WATCH: (Jun. 11, 2014) Finger pointing between the two parties with a chance at forming government are not likely to do anything to avoid what may well be another low in Ontario voter turnout.
TORONTO – In the 36 hours leading up to Ontario’s election, the political parties hoping to win your vote were busy accusing each other of not playing fair.
In a flurry of press releases Tuesday and Wednesday Liberals and Progressive Conservatives accused their opponents of dirty tricks ranging from voter misdirection to a depiction of Tim Hudak as a Batman villain to ripping down opponents’ signs and advertising after the imposed blackout.
The Tories accused York-Centre Liberal candidate Monte Kwinter and his staff Wednesday afternoon of tearing down PC street signs. The Tories video “proof,” however, just shows someone tugging at a lawn sign.
The Liberals responded saying the Tories had actually put up an illegally placed sign.
“In hindsight, our campaign volunteers should have called a City bylaw officer instead of taking matters into their own hands when they attempted to remove the illegal sign,” the statement from Monte Kwinter said.
The Liberals also accused the Tories of trying to “distract from their 100,000 job cuts.”
Watch: Alleged video of Monte Kwinter staff member trying to rip down a Tory sign.
Earlier that day, the Tories accused the Liberals of breaking election rules by still having ads posted online during the 36-hour pre-election blackout.
But an ad for Tim Hudak could be found online, hours after his campaign complained about the Liberal mistake.
The Tories accused the Liberals overnight of depicting Tim Hudak as a “murdering terrorist” by using an image of him superimposed from a scene in The Dark Knight. The Liberal candidate whose campaign sent it out has since apologized.
The Liberals accused the Tories of directing voters to a nonexistent polling location in London on Wednesday. The Tories apologized, saying this was just an “administrative error.”
Why the deluge?
“The blackout has started. They’ve got to do earned [advertising] because they can’t do paid anymore,” said political strategist Warren Kinsella. “When it’s so tight, you’ve got to figure out anyway you can to move the needle.”
There’s nothing new about campaigns employing“dirty tricks” to get attention. Kinsella suggested the perpetrator is usually a young volunteer who thinks they’re doing something helpful.
“It’s the most idiotic thing to do on earth but it’s been happening since time immemorial. What’s noteworthy… is everybody is focusing on these things when normally they just look the other way.”