Tuesday, June 9, 2009

CBC Got it Right. Harper Got it Wrong

The Conservatives have been spending $750,000.00 a week to try to annihilate Michael Ignatieff in the same way they did Stephane Dion. It was money well wasted.

As this country is in crisis on so many fronts, for the Canadian public to be assaulted in such a callous manner is both abhorrent and condescending.

How stupid does Stephen Harper think we are?

The entire crux of the ads is his implication that if you achieve greatness while outside Canada you are not a real Canadian.

Apparently he's never been to Canada's Walk of Fame or he would know that most of the names there are of people no longer living in this country, or who spent the bulk of their lives and professional careers outside of Canada. It doesn't make us any less proud of these individuals.

What would the movie industry had been like if Louis B. Mayer from Saint John, New Brunswick or London Ontario born Jack Warner, had decided not to leave? Or Toronto born Mary Pickford who became America's sweetheart? James Cameron, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg? Jim Carrey, Dan Ackroyd, Keanu Reeves, Kim Catrell ... the list is enormous.

If this was going to be his ace up the sleeve, he's apparently not playing with a full deck. This is not who Canadians are.

And then of course, there's his mining of all of Michael Ignatieff's award winning books, Ivy League schools' lectures and Gemini winning documentary. Taking comments out of context and cherry picking viewpoints when Ignatieff WAS A PRIVATE CITIZEN.

Two recent articles gave me hope that these ugly attack ads might discontinue. The first was learning that CBC refused to air them and the second a poll verifying that the Tories were on the wrong track.

CBC refuses to air Tories' anti-Ignatieff ads
By Glen McGregor,
Ottawa Citizen
June 4, 2009

OTTAWA — The Conservative party was unable to get television commercials aimed at Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation because the attack ads violated the network's long-standing ban on political advertising.

The Tories approached CBC officials before the launch of the "Michael Ignatieff: just visiting" campaign and were told that an internal policy prevented the network from accepting political ads outside of times of elections.

As are other broadcasters, CBC is required to provide a share of its airtime to political parties during the writ period, but can set its own rules outside it.

"We'll only accept political advertising like that when there is an election campaign on," CBC spokesman Jeff Keay said. "We have generally pretty strict guidelines."

The policy has been in place for many years and was reviewed a few years ago, Keay said.

It is unusual for political parties to advertise before or after an election
, but the Tories, flush with cash, effectively used a series of attack ads against former Liberal leader Stephane Dion before the 2008 campaign officially began.

The "just visiting" ads running on other networks attempt to portray Ignatieff as an opportunist who spent most of his adult life outside of Canada. The spots accuse him of having no plan for the economy and highlight a 1994 television interview in which he referred to the United States as "your country just as much as it is mine."

One Conservative source, speaking on background, said the party thought it was odd CBC would turn down its advertising dollars at a time when the network was struggling under financial pressures. CBC has had to reduce staff and programming as advertising revenues have plunged.

No other network refused to carry the Ignatieff ads, the source said. The TV spots have received heavy airplay in recent weeks, and the cost of the campaign is estimated in the millions of dollars.

Parties are free to spend as much as they like on advertising outside of election periods, but a Liberal senator last week introduced a bill to curtail pre-writ ads. Senator Dennis Dawson's bill would amend the Elections Act to require parties to count all advertising toward their cap on election spending.

Canadian small-c conservatives have long fumed over what they consider to be unfair restrictions on political advertising. Stephen Harper, when he led the National Citizens Coalition, went to court to challenge rules limiting third-party political advertising in a case indexed as "Harper versus Canada." (fitting title. Harper vs Canada. Kind of describes how he governs)

More recently, the Tories have battled with Elections Canada in court over the agency's refusal to reimburse candidates for the costs of radio and television ads from the 2006 federal election.

Negative Ads Not Helping Conservatives
Net News Ledger
Northwestern, Ontario
June 6, 2009

Thunder Bay, ON -- Often in politics, political parties re-use the same tactics over and over. The Liberals used the same tactics against the Conservatives until they were defeated in 2006. Now it appears that the attack ads the Conservatives are using against Michael Ignatieff are demonstrating that the Conservatives are going to the same well once too often.

Nik Nanos, of Nanos Research states, "Properly crafted and validated by the political target, negative ads can be a powerful political tool".

Research by Nanos on the impact of the recent Conservative ads attacking Michael Ignatieff indicates that in the short term they have not had a significant impact. A majority of Canadians consider the ads ineffective and believe that they reflect poorly on the Conservatives.

Nanos adds, "Of note, the ads have had a marginally negative impact on the impression of Michael Ignatieff primarily among committed Conservative and NDP voters.

However, the attack ads have had less of an impact in Atlantic Canada and in battleground Quebec. "Factoring the latest ballot numbers and the last six waves of Nanos tracking since the last election, the Conservative attack ads have not arrested the incremental trend which currently favours the Liberals.

The conclusion is that the ads have had no discernible short term impact in favour of the Conservatives. The long term negative impact on Ignatieff remains uncertain and merits further tracking over time. This may well be the first salvo in a narrative the Conservatives are hoping to explore".

Here is the information on the latest Nanos Poll: Methodology: Polling between May 26 and June 1, 2009. (Random Telephone Survey of 1,001 Canadians, 18 years of age and older). A survey of 1,001 Canadians is accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. For 626 respondents aware of the ad, the margin of accuracy is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Effectiveness of Ads Question: Would you say the ads were effective, somewhat effective, somewhat ineffective or ineffective? [Recall Only]
Effective 20%
Somewhat effective 15%
Somewhat ineffective 8%
Ineffective 53%
Unsure 4%

Considering that the Tories' base (mostly from the West) is about 35%, yet only 20% believe the ads were effective should also give Harper pause. The ads won't change their mind about voting Conservative, but do reveal that he may have to change his tactics even for those who claim to like him.

Impact of Ads on Impression of Ignatieff Question: Did the advertisement leave you with a positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or negative impression of Michael Ignatieff? [Recall only]
Positive 14%
Somewhat positive 3%
Neutral 45%
Somewhat negative 12%
Negative 22%
Unsure 4%

Impact of Ads on Impression of Conservative Party Question: Did the advertisement leave you with a positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or negative impression of the Conservatives who paid for the ad? [Recall only]
Positive 7%
Somewhat positive 3%
Neutral 20%
Somewhat negative 12%
Negative 53%
Unsure 6%

The Conservatives have opened the door for Michael Ignatieff to show Canadians what he has accomplished outside of the country. His is still unknown, while Harper is very well known, so it will be difficult to once again try to sell himself to us. I'm not buying.

No comments:

Post a Comment