MLA Report: Truth in advertising? How about no ads without truth?

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald accuses BC Liberal government of misleading public with advertising.

Ever wonder exactly how much all this government advertising is actually costing you?

The BC Liberals are using the money you pay in taxes, intended to fund government programs that actually provide services for you and your neighbours, to fund massive advertising campaigns. And the waste of taxpayer money ramps up even further the closer we get to election time.

These ad campaigns are expensive and meet only the needs of the BC Liberals and their supporters. Most of us would agree that they do nothing to actually improve the lives of the general public.

In the two years leading up to the last election, the Christy Clark government spent nearly $70 million on pre-election advertising.

Much of the advertising appears in venues that we rely on to provide news coverage of provincial politics, and it is easy to imagine that this could have the effect of softening editorial coverage of government actions.

The companies hired to create this advertising are consistently the friends of the BC Liberal party — they are large donors who benefit tremendously from the flow of taxpayers’ dollars through no-bid contracts.

And these ads typically misinform citizens about the true state of the province and our economy. These ads tend to paint a very rosy picture of the job that the BC Liberals are doing. They claim that B.C. is booming when many in the province would not see this as an accurate portrayal of their own lives.

Here are the facts:

The BC Liberals promised by 2015 that we would have eight new mines open and 1,500 new jobs. In fact, three mines have opened, but 16 mines have closed, with an overall reduction of 2,370 direct jobs in mining.

Forestry, which should be booming with the low dollar and a strong U.S. market, is struggling as mills continue to close. Under the BC Liberals’ watch, 200 mills have already closed.

The great boom promised from liquid natural gas has failed to materialize. The promise of the first LNG plant opening in 2015 has come and gone. The 100,000 jobs promised was always a fictitious number with the actual number of new jobs being zero.

I believe government does have a role in leading real discussions about how to make our province and our economy work. But that real discussion can never begin with mistruths.

In order to have resilience as communities we need to make smart decisions in what is, frankly, a volatile world. To make those decisions, we need a government that sticks to the truth.

Wasting our tax dollars to misinform us cannot be acceptable. But nothing will change until citizens demand that change.

Truth in advertising? How about no advertising without truth?

Norm Macdonald is the MLA for Columbia River–Revelstoke. He can be reached at 1-866-870-4188 or norm.macdonald.mla@leg.bc.ca.

 

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