Union ads tar­get Harper pro­gram cuts

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

The Public Ser­vice Al­liance of Canada is drop­ping $2.7 mil­lion on a pre-elec­tion ad cam­paign that takes aim at Con­ser­va­tive cuts to the bu­reau­cracy.

The union said its “Vote to Stop the Cuts” cam­paign will in­clude bill­boards, posters, ra­dio seg­ments and tar­geted online con­tent, but it does not plan to air TV ads.

“In Canada, es­sen­tial public ser­vices are be­ing threat­ened by these reck­less cuts with­out re­gard for the safety and wel­fare of mil­lions of Cana­di­ans cit­i­zens,” said na­tional ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent Chris Ayl­ward.

PSAC said gov­ern­ment sup­port for vet­er­ans, search and res­cue, em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance, bor­der se­cu­rity and food safety have been af­fected by the Tory belt-tight­en­ing ef­forts since Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper came to power in 2006.

“We ob­vi­ously be­lieve it is in the public in­ter­est to raise aware­ness about the im­pact of cuts to public ser­vices,” Ayl­ward said.

The union, which rep­re­sents more than 170,000 public sec­tor em­ploy­ees, is the latest group to cap­i­tal­ize on the lack of rules gov­ern­ing pre-writ advertising.

Groups such as the con­ser­va­tive Work­ing Cana­di­ans, left­lean­ing En­gage Canada and the now de­funct HarperPAC have rolled out ads ahead of the of­fi­cial elec­tion cam­paign start, when Elec­tions Canada rules kick in and sharply re­strict third-party advertising.

“Once the elec­tion is called, of course we have to stop advertising as a reg­is­tered third­party advertiser,” Ayl­ward said.

PSAC said mem­bers sig­nalled they sup­ported an aware­ness cam­paign at a na­tional union con­ven­tion this spring.

In re­sponse to the cam­paign, Trea­sury Board Min­is­ter Tony Cle­ment is­sued a state­ment Tues­day to high­light sav­ings.

“Since bud­get 2010, our gov­ern­ment has im­ple­mented sav­ings mea­sures that have saved the tax­payer more than $19 bil­lion in 2015-16 and be­yond,” Cle­ment said.

“Fur­ther­more, the Par­lia­men­tary Bud­get Of­fi­cer has said that over­all per­for­mance re­sults of de­part­ments and agen­cies has im­proved.”

Cle­ment’s of­fice said the gov­ern­ment has moved to re­duce travel ex­penses through the use of tech­nol­ogy such as tele­con­fer­enc­ing.

It also said it has slashed du­pli­ca­tion across de­part­ments by com­bin­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive func­tions such as hu­man re­sources to re­duce the bur­den for taxpayers.

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