Friday, February 25, 2011

Robbed While We Sleep

I hate commercials. I turn the channel to avoid for the most part, any viewing a product of the remote being just that. But, even with my attempts to avoid, I can't help but notice an OBSCENE amount of Economic Action Plan ads polluting my screen, everywhere, at all times, a blitzkrieg I don't think we've ever seen- and that's saying something, given past excess on this self promotion. What is particularly ALARMING, these ads come as our Finance Minister speaks of "winding down" the EAP, finishing up products, because the fiscal situation demands we cut off the taps. That's a reasonable argument, people understand and the government has shown some flexibility to allow completion of lagging projects. However, rather than "winding down" the ads, which are AFTER THE FACT at this point, we are seeing a ramp up of staggering proportions.

Every government manipulates the levers of power to self promote, so the Harper government isn't unique in terms of intent. However, when we move to SCALE, simply no peer, comparisons embarrassing, this is a new animal, the likes of which Canada has never seen. Through disclosure, we already know that past advertising for the EAP has been in the order of 3 to 4 times that of previous spending by the former government. Little evidence of repercussion, the government was able to pull it off, taxpayer on hook, but nobody seemed to notice, or worse CARE.

That was then, but now we see another round, more intense than before, the timing insulting, the frequency metaphorically criminal, the tone more partisan than anything we've seen. Rather than thinly disguised partisan ads, these ads are like triumphant exclamations, making sure Canadians know what the plan has done, how it's positioned us for the future, basically a "we are in good hands with Stephen Harper" feel, any other interpretation a stretch.

What is the government spending on these ads? Anyone bother to ask the question? It is clear, this government has opened the pre-writ flood gates, knowing full well, the expenditure won't come to light until AFTER an election, and even then past history suggests little real recourse. This is our money, and the government has become so obnoxious they've dropped any pretense, these are partisan ads, pure and simple.

What is going on right at the moment is ridiculous, but it is going on. Sort of like being robbed while you sleep, except you never wake up I guess.


Omar said...

"..these ads come as our Finance Minister speaks of "winding down" the EAP"..

The PMO strikes again. I sometimes think a mutiny among the ranks is what is going to have to happen in order to put a stop to this jihadi surrounded, absolute ruler.

Jesse said...

I think it would be a good idea to flip this around. We should pay for ads mocking them for using taxpayer funding. Sort of an "I'm Michael Ignatieff, and my party didn't waste your money on this ad" thing.

Tof KW said...

I sometimes think a mutiny among the ranks is what is going to have to happen

They won't Omar. The obvious reason being that it is difficult to take down a sitting prime minister. I know the UK Tories managed to get rid of Maggie before a trip to the polls, (which they won thanks to that move) but they had plenty of high-profile competent ministers in her government, and rules within the Conservative Party constitution that allowed for leadership reviews even when in power. Neither of these exist for the CPC.

The only high profile figures I can think of that would lead the CPC to a majority are outside of politics currently. This is actually a good position for them to be in should they decide to run.

Also, those I have in mind were not part of the Reform movement, which presents another obstacle for their leadership ambitions. Though that absence and lack of political baggage is precisely why they could win a majority for the CPC.

However if they do make that decision I believe they are biding their time for now, until the CPC is so badly damaged by Harper's tight grip that the revolt becomes visible to everyone.

But I don't think that will happen anytime soone, as the Harperbots main ambition is the elimination of the Liberals as a political player, leaving just a choice between the hard right and the hard left in Canadian politics. And he is doing a decent job of this, as well as reshaping our nation's institutions to reflect his partisan leanings.

So long as he is accomplishing this, the automatons within his party are quite happy with his leadership. Trivialities like ethics, accountability, or principles have long been dispensed by this gang.

Kirk said...

The National will do 20 minutes on the movie "The King's Speech" but they won't look at this and the Conservatives know it. And unless TV news makes an issue of it, it has no chance of being an issue.

The fact that the EAP is ending should really be the entry point that would lead a responsible media to legitimately question this massive ad spending by the government to promote itself and, undoubtedly, the Conservative Party.

This is truly the government campaigning on the taxpayers dime but will the average undecided voter or "soft" conservative voter see it that way without it being questioned by others first?

Jesse said...

Well, we haven't done anything to try to make it an issue.

Kirk said...

Because the media will follow the Liberals lead and report what they say?


Oda is only a story because the media finds it juicy. What the Liberals or NDP has to say about it is only of interest when it adds to that "juiciness". Lisa Raitt was right, what's important is what's "sexy".

If the Liberals bring up an issue that the media doesn't want to cover then the only thing you'll hear about that issue is that it was a bad idea for the Liberals to raise it as doing so diluted their "message" and distracted the public from whatever the media wanted to talk about. You will hear that type of criticism all the time from pundits.

Jesse said...

I think if there had been Liberal ads it would have been reported on, especially if they were interesting. Could have at least created them and put them online, then decided whether to run them or not.

rockfish said...

It's going to be tough to get MSM to pay attention to this -- because it's helping them pay their light bill. This is just one more reason why the owners of MSM in Canada are playing toss with Harper -- he's giving them a life line with a catch.
Now, if everyone who agreed with us were to sit down and write a scathing letter to the local community paper (sure, some of them are owned by the big corps, but their overseers don't pay much attention to them other than balance books) and email/call the radio phone-in shows and calling Harper on this misuse of taxpayers money, you'd hear some reverberation. Start small, grow big...

Dylan said...

These latest EAP commercials are entirely promotional pieces for the government and the governing party. Is there any information to the Canadian public as to how the EAP could help them today? Naw. Rather the commercials focus on singing the praises of our Harper Party overlords and how much better we are with them at the helm. Trying to discern what is a CPC partisan ad and what is a "non-partisan" EAP ad is pretty difficult these days.

At least the Harper Party dropped the "Canada's New Government" BS.

Jerry Prager said...

Cons mutiny, they would have to have principles other than their own divine right to rule, and they don't. There is no such thing as ethical conservativism, such is nature of corporatism, fascism makes its own rules.

Marpman said...

Within the ads I have seen I found the familiar lines 'stay the course' used. But the new one I found most partisan was the business owner who said he was going to use any tax breaks to help grow his business. I found that to be a most partisan plug for the corporate tax breaks.