Something has been annoying my constituents for some time, and it’s been bothering me too.
The Ontario Government has spent untold millions of taxpayers’ money on inappropriate and partisan advertising.
First, some background. In 2015, the Government brought in legislation that really narrowed the definition of partisan advertising. This basically forced the Auditor General (AG) to rubber stamp advertising that would never have been approved before. There was some pretty serious feedback from the AG’s office, but the Government ignored it.
The Ontario AG has called out the Government’s practice of airing “self-congratulatory” partisan advertisements. These ads are for the expanded Canada Pension Plan which isn’t even a provincial program. I was shocked to discover just how much they cost: $70 million.
The AG has also said that she would have banned a recent ad about the Government’s cap-and-trade scheme. Here’s a link to the ad in case you haven’t seen it. It features environmentalist, and former CBC broadcaster, David Suzuki talking to an audience of young children. He warns them that they will have to live with the dire consequences of climate change because ‘not enough adults are listening’. Then we’re told not to leave the solution to our kids, and that we should be part of the Government’s Climate Change Action Plan.
One big problem with this is that the Government hadn’t even released its plan when the ads were running. So it wasn’t at all clear what this ‘action’ was.
But a lot of my constituents resented the fear mongering and scare tactics in that ad. David Suzuki’s positions have been criticised by the founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore. Even Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau (not exactly a climate change skeptic) quite forcefully rejected Suzuki’s ideas on climate change. So it’s understandable that people might think the Government’s ad was more than a little extreme.
Many of my constituents are farmers. One of them – Joan Craig- wrote to me the other day. She expressed serious concerns about what she sees as an unfair position on climate change. She resents the idea that the Government would imply that people like her don’t know how to care for the environment. She said ‘ads like this are an insult to the farmers of this province who are dedicated and very much aware of the needs of our lands’.
I think if anyone would know something about sustainable cooperation with nature and responsible development of resources it would be our farmers- farmers like Joan Craig.
But you don’t have to be a farmer to find fault with the present Government of Ontario. A lot of its positioning seems excessively heavy-handed. Sky-rocketing hydro rates are forcing some people to choose between buying food and heating their homes. In Kanata, some businesses struggle to stay open or hire new employees because of high payroll taxes, red tape, and high energy costs. Meanwhile, the Government continues to mismanage Ontario’s finances while piling on debt.
Life in Ontario is hard enough under this Government. Fear mongering and self-congratulatory, partisan ads just add insult to injury, wrongfully indoctrinate our children, and wastes the money of taxpayers.