Not a fan of government monopoly health care? You're un-Canadian. Not big on easy unemployment benefits, official bilingualism, dismantling our military, beggaring our economy in the name of environmentalism, coddling criminals, huge public debts, activist judges, multiculturalism, foreign investment reviews, national energy policies and so on? Shame on you for being so un-Canadian.And, if we're talking about attack ads - then what do you think it this? A defense ad? Aired in the weekend preceding the 2004 election, the ad led to a massive swing from the NDP and the Bloc back to the Liberals. Yes, believe it or not, it was nothing but attack ads and negative campaigning that kept the Liberals in power back in 2004.
Now the Tories are using the Liberals' own tactic against them and the Grits are sputtering with indignation.
The big problem for the Liberals is that the Tory ads, while exaggerated, are largely true: Mr. Ignatieff left the country, more or less permanently, in the 1970s, lived away most of his adult life and showed no intention of returning until he was seduced back by the idea of becoming Liberal leader in 2005.
While he was away, Canada seems barely to have crossed his mind. For instance, in The New York Times, where he wrote opinion pieces for a time, he referred to "we" Americans.
Just three days before the election, both major parties were neck in neck in the polls, and a Conservative minority was predicted. (With almost no support in Quebec, Conservatives votes, roughly equal in number to the Liberal ones, would have spread over fewer ridings, winning more seats.) But then came the "two-minute-hate" attack ad against Harper and hoopla - the Liberals gain 6 points (5 from the NDP, 1 from the Bloc) and we're stuck with them for 19 more months. Talking about "attack ads never work" and "negative campaign is unacceptable"...
The funniest thing in Canadian politics is not that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and his merry little band of Grit-heads believe they have a divine right to portray Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives as planet-destroying, war-mongering, medicare-gutting, women-hating, Bible-thumping, knuckle-dragging, bigots.Sure, I'd rather see a positive ad; one that actually says "vote Conservative", rather than "don't vote Liberal". After all - when the Conservatives keep saying "don't vote Liberal" and the Liberals respond by saying "vote Liberal", we hear the word "Liberal" twice, while "Conservative" is never mentioned. But, as the 2004 election campaign has shown - you can't defend yourself with a cookie jar. If you want to win - you must be aggressive.
Nor is it their plaintive cries of "Oh, unfair!" when Harper responds in kind.
Recently, there has been much media venting of spleen over Harper daring to run a "negative attack ad," reminding Canadians that (a) Ignatieff stepped briefly outside the country ... for over 30 years (b) referred to himself as an American and (c) returned to Canada to become prime minister.
Uh... why is that an "attack ad?"