Trudeau's Liberals at the department Global Affairs Canada used government resources to make video clips to promote the Canadian tradition of Halloween... to social media followers in Rome, Italy.
The documents were provided in response to an order paper question submitted on February 5, 2020 by Conservative Party MP Dean Allison (Niagara West).
Here's what Allison asked:
With regard to videos produced by the government for public distribution, since January 1, 2019: (a) what are the details of all such videos, including (i) date, (ii) duration, (iii) title, (iv) purpose, (v) intended audience; (b) for each video, what were the total expenditures, broken down by type of expense; and (c) through which Internet sites, social media platforms, television stations, or streaming sites was each video distributed?
A list of hundreds of social media videos were returned. Many described the type of content you would expect to be tweeted out by a government department, such as notes about French, English and Indigenous language resources.
But one, from Global Affairs Canada, stood out: a campaign to promote Halloween trick-or-treating in Italy.
Halloween in Italy
According to Trip Savvy, Italy does not recognize Halloween as a holiday. Rather, Italians celebrate All Saints' Day as a national holiday on November 1 with the follow-up All Souls' Day on November 2.
A local food, lifestyle and travel blogger at The Italian Guest states that since most of the focus of Halloween is preparation for All Saints' Day, it is “not as common” to celebrate Halloween in the same way as other western countries.
Best of Sicily Magazine states that “Halloween involves costume parties for young adults rather than gift giving or house-to-house ‘trick-or-treating’ for youngsters.”
“Canadians love Halloween!”
Global Affairs Canada produced a single video to post on their various Italian Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Along with the video, variations (in English and Italian) of the following was used:
Canadians love Halloween... They love the tricks, the treats and the films that make them scream!
The intended audience was listed as:
General public, ROME fan base
A search for "Halloween" returned no results from October 31, 2019 from both the @CanadaInItalia and @CanadaEnItalie Twitter accounts.
Video used copyrighted Hollywood content
You can still watch the video here on the Embassy of Canada to Italy Facebook page.
The clip is mostly comprised of videos from the following movies:
- Creature From the Black Lagoon
- Young Frankenstein
- Nightmare Before Christmas
None of which are Canadian.
Only a few seconds worth of Creature From The Black Lagoon made it to Canada in Italy's Instagram page @canada_it.
Cost: Zero dollars (not really)
Global Affairs noted that the video cost $0, because it was “Produced in-house using departmental resources.”
Since “departmental resources” are unlikely to cost $0, the videos did not cost $0. Global Affairs did not provide further information on staffer time used to stitch together their monster.
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