The Conservative government is spending $3.5 million this year to advertise a child care benefit that was passed last year but is central to the Conservatives' re-election campaign, The Huffington Post Canada has learned.
This appears to be in addition to the $13.5 million that Finance Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency are planning to spend to promote last week's federal budget.
Documents obtained by HuffPost detail an estimated $3.5 million contract awarded in March to advertise the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). The ad campaign is also designed to encourage parents to register for the UCCB claim online - although those already receiving the benefit don't have to do anything to get the new money.
The Liberals pointed to the contract Monday as further evidence that the Conservative government is shamelessly using taxpayers money to promote the Tory brand.
"It's a deliberate commandeering of public resources as a continued attempt to drive up the Conservative brand in Canadian society," Ottawa Liberal MP David McGuinty told The Huffington Post Canada. The $3.5 million would have been better spent enhancing health care services and improving pensions for seniors living in poverty, he said.
The new ad campaign for the UCCB is green and Conservative blue, which McGuinty said is intended to confuse the viewer. "This is cheating the democratic system," the Liberal MP said. "It's using public resources for other purposes than they were intended."
- reprinted from the Huffington Post