It seems that the baby Conservatives here in Newfoundland and Labrador have borrowed from their federal leaders playbook and despite preaching restraint have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars patting themselves on the back on radio, TV, in newspapers and bulk mail outs.
DavisGov is no different than previous administrations who have never hesitated to hire friendly communications firms to design campaigns targeted at promoting boosting partisan support. The Tobin government did it, The Grimes Government did it, The Williams Government did, The Dunderdale Government did it and the Davis Government is addicted to it.
The DavisGov is desperate. They are desperate to increase public support. As at the tail end of the Dundardale days, the true believers can not understand why an administration that has done so much good is so low in the polls. They are firm believers that the good they do is not getting out. The media is biased or are not focusing on the right stories.
To combat this they have been promoting their message through bought media. More and more we here elected member's voices or see their faces on publicly sponsored advertising. This year we have witnessed hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising from Nalcor assuring us that they have Muskrat under control or that they are prepared for Winter.
Now, DAvisGov feels that it is hunkydory to use our taxpayer dollars (or perhaps more apt some of the Billion they borrowed this year) to explain and defend the latest budget. Apparently, the media did not get the messaging right -despite the millions of dollars expended on Communication Directors, Communication Specialists, Associate Secretaries, Communications coordinators, engagement coordinators, Communication Managers, Advertising Managers, Information Officers and policy types. The government PR machine is huge - nothing moves without being vetted and re-vetted! Go to the Government Telephone directory and search these positions. It will astound you just how many communication people we pay for.
In this time of restraint, when HST is being increased, teachers are being cut and we are being told to do more with less the government is cavalierly using scarce pubic dollars to promote itself. Money that could be much better invested in areas like education.
I have a huge problem with the government’s advertising campaign, a huge problem with the amount of public money they’re spending on those campaign.
Sure the Liberals are saying, hey hold on here. This is not fair or more bluntly this is a waste of money but what will change when the man in the Premier's chair changes? More of the same. The PC's campaigned in 2003 on banning government advertising using elected member’s picture, name, voice or the color associated with the political party. 12 years later even the windows at the Confederation Building are Blue.
We need an Government advertising act and an independent communication office that ensures publicly-funded partisan campaigns are nipped in the bud and prevent unnecessary, untendered rewards for friendly communications companies.
That would be real accountability and transparency.