Two more items today, for the file. One further confirms an already validated theme. The other paints a distasteful abuse of public funds. The Conservatives are spending 3X what the previous government did on internal polling, focus group testing, all in the name of messaging and selling the government agenda. The Conservatives are spending 3X what any previous government has on "close to the line" partisan advertising, promoting themselves. The Conservatives are engaged in a strong arm campaign to force municipalities to pony up taxpayer dollars, to promote the Economic Action Plan in their communities. The Conservatives are blanketing the country with partisan junk mail, spending 500% more than when they took office:
The price tag for sending flyers from MPs to homes across the country has soared during the past couple of years with Conservatives outstripping MPs from all other parties.
In some cases, Conservative MPs are spending more than 500% more on flyers than they did just two years ago.
An analysis by Sun Media of spending figures tabled in the House of Commons this week for the year ended on March 31 shows that the cost to taxpayers for MPs printing has soared to $10 million in 2008/09 compared to $5.9 million in 2005.
Under the rules of Parliament, MPs are entitled to charge the cost of printing two types of flyers to the House of Commons. There is no maximum spending limit.
In the past, Conservatives have defended their decision to take advantage of the flyers program to promote their party's positions, saying it is open equally to all MPs.
However, an analysis of spending on printing by each MP last year shows that the bills racked up by MPs from other parties pales in comparison to spending by the Conservatives. In fact, out of the 100 highest-spending MPs, all but 18 were Conservatives.
Graph (source Sun Media):
Apart from partisans, people generally view these flyers as unnecessary junk mail. I'm not sure most have connected the dots, and realized that not only are these flyers annoying, THEY are paying for them.
The Liberals need to tie all these items together, because the sheer mass becomes very compelling, denoting a consistent pattern of a Conservative Party wastefully spending taxpayer money for selfish gain. The beauty of this line of attack, it also brings into focus the issue of the deficit- how can the government justify such waste, when Canada is awash in debt? There is a certain detached arrogance at play here, and history tells us that Canadians don't take kindly to this sort of waste. The fact this government has NO PEER in this regard, something that needs to be argued with passion and REPETITION.
There is no compelling counter for the government, their retorts are obliterated by the simple math, and any conversation will find independent validation for the Liberals. I think it's time for a donor outreach, to support a sizeable campaign, addressing this issue. This attack line speaks to the whole idea of good government, it undermines the Conservatives and it addresses a core complaint about political excess. What are we waiting for, it's all right there, sitting in our lap?