City spends $30K on advertising Winnipeg's 2013 budget
City took out $30K worth of ads to advertise already-approved 2013 budget
Posted: Mar 14, 2013 1:16 PM CT
Last Updated: Mar 14, 2013 5:02 PM CT
The City of Winnipeg has spent $30,000 advertising a civic budget that was already approved.
The spending comes as a number of groups are feeling the sting from 2013 budget cutbacks.
Now, the city has spent $30,000 on advertising a budget that city council had already approved.
'In a day and age when we’re trying to find money throughout the city for different initiatives like arts groups and museums, I think it’s a lot.'—Coun. Paula Havixbeck
The ads ran in Winnipeg newspapers and a radio station and promoted spending on paramedics, pothole and pavement repairs.
In 2012, the city spent just over $35,000 on advertising the budget. In 2011, they didn't spend anything on advertising the budget.
Councillor disagrees with spending
Coun. Paula Havixbeck said she thinks the ads were a mistake.
“It’s pretty wasteful I think,” said Havixbeck.
“In a day and age when we’re trying to find money throughout the city for different initiatives like arts groups and museums, I think it’s a lot.”
She said she would’ve liked to have seen the funds spent more wisely.
'They feel they’ve got to be defensive in their approach, and they’ve got to manage the news the best they can'—Political studies professor Paul Thomas
Other major Canadian cities have chosen not to allocate money to similar ads.
Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver spent nothing on advertising their budgets this year.
City officials would not comment on the spending but said in an email the ads were to “inform citizens in a concise, accessible way about the city’s budget.”
Government advertising a growing trend
Paul Thomas is a political studies professor at the University of Manitoba. He said there is a growing trend among governments to spend money on advertising.
Thomas said governments feel they are in a tough position when it comes to communicating with the public.
“They feel they don’t get credit for their good work,” said Thomas.
“Any revelation that has the least hint of wrongdoing or mistake will be treated in the worst possible light.”
The Province of Manitoba spent $154,000 promoting its budget on TV, radio and newspapers, and the federal government has spent over $55 million since 2009 on commercials, signage and a website promoting its economic stimulus plan.
“They feel they’ve got to be defensive in their approach, and they’ve got to manage the news the best they can,” said Thomas.
Mayor featured in ads
Sam Katz’s picture and personal message are featured prominently in the newspapers ads, prompting some to ask if they are politically motivated.
Zach Fleisher and Peyton Veitch are in the University of Winnipeg’s Politics Students Society.Mayor Sam Katz is featured prominently in many of the ads. (Gary Solilak/CBC)
Fleisher isn’t impressed with Katz being part of the ad.
“It is unjust and unfair to use public funds and public resources to promote yourself,” he said.
Veitch said the ads come too close to the mayor’s recent announcement that he will likely run for re-election.
“It does raise a lot of questions around unfair incumbency advantages. Perhaps the mayor is leveraging that too much and being a little bit disingenuous with some of this advertising,” said Veitch.
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