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Online consultations ask feds to dump Economic Action Plan ads

Canadians who offered advice online in the runup to the 2014 federal budget had a consistent message for the Conservative government: dump those Economic Action Plan ads.

A so-called e-consultation organized by Finance Canada in the months before the Feb. 11 budget heard from almost 3,000 people, the highest participation of the last five years.

On the question of where the government might find savings to help balance the budget, a frequent answer was: "discontinue Economic Action Plan advertising."

And asked for general comments on the Economic Action Plan, respondents frequently gave the same answer: ditch the ads.

No special-interest-group campaign driving responses
A Jan. 27 internal report on the online consultations was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

The Finance Canada analysis noted that unlike previous years, there were no apparent special-interest-group campaigns driving the responses.

The 82-day consultation period began Nov. 7, and drew responses from all regions, also unlike previous consultations which were skewed regionally.

Participants were asked to volunteer information about their gender, income, location and occupation.

The results showed the typical respondent was a well-to-do, older man in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia -- not dissimilar to the Conservative caucus.

"The ratio of men to women contributors was almost 4:1," says the analysis, prepared for late finance minister Jim Flaherty.

"They self-reported as being between 40 and 60 years old with an average income of $100,000 or more." The most-common occupation cited was "professional," followed closely by employee, business person and retiree.

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Online consultations ask feds to dump Economic Action Plan ads