For months now our federal government, led by the most helmet-like head of hair in Canadian politics, has been bombarding our media outlets with advertisements extolling the virtues of their economic action plan. Our government apparently feels that it is important to shill for federal programs, and insist that the ads are having a positive effect by drawing increasing numbers of Canadians to view the action plan website in order to garner much needed information about it.
The government also claims that the ads are a resounding success because their analysis shows that individuals who have seen the ads have an increased opinion of government performance, according to this Maclean’s article. The same article shows that very few respondents to the poll felt that the ads were important, or even relevant, and that only 0.6% of respondents actually went to the action plan website to get more information. The reality is that these ads are campaign propaganda designed to lure and lock in voters prior to any election being called. This is the type of gamesmanship and douchebaggery that have been the hallmarks of our governmental system for years, and which Stephen Harper and his Conservative cronies vowed to do away with once they gained real political power in the form of a majority government. And the country believed them.
What happens when you go to the action plan website or view the ads we are bombarded with is very simple. We are inundated with the colours of the Conservative Party of Canada. Red white and blue assault the eyeballs. What we are not seeing is a promotion of Canada’s government, but of the Conservative Party of Canada as if the two were the same thing. They are not. A majority of us voted for other political parties in the last federal election – a whopping 60%. Which is to say that the majority of Canadians are not represented at all under a majority Conservative government. Which is to say that the government of Canada would perhaps be better represented if websites promoting federal government programs were not co-opted by individual parties. And while there is no law against early campaigning, there is certainly an ethical issue surrounding it that should be examined.
I have contacted Minister Flaherty for a statement but he refuses to comment. Perhaps because there is no way for him to appropriately respond or to spin this issue – either he knows that his party is co-opting the Canadian government and making it into a Conservative party shill, or he is too stupid to realize that this is what is going on.
No matter how you cut it, or whether you believe that the Conservative Party has been good for Canada, how they are going about promoting their accomplishments is shameful. More and more they are attempting to present themselves as the voice of the Canadian people, without consideration for what Canadians feel is important in their representatives. And as long as the left remains fractured, things are only going to get worse.
Brett Geisel is a Winnipeg-based writer for Spectator Tribune.
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