Anti-drug ad blitz cost government $7 million, documents show

Newly released figures show the Conservative government spent more than $7 million on a 12-week anti-drug advertising campaign that ended earlier this month.

More than Health Canada on ads for all other programs and services combined in 2013-14

The taxpayer-funded TV and Internet ads by Health Canada ran parallel to a partisan radio ad campaign, paid for by the Conservative party, that attacked Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau over his promise to legalize marijuana. (Youtube/Healthy Canadians (Health Canada) channel)

Newly released figures show the Conservative government spent more than $7 million on a 12-week anti-drug advertising campaign that ended earlier this month.

That's more money than Health Canada spent advertising all its programs and services combined in the previous 2013-14 fiscal year.

A government response to an order paper question by Liberal MP Scott Simms says the ad campaign to raise awareness of the harms of marijuana and prescription drug abuse among youth cost $7,026,822.

The campaign's target audience, according to the government response, was parents.

The taxpayer-funded TV and Internet ads by Health Canada ran parallel to a partisan radio ad campaign, paid for by the Conservative party, that attacked Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau over his promise to legalize marijuana.

The $7 million spent on the government's anti-pot ads dwarfed the $5.2 million Health Canada spent advertising in the previous year on a host of issues, including food safety, immunization, adverse drug reactions and the health and safety of Canadians.

Health Canada had approached three national medical organizations last summer to endorse the anti-drug campaign.

However the medical groups declined, stating publicly that they could not "support or endorse any political messaging or political advertising on this issue."

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