Tory ads warn of Mulcair’s ‘risky economic theories’
Published Monday, June 25, 2012 6:45PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 26, 2012 7:25AM EDT
With recent polls suggesting the New Democrats have crept ahead of the Conservatives in popular support, the Tories released attack ads against NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair Monday that accuse the Opposition of having “some risky economic theories.”
Two 30-second spots, one in English and one in French, were posted to the Conservative Party’s website and to YouTube, although it’s still unknown whether either will appear on Canadian television screens.
In the English ad, an ominous voice decries a recent interview in which Mulcair blamed the oilsands for an elevated Canadian dollar and the decimation of the country’s manufacturing sector.
“They think strong growth in some industries is a disease that actually needs to be slowed down with more taxes and higher prices,” the ad intones, referring to Mulcair’s use of the term Dutch disease, so coined for a natural gas find in the Netherlands that was blamed for manufacturing industry declines in the 1960s.
“Their dangerous economic experiments include a carbon tax that will raise the price of everything including gas, groceries and hydro,” the ad warns against black-and-white footage of Mulcair.
The English ad also accuses the NDP of opposing trade agreements the government is currently negotiating.
“Risky theories. Dangerous economic experiments. We can’t afford Mulcair’s NDP,” the add concludes.
The ads come as polls show the New Democrats have a slight edge over the Conservatives.
A Nanos Research poll released earlier this month found that 33.6 per cent of respondents support the New Democrats, while 33.5 per cent support the Conservatives.
When the poll was released, Nanos said it was the first time in the company’s tracking history that the NDP had a numerical edge over the Tories.
Strategist Goldy Hyder of Hill + Knowlton said the ads put the attack in “Conservative territory,” the economy.
“It’s the reason this prime minister has won his majority government, people trust him on the economy,” Hyder told CTV’s Power Play on Monday.
“And they’re saying, ‘Let’s go at it on the economy. This is your view, this is our view.’ And I think the dichotomy is going to be very, very strong and it’s going to play itself out over the coming months.”
NDP strategist Anne McGrath agreed that “there’s a legitimate debate” to be had between the NDP and the Conservatives on the economy. However, she predicted that ads from several months ago that introduced Mulcair to Canadians have partially stunted the Tories’ ability to define the NDP leader.
“I think they’re also probably not going to work in the same way that they did work with some of the Liberal leaders,” McGrath told Power Play, citing ads from the last election that dismissed former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff as “just visiting,” and recent ads on interim leader Bob Rae’s record as premier of Ontario.
Strategist Greg MacEachern said the ad’s impact will only truly be measured if it appears on television.
But the ad may be too late, he said, as NDP fortunes are already on the rise.
“The NDP have been just growing and growing and growing in the polls,” MacEachern told Power Play. “They may have missed their opportunity to define Mulcair, while they were busy focused on Bob Rae. How did that work out? Bob Rae’s not running.”