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Government feared backlash after spending $1.3 million in carbon tax ads ahead of 2019 election

In 2016, the Trudeau government promised to cut federal advertising. However, spending ahead of the 2019 federal election increased 49% to $58.6 million.

The Trudeau government spent a total of $1,253,011 in an advertising campaign to educate Canadians about the alleged benefits of the carbon tax.

According to documents obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter, the Trudeau government was worried that using taxpayer dollars to promote the keystone Liberal policy may provoke a backlash.

“There are risks the increased budget for advertising by the Canada Revenue Agency will prompt negative media attention, particularly considering the government’s commitment to reduce advertising spending,” one government memo says. 

“Canada Revenue Agency operations have been the focus of recent Auditor General reporting and this campaign promoting one tax measure in a few provinces may result in additional negative media coverage.” 

In 2016, the Trudeau government promised to cut federal advertising. However, spending ahead of the 2019 federal election increased 49% to $58.6 million.

Environment Canada also spent $700,000 on ads informing Canadians about “pollution pricing” prior to the federal election.

The ad campaign centered around promoting carbon tax rebates to residents of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick, the four provinces which had the federal carbon tax forced on them in April of 2019.

While the federal government increased spending to promote the carbon tax, Elections Canada seemed more concerned that provinces may campaign against federal policies.

In an interview last summer, Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault said his office would be carefully monitoring provincial advertising as several provinces were in court fighting the federal carbon tax.

Studies have shown that even right before the 2019 election most Canadians opposed the carbon tax.

One study in September found strong opposition to the carbon tax in all regions of Canada. In a separate study, a focus group conducted by the federal government found that Canadians did not trust the claim that rebates would eliminate the financial burden of the carbon tax.

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