Public pays for Tory family tax cut ads ‘subject to parliamentary approval’

The Harper government is spending more public funds advertising measures that have not yet been approved by Parliament.

OTTAWA — The Harper government is spending more public funds advertising measures that have not yet been approved by Parliament.

Radio ads have already hit the airwaves promoting the recently announced income splitting plan for families with children and changes to the child tax benefit.

The radio spots end with a brief caveat: the tax changes are subject to parliamentary approval.

Dennis Howlett of the advocacy group Canadians for Tax Fairness says public funds should not be used to push an agenda that’s still a matter of partisan debate in Parliament.

Last year an ad industry watchdog ruled government ads promoting a Conservative jobs grant program were misleading because they pushed a plan that was not yet negotiated with the provinces or approved by Parliament.

The Harper government has been under scrutiny for years for spending tens of millions of dollars on feel-good “economic action plan” ads that deliver little useable information but promote the notion of a robust Canadian economy.