There's a new radio ad coming at you through the ether, zipping about as electromagnetic waves.
When it hits an antenna, it resolves into sound, then into concentrated political horse hooey.
This is an ad that is in no way about the BC Liberals and the NDP. Nope, nothing to do with the down-in-the-polls government of Premier Christy Clark, and with no relation whatsoever to still-ahead NDP leader Adrian Dix.
But if it isn't about them, what is it about?
Dubbed "Dominoes" it's a 30-second warning about the dangers of ... something.
"Unstable government policies have hurt people around the world," says our narrator, his voice conveying the seriousness of his message. "Big government, careless spending, and quick fixes have caused economies to collapse, affecting families, businesses, and communities worldwide."
Whoa! This is a warning of immediate danger! Where are we going with this? What countries? What governments? Are we talking the level of "collapse" you see in Zimbabwe or North Korea, or a savage recession like the one in Greece or Spain? It couldn't be here!?!
Who knows? Having thrown in the scare, the ad is moving on, to sunny music and an upbeat message.
"But uncertainty stops at British Columbia," says the ad. "We're standing strong, by controlling government spending, keeping taxes low, and investing in skills training."
Ah, so clearly this is a Liberal political ad, warning us in no uncertain terms not to kick them out this May.
But there's one final twist! The ad is apparently for the BC Jobs Plan, the website of which it half-heartedly plugs, before letting you know that it's paid for by your provincial government.
You could have fooled me.
The Liberals have been getting slagged for months for their happy-happy-joy-joy BC Jobs TV ads. The NDP's Dix has flat out said that if he wins, he'll ban this type of blatantly partisan advertising using the limitless barrel of government money - the Liberals in Ontario have apparently already done this.
I asked the government for some information about the whys, wherefores, and costs of this lovely campaign of scare mongering. I did not get a lot of solid answers.
I was told that who wrote it will not be released - although previous Freedom of Information requests have revealed that the government was apparently worried that focus groups showed people thought there weren't a lot of jobs out there! Oddly, the young and unemployed seemed to hold this view more strongly.
You know what's a good way to make people less worried about jobs? Creating jobs instead of talking about it ad nauseum!
But the ministry did say that visits to the BC Jobs Plan website are way up since the ads started running! Which is useless for people looking for work, since those without a job are directed to a completely different site, Work BC. Yes, we have a site called BC Jobs Plan that does not contain any listings for, you know, jobs.
As for how much the radio ads cost, I was told this:
"This ad buy is not complete at this time and is subject to change, so we do not release this information until the ad has been completed."
Translation: a sack of cash so big you could use it to beat a walrus to death.
I hope Dix is serious about banning this form of sound pollution, because I do not want to be re-running this column about NDP government ads four or five years from now.
Matthew Claxton is a reporter with the Langley Advance.
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