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Getting the message out

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Opposition parties on Parliament Hill made a big deal last week out of how much the federal government intends to spend promoting its March 22 budget.

That figure, the Globe and Mail reported, is $4 million.

NDP MP Tom Mulcair (Outremont) was clearly outraged at the amount.

"They’re going to brazenly take $4-million of taxpayers’ money to try and brainwash the public about how good they are," he told the Globe. "Doing that in this highly-charged atmosphere, as we’re heading into a quite-possible election this spring is, I think, beyond the pale."

Got me to wondering how much the provincial NDP in Manitoba are going to spend touting the benefits of their April 12 budget — less than six months before a provincial election.

The answer, a cabinet spokeswoman said in an e-mail, is "approximately 230K for the information campaign — similar (to the) amount we spent last year."

Considering that Manitoba makes up slightly less than four per cent of the national population, the Selinger government aims to spend a fair bit more per capita to advertise its budget than the Harper government intends to promote its financial blueprint.

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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