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Ad campaign aimed to close 'credibility gap' for BC government

Early BC Jobs Plan advertising "helped decrease the credibility gap" for the government, according to a BC Liberal caucus document obtained and released by the New Democratic Party opposition.

The document outlines the goals of the campaign that started in September and is set to go until the end of March. The strategy was to "overcome the knowledge gap and build pride and emotion for BC's economic and fiscal record," according to the document.

"What this document says plainly is the premier and the Liberal party are spending $16 million to fix a credibility gap they have at a time when a lot of people are struggling," said NDP leader Adrian Dix. "They're using the contingency budget of the government to pay for advertising right now, and we're going to change that."

The NDP will propose legislation that would prohibit government-funded advertising in the four months ahead of an election, with the exception of ads needed to deal with emergencies such as forest fires, said Dix.

Asked whether the Liberal caucus has a leak, Premier Christy Clark said she hadn't seen the document in question and "I don't know where it came from."

Clark said the campaign has successfully promoted the BC Jobs Plan Facebook site. "A million people visiting the site, that's confirmation the ads are working," she said. "These ads are connecting people with jobs. Despite the fact we're getting into an election season, I am still determined to govern the province."

The $12.7 million in advertising outlined in the document includes $4.1 million to promote the government's budget, which is to be released Feb. 19.

The NDP spent the bulk of the first question period since the legislature last sat in May, 2012, asking about the government's advertising spending.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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