Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Economic claptrap

  • Print

Canadians last fall were paying no attention to the Harper government's horn-tooting campaign about its Economic Action Plan. The public recognized the taxpayer-funded, self-promotion by the ruling party and tuned it out.

The failure of the government's advertising campaign is apparent in the report of the Harris/Decima polling firm submitted to the Finance department in November, made public through the National Archives. The department hired Harris/Decima to ask 2,003 Canadians in early November what they remembered about the ads.

Sixty-five per cent of the people did not remember seeing such an ad. Twelve per cent remembered it was something to do with jobs. When the interviewees were reminded of the touching personal stories told in each ad, 80 per cent remembered no such thing.

The ads' official purpose was to tell Canadians about opportunities available to them. The assumption was that couples would hurry to buy a house if radio and TV ads told them about the first-time homebuyer tax credit. Canadian businesses needed an ad campaign to make them take advantage of the government's Tax Relief for New Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment.

In earlier surveys, interviewees had been asked what actions they took in response to the ads, such as calling a toll-free number or visiting a government website for further information. The numbers who said they did were tiny and shrinking. That question was dropped from the November survey, as was a question inviting a general view of the government's performance.

The Harper government has gone to great lengths to write custom-made tax breaks for narrowly defined categories of taxpayers, offering tax credits to parents of young hockey players, buyers of bus passes, for home renovations and to first time homebuyers. These boutique tax breaks relate more to political marketing than to economic stimulus, hence the advertising to win political credit from the target groups. The government's ads tried to create a national brand called the Economic Action Plan.

The strategy has fallen flat. Canadians recognize political claptrap when they see it, and when they see ads for it, they turn their attention elsewhere. For either purpose -- political marketing or economic stimulus -- the campaign was a dud.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 23, 2014 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman questioned on financial solutions for city

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think e-cigarettes should be banned by the school division?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google