NDP MP calls on government to disclose cost of Superbowl ads

Blog, Commentary, Role of Government, Steve Lafleur

Some of you may have noticed that the Government of Canada was running Canada’s Economic Action Plan™ commercials during the Superbowl. As most of you know, the commercial slots during the Superbowl are vastly more expensive than typical slots. I voiced my displeasure (to put it mildly) on Facebook, and I’m happy to see that the New Democrats have seized upon this issue.

While I’m not generally concerned about minor instances frivolous spending — we’ve got bigger problems than a $16 glass of orange juice — the constant bombardment of advertising for every single spending initiative undertaken by the federal government — from water treatment plants in Kingston, to highway expansions in Winnipeg — increases the political return on investment from targeted federal spending in areas of sub-national jurisdiction. Put crudely, it makes it much easier to use federal spending in key ridings in return for electoral success. This nefarious politicization of federal spending needs to end. I have frequently argued that the federal government should transfer more spending power to lower levels of government to de-politicize spending decisions. There is no reason why residents of Regina should pay for highways in British Columbia, and there is no reason why residents of New Brunswick need to be informed about such unaccountable spending initiatives during the Super Bowl. Good on the NDP for making an issue of this, despite the fact that the government will not disclose the cost.