The Harper government spent more than $100,000 staging a one-hour event in June to deliver an update on its efforts to help the recession-ravaged economy.

Invoices obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act show a nominal bill to taxpayers of $108,000 for the carefully scripted “town hall” meeting in Cambridge.

The June 11 event turned what the opposition Liberals had hoped would be an uncomfortable exercise in government transparency into a slick campaign-style rally for Conservative party faithful.

Critics say it’s just the latest example of what they’re calling a Tory penchant for leveraging public money for partisan gain.

“It fits in with a whole pattern with this government where they are basically using tax dollars to promote themselves to voters,” said Gerry Nicholls of the web portal Libertaspost.com.
“That’s clearly wrong. It’s clearly a waste of tax dollars.”

The Cambridge event provided the second of the four reports the Liberals demanded last January as the price of their support for the recession-fighting federal budget.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper took the Liberal challenge and ran with it, transforming what could have been a dry accounting exercise in the House of Commons into a major audio-visual road show.