POLITICS

Rick Mercer: Tories Are Cheating With Economic Action Plan Ads

11/26/2014 05:29 EST | Updated 11/26/2014 05:59 EST

"The final circle [of Hell] is basically sitting in a room watching Canada Action Plan ads over and over again on a loop."

Yeah, Rick Mercer really does not like the new ad campaign from Canada's Conservative government. His latest rant targets commercials promoting the government's new slate of tax cuts, the largest of which will send cheques to Canadian parents on the eve of the next federal election.

The measures have not yet been approved by Parliament, but the government is airing the the ads now -- at taxpayers' expense.

Mercer also takes issue with another recent ad promoting government services for veterans. The CBC host has been a regular critic of Conservative policy, attacking the government for failing to show respect to veterans who criticize measures such as closing support offices. He has also spoken out on allegations that injured soldiers were booted from the Canadians Forces before becoming eligible for benefits.

The NDP has said it will lodge a complaint with Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) about the ads for the tax plan. Last year the ASC ruled that government ads for the Canada Jobs Grant , which had also not been approved by Parliament (or the provinces), were inaccurate and unclear. Both ad campaigns include a small print text disclaimer at the end of the ads which reads "subject to parliamentary approval."

Stephen Harper's government has deployed ads under the Action Plan banner on a wide number of subjects since the campaign debuted in the wake of the financial crisis. While Mercer says the Tories are not the only government, past or present, to use such ads, he says they have "turned it into a fine art."

"They have spent over 620 million tax dollars on such advertising since they’ve been elected. Partisan advertising has become like doping in sports. Those who do it, defend it. But we all know it’s designed to give one party an unfair edge. And we all know it’s cheating."

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