With election season coming, B.C.’s airwaves already awash in attack ads

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Pre-election attack ad campaigns begin in B.C.
Ahead of the B.C. provincial and federal elections, political parties and third-party groups are launching attack ad campaigns, and a lot more are expected in the weeks and months to come. Richard Zussman reports. And legislative bureau chief Keith Baldrey has more on why the ads are so effective. – Jun 14, 2024

It’s still months until B.C.’s provincial election and more than a year until the federal writ drops, but you wouldn’t know it tuning into the province’s airwaves.

Political attack ads are already flying fast and furiously, aiming at both the federal and provincial levels.

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MLA Elenore Sturko quits BC United to join Conservatives

One Conservative Party of Canada ad prominently features several B.C. cities, focusing on homeless encampments and street disorder as it takes aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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It’s a message CPC Leader Pierre Poilievre is expected to hew closely to ahead of an expected 2025 federal election.

“Where were they eight years ago, where were they nine years ago?” Poilievre said of the encampments.

“We need to reverse the damaging liberal NDP policies that have caused so much poverty, drug addiction, homelessness and malnutrition.”

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While the ad targets the federal Liberal government, the issues at play will also be on the minds of voters come B.C.’s October provincial election.

BC Conservative Leader John Rustad has been using the opportunity to pitch some of his policy ideas.

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Unofficial kick-off to BC NP election campaign

“The hope is to turn places like safe injection sites into recovery intake sites,” he said, adding a Conservative government may go further when it comes to people who have overdosed.

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“We need to be able to get them into recovery, and they may end up having to be involuntary recovery.”

But it’s not just those on the right getting involved in the early war of the airwaves.

An unidentified third party has begun running an ad targeting Rusdad and BC United Leader Kevin Falcon, in an effort to link them to former BC Liberal premier Christy Clark.

Both Falcon and Rustad served in Clark’s cabinet.

B.C.-based political strategist Mike McDonald said the ad suggests to him that those in the NDP camp are concerned about losing support in the battleground suburbs to the upstart provincial Conservative party.

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BC United announces free shingles vaccines as part of campaign

“Not a lot of British Columbians know a lot about John Rustad, but they do know what Conservative means in general terms,” he said.

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Many people may not know the provincial party or its leader well, meaning the race is on from both sides to define Rustad to voters before the election.

The BC Greens are also running a film-noir-inspired spot targeting the province’s LNG sector.

With the clock now ticking down to the vote, McDonald said voters can expect the political ads to increase in frequency and intensity.

“We’re about 90 days out now from the start of the election, and coming out of Labour Day it will reach a fever pitch when people are back and starting to dial in,” he said.

“And all the parties will have to be ready for that moment or else there’s going to be a one-sided discussion.”

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