David Suzuki is shown in a new government of Ontario ad. (Photo: Screengrab)
The fact the plan hasn't been released yet is one of the issues Lysyk has with the ad.
"The intent of the ad is to create a positive impression of government doing something versus being specific and providing people with information that they need to know and that they can do something with," she said.
The old rules banned ads as partisan if the intent was to foster a positive impression of government or a negative impression of its critics, but the new rules say an ad is partisan only if it uses an elected member's picture, name or voice, the colour or logo associated with the political party or direct criticism of a party or member of the legislature.
NDP finance critic Catherine Fife said it's part of a "larger pattern of the Liberal government changing the rules to their own benefit."
"The intent of the ad is to create a positive impression of government doing something versus being specific and providing people with information that they need to know and that they can do something with."This isn't the first time the auditor general has had to approve ads she would have otherwise questioned. Lysyk said that she would have suggested that the timing of an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan ad that ran during last year's federal campaign "could be construed as partisan." "Over the course of the last, I would say, six months, we've had a fair number of them that we've commented on, that under our old act we wouldn't have approved," she said. The government said under the previous legislation some ads were rejected for reasons they saw as unnecessary. In the approximately 10 years those rules were in effect more than 7,200 ads were approved and fewer than one per cent were rejected, Lysyk said.
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