NDP attack ads blame Harper for 'worst deficit'
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2012 5:54PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 11, 2012 8:19AM EDT
The NDP is taking exception to the federal government’s claims of strong stewardship of the economy in new attack ads released Tuesday, which depict the prime minister as a grim-faced leader who has “created the worst deficit in Canadian history.”
The English ad, posted to the NDP’s website Tuesday afternoon, opens with the customary unflattering picture, in this case of Prime Minister Stephen Harper with a dewy face and a frown.
“Stephen Harper says the economy is ‘very fragile,’ and he’s right,” says a female voice that bears more than a passing resemblance to Halifax NDP MP Megan Leslie.
“Because after leading Canada into the worst recession of this generation, Conservatives have another economic downturn on their hands.”
As the ad nears its conclusion, an ominous drumbeat gets louder.
“What’s Stephen Harper’s solution? Attack the most vulnerable Canadians when they are most in need, with cuts to employment insurance, and cuts to your pension. Stephen Harper has created the worst deficit in Canadian history, and you are paying the price.”
A second, French ad with a similar message was also posted online.
The ads come after the Tories took aim at NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair in ads released late last month that also question the target’s economic record.
The Conservative ads accused the Opposition leader of having “some risky economic theories,” and criticized his use of the term “Dutch disease” to describe the economic impact of the oilsands in an interview.
Those ads popped up as poll results began to show the NDP either pulling even with, or slightly ahead of, the Conservatives.
Both parties’ ads indicate that they aren’t going to let the dog days of summer prevent them from keeping their base supporters motivated and engaged.
In the NDP’s case, the ads keep the focus on the economy, and on the prime minister.
"It's always an attempt to continue to re-frame Harper,” Queen’s University political communications expert Jonathan Rose told The Canadian Press. “And this is just an attempt to reinforce the message and also keep the base active and aware of what the key issues are."
The spots also indicate that attack ads may be here to stay in Canadian politics. The Conservatives upped the ante against Liberal leaders in recent years, dismissing Stephane Dion with the “not a leader” catchphrase, and suggesting that Michael Ignatieff was “just visiting.”