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Taxpayers spent $14.8 million promoting Canada

Staff writer |
Taxpayers spent $14.8 million last year promoting Canada's Economic Action Plan, about $5-million higher than what Treasury Board had previously listed as the approved advertising budget.

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The conservative government faces continued criticism this year that it is pushing the boundaries of self-promotion at taxpayer expense, spending $2.5-million to advertise a job grant that does not yet exist and recently launching a weekly video of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's activities, The Globe and Mail reports.

Although the final ad spending numbers for 2012-2013 came in higher than projected, overall ad spending is on a downward trend. The $69-million total is about $10-million less than the year before. It is also nearly half the size of the massive $136.3-million ad buy the Conservatives approved in 2009-10, primarily to promote stimulus spending during the recession.

The final spending numbers for 2012-2013 are contained in an annual report on government advertising that has not been officially released. The Globe obtained a copy of the report and confirmed its authenticity.

The $14.8-million Economic Action Plan campaign approved by Finance Canada was Ottawa's most expensive campaign of the 2012-13 fiscal year. The campaign is arguably close to twice that size. The Canada Revenue Agency spent $7-million on a "tax savings" campaign and Human Resources and Skills Development spent $6.1-million on a campaign called "Better Jobs", two categories that have been described as falling under the "Economic Action Plan umbrella" in previous reports.

The second-most expensive campaign was an $8.2-million promotion for "Responsible Resource Development" by Natural Resources Canada.

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