Mr. Speaker, last month I asked a question concerning advertising. I was quite concerned about the amount of money that was being spent on advertising. It is a very important issue because it has risen to over $89 million, perhaps heading skyward to $100 million. What is really important is that it has more than doubled since 2005-06.
There are many things we could be spending money on. We are talking about close to $100 million. When we look at advertising during the Olympics or the Academy Awards, these are some of the highest rating times. The highest rating times means they are times with the highest opportunity to spend money.
When we look at some of the advertising dollars being spent, of course anything over a certain level has to be evaluated. The most recent evaluation that we have details on was for the economic action plan. I support ensuring that Canadians know about some of the things we are doing, such as, anything the public needs to understand how to apply for, but many of these things deal with government programs.
One program in particular the government did a lot of advertising for that was evaluated was in regard to tax relief. It was about how the Conservative government was providing a lot of tax relief for individuals and families, but it was shown during the evaluation that the campaign was intended to increase the number of Canadians who believe that the Government of Canada was committed to doing these things for itself. It was more around the idea that the Conservatives were advertising to promote themselves rather than being information for Canadians.
The third point I want to raise is the whole issue concerning secrecy and lack of transparency. Recently, there was a request by the media to ensure that there was full disclosure of spending on advertising. A senior member of a minister's office actually blocked the information that was to be provided in response to the media request. The official determined that it was about to be released and there was a hold put on that information release by a senior member of a ministerial department.
When we take all of these things in totality, it shows a lack of transparency, a push toward ensuring that the Conservative government has a lot of advertising during prime time, not necessarily for the benefit of Canadians but more for the benefit of the Conservative Party. That was the nature of my question.
My question was really around the whole idea of how difficult it is to find out how close to $100 million are being spent. The redress to my question said it was $89 million. That is what we knew at that particular time. We see that type of money being spent on advertising and there is no money being spent on some of the areas that are critical to Canadians, like child care and home support.
Those are the kinds of programs that Canadians really care about. I know that because I conduct many round tables in my riding and have a lot of interactions with the people in my riding. They are certainly not looking for more government advertising. They are looking for more programs and assistance during what have been some of the most difficult economic times.
The nature of my question is, how are we going to ensure that we have value for money for advertising and that the advertising dollars will be spent in better ways for Canadians?