It’s time once again for The Future American’s FAIL OF THE WEEK! Every Saturday, I name a person or group who has spent the past seven days behaving in a particularly idiotic way. Since it’s my belief that idiocy knows no politics, nobody is safe.
This week’s fail was brought to you by the Harper government of Canada. (They are the Harper government and don’t you ever forget it.) The centerpiece of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s stint has been Canada’s Economic Action Plan, ostensibly the name for the stimulus-oriented federal budget of January 2009, but since then the umbrella term for every economic initiative the government can dream up. Of those initiatives themselves, we can’t say too much, as our economy has been fairly stable under Harper – due in no small part to our heavily regulated banking sector, which wasn’t his idea. Of their promotions, on the other hand, we’re forced to say a lot.
Seriously. $21 million of taxpayer dollars on ad campaigns for the government’s agenda. If you’re the agency behind these ads, there’s your stimulus. The rest of us, having been bombarded with reminders of Canada’s Economic Action Plan online, on TV, on billboards and even inside buses, haven’t been stimulated at all, except when it comes to our blood pressure. But don’t tell that to spokesman Andrew MacDougall:
The government has an obligation to inform Canadians about the programs and services available to them and one of the channels through which we inform Canadians is advertising. . . . [The government] assesses the effectiveness of the ads and will incorporate any feedback it receives into the next series of advertisements.
Do you now? Well, Andrew, here’s all the feedback you need: This is what Canadians want to do to those goddamn ads. If he saw the same 30 seconds of government masturbation six times per show under a different prime minister, I’m sure he’d agree.
It wasn’t always that way. In 2009, some Canadians did visit the “plan’s” website, some even registering for the many boutique tax credits it had to offer. Since then, the majority of us, according to an independent survey, don’t want to spend any more money on the commercials, some of which have aired during the Super Bowl and the Oscars – not exactly cheapo. The government’s “internal survey” disputes the independent one, pointing out that 42 percent of Canadians approve of their performance. But we don’t need ads to tell us how to feel about their performance. We have lives.
If we want to know about available programs and services, we know how to a) research them online and b) drop by or call the nearest Service Canada branch and ask. What we don’t know how to do is convince THE HARPER GOVERNMENT that their ads have become our drinking game.