With just weeks to go before Parliament breaks for the summer and campaigning begins in earnest, all three federal parties have released new political ads with the upcoming election in mind.

The Conservative Party of Canada issued two new TV spots, one of which bears a striking resemblance to an NDP ad that made the rounds during the 2011 Manitoba provincial election.

The Conservatives’ new ad features four people sitting at a boardroom table, discussing Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s resume. One woman points out that Trudeau sent in his picture and wonders why his resume doesn’t include anything about “balancing a budget or making a payroll.”

“Didn’t he say budgets balance themselves?” another woman at the table asks.

The group then scoffs at Trudeau’s stance on marijuana and his plan to get rid of income splitting for tax purposes. They decide that Trudeau is “just not ready” to be a prime minister.

“I’m not saying no forever, but not now,” one of the women says.

“Nice hair, though,” a man at the table concludes.

The Manitoba New Democrats ran a very similar ad in 2011 attacking then-Progressive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen.

In that ad, four people at a boardroom table discuss McFayden’s qualifications following a job interview and decide that he’s “too big a risk” to run the province.

“Nice suit, though,” a young man at the table says at the end.

The new Tory ad is also notable for its softened criticism of Trudeau, public relations strategist Laura Babcock said.

Suggesting that Trudeau could be prime minister one day – “but not now” -- indicates the Conservatives recognize that many Canadians like the Liberal leader and would not respond positively to attack ads that demonize him, said Babcock, the president of PowerGroup Communications.  

“When you try to make Trudeau look like something that Canadians don’t believe him to be, it’s a waste of money,” she told CTV News Channel Monday. “To try to paint him as something too Hollywood or too vacuous isn’t really working.”

Meanwhile, the new federal NDP ad features the owners of a coffee shop and a dry cleaning business, along with leader Thomas Mulcair talking about his “middle class values.”

Babcock said the ad “doesn’t do very much” except establish that, unlike Trudeau, Mulcair has middle class roots.

She said the spot aims to connect Mulcair with Canadians who may still associate the NDP with his popular predecessor, the late Jack Layton.

The Liberals have opted for two different ads. The first was posted on Facebook, and it focuses on one day – May 7 – of bad press for the Harper government, including a promotional video snafu and more allegations introduced during the Mike Duffy trial.  


Secrecy, unfairness, lack of transparency, disdain for the Charter – all in a day’s work for the Harper government. It’s time for #fairness.

Posted by Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada on Sunday, 24 May 2015

The other ad features a family of five meeting with Trudeau in their home. In a voiceover, Trudeau says Canadian families have had to make financial sacrifices under Harper’s rule and he touts the Liberals' expanded, tax-free child benefit.