Grits: Education ad cost misleading
Frances Willick Education Reporter
The Opposition is accusing the NDP government of misleading taxpayers on the cost of an advertising campaign promoting the Education Department's Kids and Learning First program.
The print, radio and television ads ran in February and March and promoted the department's new education strategy for public school students.
At the time of the ad campaign's release, its cost was reported to be about $90,000.
Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said his party requested information about the full cost of the campaign, and found that it cost about $40,000 more than the previously reported figure.
"If they're misleading us about this particular ad, how many other ad campaigns have they been misleading Nova Scotians about?" McNeil asked.
The campaign, which included four weeks' worth of TV ads, two weeks of radio ads and a one-time print ad in major dailies and community weekly papers in the province, cost $92,545.89 for ad space and $40,176 for production, totalling $132,721. 89.
Education Department spokesman Chad Lucas said Communications Nova Scotia released the full cost back in March and said an update was presented to the public accounts committee of the legislature in May.
"The only possibility is that perhaps we didn't know the cost at that time and we might not have gotten the final invoice on one aspect of the campaign," Lucas said. "But I can assure you that whenever a request has come in, (Communications Nova Scotia has) been upfront about the costs."
When the campaign was launched, Education Minister Ramona Jennex defended the costs, saying the ads helped inform residents about changes to the system.
But McNeil called the campaign a blatantly political move on behalf of the government, and said if the true purpose was to inform parents, letters could have been sent home through classrooms.
"It's really political advertising at a time when they're taking money from precious resources in the classroom," McNeil said.
Source: The Chronicle Herald, July 28, 2012