Those who visit the website suggested in the ad will be presented with the headline: "Conservative government fulfills commitment to reduce GST to 5 per cent." It sits above a picture of Prime Minister Stephen Harper announcing the tax cut on New Year's Eve at the same consumer electronics store in Mississauga where he originally promised to cut the GST during the 2005-06 election campaign.It would appear beyond doubt that if there was actually any need for Canadians to call the number in response to the ads, then the employees responsible for answering the number would have been trained to provide the needed response. Instead, it doesn't seem that Service Canada was given any information at all.
Calling the phone number, which is a general-inquiries line at Service Canada, may cause some confusion among the lower ranks of the federal civil service.
NDP MP Charlie Angus said the young man answering the telephone was "gobsmacked" when he asked how he could get a better deal on his coffee.
"It took him about seven minutes and he came back and he told me that he drank coffee himself and that he had calculated it and - not to worry - I would get 1 per cent off the GST," said Mr. Angus. "If that is costing the taxpayers $650,000, we are getting hosed."
Which makes it clear that the only information which the Cons ever planned to provide through the ad campaign would more properly have been dealt with as party advertising rather than a government expense. And with the Cons now managing to pile an added layer of waste on top of what was already a poor policy choice, there's all the more reason for voters to want to replace them with a government which actually considers whether its actions are the slightest bit useful for Canadians as a whole.