Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tories Prefer Not to Govern But Go On the Attack

Tanking in the polls and perhaps hoping to capitalize on the Dhalla affair, the Conservatives have decided that the economic crisis, the environment and massive unemployment are no longer a priority. They would much rather play politics, then attempt to tackle issues they are clearly not capable of handling.

So it was no surprise to learn today that they are about to launch an attack on Michael Ignatieff, going after the time he spent outside of Canada.

However, this could actually backfire. First off, Mr. Ignatieff's time out of the country was not spent in a Turkish prison. He has been teaching at Ivy League universities, writing award winning books, producing award winning documentaries and acting as a war correspondent, highly respected by his peers.

By bringing this issue up now, it will give Canadians a chance to come to terms with this, so I thank Stephen Harper for not giving a damn about us. If he did, we might not get to know the man that is Michael Ignatieff; the next Prime Minister of Canada. The position has been vacant since Paul Martin.

Stephen Harper played one on TV, while acting as the leader of the Conservative party. Sadly his play acting was not up to par so his show is about to be cancelled.

Tories target Ignatieff in new ads
By Kathleen Harris
Sun Media
May 13, 2009

OTTAWA - The Conservative Party is unleashing a sweeping ad assault on Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, declaring his "extended honeymoon" is over.

Senior Tories unveiled a series of bilingual Internet and television ads today, along with a new website that attempts to cast Ignatieff as an arrogant elitist who is only “visiting” Canada after a 34-year absence. They would not reveal the cost of the campaign, but called it a counter-attack to Liberal ads running on YouTube that slam Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government’s record.

"This is politics - you can't just attack and not expect to be attacked back," said one top Tory. "We're not in the business of unilateral disarmament."

Conservatives say the ads were crafted after extensive research with magazine and newspaper articles and BBC productions. They also carried out an “extensive market research project” that shows Canadians were “stunned” to learn the Liberal Leader was away for 34 years working in Britain and the U.S. Ignatieff, a former Harvard professor, has four advantages going for him: he is not Stephane Dion, he is regarded as a smart guy, he doesn’t have to be prime minister during an economic downturn and he is still unknown in Quebec. (What extensive research is that? I haven't heard one person say anything like that, other than members of the Conservative Party)

The television ads suggest Ignatieff would raise taxes and has returned to Canada in a self-indulgent bid to lead the country.

“He’s not in it for Canada – he’s in it for himself,” the ads state. (And when has any Conservative done anything for Canada except disgrace us?)

Ignatieff was officially crowned leader this month after serving as interim party chief to replace Dion. Liberals have been riding high in the polls, running neck-in-neck with the Tories nationally and gaining ground in the key battleground of Quebec.

The Conservatives warn this ad campaign — dubbed “The Free Ride Is Over” — is only the beginning.

"There's a lot more - this is the first step," said one Tory.

I had to come back and update this blog. I just watched the first Ignatieff attack ad and it actually made me laugh. Is that the best they've got? The ominous voice ... after 34 years ... ha ha ha. They are really desperate.

Remember when they called Obama arrogant? Remember when they called him an elitist? Remember when they accused him of spending time outside the country? And yet ... and yet....

UPDATE: After posting that the Tories would rather attack than govern, there was a related article printed recently in the Winnipeg Free Press that I thought I'd share.

Tories too busy with attack ads to govern
Not even tulip season can cover partisan rancour
Mia Rabson
Hill Talk
May 25, 2009

OTTAWA -- If you haven't been to Ottawa in early May, you are missing out on one of this country's most beautiful events. The annual tulip festival.

On every Canadian's bucket list should be a trip to Ottawa in spring time, when the city is blanketed with over three million of the king of spring flowers, spreading cheer and colour in every direction.

Rows and rows of bright red tulips emerge in the flower beds on Parliament Hill, throwing splashes of colour that make even the most cynical among us have to stop and stare for a moment. In Major's Hill Park, purple and yellow and pink tulips by the thousands glisten in the sunlight in the shadows of the Parliament Hill clock tower.

The National Capital Commission plants 300,000 tulips along the Rideau Canal alone, offering bikers and joggers on the pathways a true sign that spring has finally sprung.

The tulip festival, which claims to be the world's largest, developed after World War Two when Princess Juliana of the Netherlands sent 100,000 tulips to Canada as thanks for sheltering the Dutch royal family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

This year was the 58th anniversary of the festival. But the tulips are fleeting, and only last a few weeks, which makes the event all the more special.

The tulips are a nice distraction from the cynical world of politics that Ottawa is more known for.

A world that this week once again saw politicians take the airwaves to insult each other.

The Conservatives'
new ad campaign branding Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff a foreigner who can't possibly have an understanding of what Canadians are all about hit television screens with a vengeance this week.

In response, the Liberals put new ads on YouTube, accusing the Conservatives or ignoring real issues to attack their opponents.

As expected, Canadians in general rolled their eyes and claimed they hate negative advertising.

Unfortunately, attack ads will never be eliminated from politics, because as much as people say they hate them, negative ads tend to work.

Will most people who see the ads really think Ignatieff is "just visiting" Canada as the theme of the campaign suggests? Not likely. But it will plant seeds of doubt in some people's minds about his commitment or his knowledge and understanding of this country after he spent 34 years away from it.

What many Canadians may not have known is that two of the Prime Minister's senior communications staffers took a day off without pay from communicating the work of the government to hold a briefing with reporters to launch the ads.

They did this even though the party has its own communications people whose job is to promote the party not the government.

So why are PMO staff, who should have far better things to do, taking time off to hold a press briefing on the new ads?

One can't help but think if as much time and thought went into running the country as politicians seem to put into attacking each other and finding new ways to insult their opponents, they might not need to run negative ads. Because then they'd actually be getting real work done, and could then run positive ads showing off what they've done for us lately.

Negative ads may make someone less likely to vote for your opponent, but if you can show a voter that you actually created new jobs, or made it easier to find a doctor or afford a child-care space for your kid, that's going to make people more likely to vote for you.

Manitobans should be proud of their legal representatives who are front and centre in the Brian Mulroney public inquiry. Manitoba lawyer Richard Wolson was the talk of many in the national media for his handling of the cross-examination of Mulroney on the stand at the commission last week.

Manitoba Judge Jeffrey Oliphant, who is the commissioner for the inquiry, also was lauded for occasionally piping up with a biting question or potent observation.

The ads have already backfired in Quebec, so I don't think these negative ads have the same effect they once did. The NDP tried it in the last provincial election, giving the Liberals a majority.

Michael Ignatieff did not run counter-attack ads that were so personal. He merely defended himself. If he hadn't, the Conservatives would have seen it as a sign of weakness and gone in for the kill.

No comments:

Post a Comment