Canada's Most Interesting Promotional Items (Such As Foam Chickens)
Last week, Canadian member of Parliament Arnold Vierson requested a breakdown of promotional products that the government gave out. While typical, run-of-the-mill items, like Canadian flags, were on the list, Vierson also found that the government used more, let's say, interesting items, like foam chickens, cuff links, fake tattoos and "'Nuclear Watchdog' fidget toy dogs."
According to the CBC, Heritage Canada spent more than $780,000 between Nov. 4, 2015, and April 22 of this year. Here are some of the promotional items that our Northern friends gave away during that time:
- Farm Credit Canada, which returns annual dividends to the government, spent more than $500,000 on stress balls in the shapes of chickens, pigs and cows.
- The immigration department purchased 330,000 paper Canadian flags, which is more than the amount of immigrants to the country in 2016.
- The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission spent more than $1,100 on the aforementioned "fidget dog toys," and more than $300 on color-changing mood pens.
- Diplomats at Global Affairs Canada spent more than $116,500 on cuff links (which were worn by 12 ministers at a finance meeting), neckties, tie tacks and Canada-themed temporary tattoos (presumably not worn by 12 ministers at a finance meeting).
This isn't the first time we've seen politicians who were wary about the extent of their governments' promotional spending. In March, we reported that the Texas state government spent too much taxpayer money on promotional items. Last year, Oklahoma government staffers said they wanted to fill a hole in the budget by eliminating promotional spending.
In 2011, President Obama signed an executive order to decrease federal funding on promotional products by 20 percent. That same year, California Gov. Jerry Brown banned the state from purchasing promotional products.
Trevor Sutter, a spokesperson for Farm Credit Canada, told the CBC that the corporation's business is doing well, and that promotional products are a part of the finance game. He added that the corporation earns back about 17 percent of the cost of the promotional items through discounted sales to employees and partners.