Conservatives are in way over their heads with attacks on Trudeau

Julian Wolfe
April 17th, 2013

Justin Trudeau started his first day as Liberal leader on Monday and as expected, the Conservatives launched their attack the same day. The attack, like all of their attacks, takes footage out of context in an attempt to smear Trudeau’s image. However, not only are the ads backfiring, it appears the Conservatives have gotten themselves way in over their heads with this attack that faces copyright issues with The Huffington Post.

The Conservative attack engine is at it again, but this time their message is weak and the response is overwhelming. While their ads against former Liberal leaders Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff may have been effective, their ads against NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, and now Liberal leader Justin Trudeau are a bust.

The ads take footage from Trudeau’s striptease for his charity work with the Canadian Liver Foundation and attempt to use it to ridicule Trudeau’s judgement. This footage was taken from the Huffington Post who say they have launched a complaint as the Conservatives had no authorization to use the footage. In the English version ads, CTV footage of Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s struggle with the separatists was used to try to make Justin look divisive when he was actually describing the mentality of separatists at the time.

“The video clip was taken from The Huffington Post Canada without permission. (HuffPost is making its concerns known to the Conservative Party.)”

Huffington Post

The ads are no surprise to Trudeau, he in fact announced they would happen in his victory speech Sunday night. If anything, not only do these ads stoop to a new low, they play right into Trudeau’s future messaging which will be effective as several factors wane on the Conservative government. These ads don’t have a concrete message and they serve as dismiss-able and desperate attempts at a smear.

Trudeau remained focused on his message in Question Period, one that attacked Harper’s hidden tax hikes.

“When middle-class Canadians go into a store to buy a tricycle, to buy school supplies, to buy a little red wagon for their kids, they will pay more because of a tax in this government’s budget.”

Trudeau also managed to respond to the attack ads promptly.

“Will he [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] show good judgement, admit it is a tax and repeal this tax on middle-class Canadians?” Trudeau asked in Question Period.

“That Mr. Harper and the Conservatives want to change the channel like that, want to talk about anything but their record, is no surprise,” Trudeau told journalists. “But I’m going to keep talking about what matters to Canadians.”

The Conservatives then attacked his striptease for charity, saying in a statement, “We believe Justin Trudeau’s eagerness to perform a strip-tease, regardless of the venue or putative cause, says something about his judgement.”

Trudeau responded saying, “I was glad to offer them my shirt.”

The Canadian Liver Foundation defended Trudeau, releasing a statement that says,

“Mr. Trudeau was willing to not only attend our event but also generously donate a lunch to be auctioned off to raise funds for liver disease research and education.” They go on to say they raised $1,900.

The media also responded with editorials from the National Post, the Toronto Star, and the Huffington Post dismissing the ads as backfired. CTV has acted to point out where the Conservatives used their footage out of context, something that wasn’t done when previous Liberal leaders were attacked.

Meanwhile, polls only show an upswing for Trudeau. The recent Nanos poll gives the Liberals a 4 point lead. A forum poll released on Monday put the Liberals at 43% followed by the Conservatives at only 30%. These numbers indicate the Liberals could get a minority or majority government if an election were held today.

With polls supporting Trudeau, a strong negative response towards the Conservatives, it appears they are in way over their heads with this attack.

With a recent International Monetary Fund report ranking Canada as the slowest of 20 countries outside Europe in economic growth, after their ad stating that they have the “Strongest Job Creation Record in the G7”, it is safe to say that a Conservative government eager to use an economic track record as “experience” shows Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s judgement and how he and his Finance Minister Jim Flaherty are in way over their heads.

What do you think of the Conservative ads? Do you think they are effective? Will they backfire? Have they already backfired?

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On Monday, the longest campaign in modern history will come to a close and if current polls are any indication, Canada may be seeing a change in government after 9 years of Conservative rule under the leadership of Stephen Harper. Accountability was his calling card in 2006 and today, accountability may very well be one of the defining reasons for his departure.

In its length, in its cost and in its debate schedule, this election is unusual. The first and possibly only real debate of the campaign ended and here are the highlights of what happened.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper left Rideau Hall this morning with Governor General David Johnston’s approval to drop the writ and Canadians are now officially headed to the polls on October 19. For the first time since fixed election date legislation was brought in by the Conservative government, a fixed election date has been followed.

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