NDP watchdog calls for probe of anti-teacher newspaper ads

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Recently, a series of ads in three national newspapers described as anti-teacher caught the attention of the NDP ethics watchdog who has called for a probe. However, the PC government is denying any involvement and insists it has no idea who is behind these ads.

NDP ethics critic Taras Natyshak says the full-page advertisements violate the province’s election spending rules with two byelections currently underway in several Ottawa-area ridings, meaning third party political advertisers cannot spend more than $4,000 on advertising.

The advertisements, from a group calling itself Vaughan Working Families, say parents support the government during a tense round of contract talks with provincial teachers’ unions.

Natyshak says the advertisements mimic government speaking points and alleges partisan supporters may have purchased them.

A spokesperson for Ad Standards the national, not-for-profit, advertising self-regulatory body explained that the ads in question fell under “political advertising,” which is outside the purview of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.

He says most of the complaints received publicly through social media were not about the content of the advertising, but that the named advertiser — Vaughan Working Families — is not the actual advertiser.

As of now, it is unclear who purchased the full-page, colour ads as there is no contact information listed for Vaughan Working Families.

Natyshak calls the group that bought the ads an anonymous and shady shell organization and says their intention is not to help the negotiations between the province and the teachers’ unions.

All four major unions have been engaged in escalating job actions in recent weeks as bargaining with the government appears to have made little progress.

Whoever is behind these ads must have some pretty deep pockets given that the cost of placing the ads could be in the range of $50-$80,000. -CINEWS

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