The Trudeau Liberals have spent an estimated $3.4 million for carbon tax awareness. They aim to ensure that Canadians know about the rebate they could potentially claim on their taxes.
That figure is over three times the initial amount reported by CTV.
The federal carbon tax was applied to start on April 1 to people living in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick.
According to a spokesperson for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) the $3.4 million covered a direct mail-out, radio, digital, and print ad campaign.
According to an email statement by press secretary Emilie Gagnon, the campaign was launched to ensure Canadians “receive the credits and benefits to which they are entitled,” essentially to ensure that Canadians know they are aware of rebates.
The $3.4 million figure reported by CTV this week came as a result of an order paper question in the House of Commons specifically requesting a dollar sign amount to send the flyers to households across those four provinces.
The mail-outs alone came at a $1,016,345.74, but the government estimates that over $2,000,000 was spent on the ad campaign, with another $90,000 being spent on “research” and “post-campaign evaluation,” according to press secretary Emilie Gagnon.
According to the government, the final invoices for the ads and all the costs surrounding them are still yet to be calculated, so the figures provided are the planned expenses. All of this for an ad campaign that ran for 102 days between Feb 18 and April 30.
Ottawa is saying that the province-tailored mailouts were a success, pointing to the 97 percent uptake on the credit. For each province, a different message was given. In Ontario, the flyer highlighted the $307 a family of could receive from the “Climate Action Incentive payment.”
But the move to spend money to tell Canadians about their money, doesn’t seem right to many across the aisle.
“Only the Liberals would spend millions of taxpayer dollars to tell Canadians about a new tax. The reality is that the carbon tax is not as advertised,” said Brock Harrison, spokesperson for Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer.
“The Liberals have exempted big polluters and still haven’t come clean on how much it will cost Canadian families in higher costs for things like gasoline and groceries,” he added.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has also criticized Trudeau’s carbon tax leadership, for “giving out subsidies and tax breaks to the biggest polluters,” according to Singh.
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