Democracy Watch calls on Auditor General to audit Conservative government advertising
OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch launched a letter-writing campaign calling on the federal Auditor General to conduct a quick audit of the Conservative government’s advertising last fall and recently about non-existent tax measures, and calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stop the ads and also change the law to empower the Auditor General to stop future dishonest, partisan, wasteful ads (as the Ontario AG can). The campaign website is at: http://ComeClean.ca/HarperAds/.
The letter also calls on the Auditor General to conduct a second comprehensive audit on Conservative government advertising since 2006, given that there have been several questionable past advertising campaigns by the government.
“The website gives all Canadians an easy way to call on the Auditor General to audit the Conservative government’s spending of the public’s money on recent ads about tax measures that don’t yet exist, and past ads that have been similarly questionable or dishonest,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “The Auditor General’s role is to determine whether the public’s money has been wasted, and it seems clear that ads about tax measures that don’t exist are a waste of money.”
In addition to the very questionable current ads, past Conservative government advertising since 2006 that has also been very questionable includes:
- the ads in 2014 by the Department of Veterans Affairs claiming that the department treats veterans well;
- the ads in 2012 about the Economic Action Plan (after the Plan’s spending was completed), and;
- the ads in 2013 about the Canada Job Grants program that did not exist.
In Ontario, the Auditor General has been empowered by the Government Advertising Act since 2004 to prohibit government advertising that is partisan or misleading.
Democracy Watch expects thousands of Canadians will send letters to the Auditor General, and hopes that the Auditor General will act in the public interest by undertaking both of these audits very soon.