OTTAWA - The Harper government has approved tens of millions of dollars in "economic action plan" ads this year, even as it cites fiscal restraint to cut programs such as scientific research and environmental monitoring.
Officials at Finance Canada are refusing to disclose the budget for the current "action plan" media blitz that's blanketing Canadian airwaves.
But a Treasury Board document reveals that cabinet approved $16 million in "economic action plan" advertising in the first quarter of this year alone.
That total doesn't include another $18 million approved for advertising other elements promoted on the government's economic action plan web site.
In all, the Harper cabinet has already cleared more than $64 million in ad spending for the current fiscal year, a number that doesn't sit well with targets of government program cuts.
As for the current autumn ad blitz, Finance officials say Canadian taxpayers can find out how much it cost when the government's annual report on advertising for 2012-13 comes out — about two years from now.