Roy Green: Nothing novel about political attack ads
The Conservative Party of Canada’s unveiling of a series of five 30-second “attack ads” on Justin Trudeau is ruffling the feathers of the prime minister’s support base.
The adds are designed to focus viewers on what the CPC insists is Trudeau’s, at best, inconsistent relationship with the truth.
Why should anyone be upset? Attack ads are hardly novel during the countdown to elections — and particularly not this federal election with its myriad of just waiting to be unleashed claims that “the honourable members opposite” are neither honourable nor deserving of remaining as members opposite.
Even supporters of the prime minister would have to concede he has, through his actions, made himself a particularly inviting subject for his opponents.
There’s Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott, confirmed ethics violations, a disastrous India excursion, stewarding legislation safeguarding Canadian citizenship for convicted terrorists of dual nationality, arguably being the architect of increasing feelings of alienation bordering on hostility toward Ottawa from Western Canada, coupled with a stumbling and damaging national energy policy. And that’s the short list.
The Liberal return of fire has consisted mainly of accusing the Tories of having no climate protection policy. There is Trudeau’s empty threat of a libel suit against federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, as well as accusations Scheer and Ontario Premier Doug Ford head some kind of alt-right racist cabal.
WATCH BELOW: This is one of five TV ads the Conservatives will run across the country
The CPC attack ads are well designed and presented at a time when national polling suggests Trudeau and the Liberals are vulnerable and tumbling quickly as far as national voter appeal is concerned.
No doubt the LPC will fire off its own salvos of negativity primarily against the Conservatives, likely trying to draw a straight line between Scheer and Stephen Harper. That may, though, become a case of “be careful what you wish for.”
Not to be forgotten are the New Democrats and their new leader Jagmeet Singh. The NDP will have to position itself with voters as many of its incumbent and well-known MPs will not be in the running for the Oct. 21 vote. New Democrats must draw orange-red voters to their tent and what might perhaps be the most effective way to do so? Attack ads.
That leaves Elizabeth May and the Greens. No attack ads are likely from the party, but should May persuade Wilson-Raybould and perhaps Philpott to enter the fray as Green Party candidates, no attack ads will be necessary. Their presence and campaigning will do that job nicely.
Attack ads in 2019 are an inevitable and expected component of any election and at a time when the polarization of opinion is as entrenched as it is now, we might well prepare for audio-visual assaults the likes of which we haven’t encountered previously.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.
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