Conservative Party spends $71k in 7 days on Facebook ads touting climate plan

Conservative Party spends $71k in 7 days on Facebook ads touting climate plan
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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The Conservative Party of Canada has spent $71,000 advertising its new climate plan on Facebook over the past week.

According to publicly available transparency data pulled by Marie Oakes of the Westphalian Times, the party sponsored a series of paid ads from leader Erin O'Toole's Facebook page. The ads solely focused on O'Toole's highly publicized “Conservative climate change plan.”

The data showed that from April 26–May 2, O'Toole's official page had spent $70,960 on ads about “social issues, elections or politics.” The eight ads that were pictured all had boasted about how the party was serious about fighting climate change, protecting the environment and meeting the goals set out in the United Nations Paris Agreement.

One ad said the party was “serious about fighting climate change to protect our environment for future generations of Canadians,” and featured a snippet from a headline of a Globe and Mail story. Another with very similar wording pulled a quote from a National Post story in reaction to the party's proposal. An ad written in French, with similar language as the English ones, honed in on a CBC Radio Canada graphic that touted the Conservative Party leader's historic recognition of putting a price on pollution.

After pushing for a stronger focus on climate issues during his speech at the Conservative Party convention, O'Toole was rebuked by party members the day following when they rejected a motion to add “climate change is real” to party policy in a 54 to 46 per cent vote.

O'Toole's climate plan has drawn criticism from those in conservative circles, particularly given his past commitment to scrap Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's carbon tax.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation slammed O'Toole for breaking a pledge he signed with the group during the leadership campaign.

That pledge read:

I, Erin O’Toole promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.

Responding to O'Toole's backtrack, Franco Terrazzano, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Alberta director, described it as “outrageous” that O’Toole was “now planning to hammer Canadians with higher fuel bills through his very own carbon tax,” adding “when he was running for leader, O’Toole pledged to taxpayers that he would fight carbon taxes. If he goes through with this scheme, he will be breaking his promise to Canadians.”

Despite failing to win the last election, the Conservative Party could find solace in the fact that it did score the largest number of votes. However, since O'Toole became leader — having run on a “true blue” style platform — the party has fallen well behind Trudeau's Liberal Party in polling.

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