one that tells us how to erase data from hard drives.
Is there an election coming?