Saturday, May 16, 2009

Attack Ads

While the media probably doth protest too much about the new Tory attack ads, I'm much more interested in the message the Tories are trying to send. In English, the message is fairly simple and simplistic: Michael Ignatieff is a jet setting academic with no attachment to Canada. While Tony Clement and others may have to answer to the what's wrong with Algonquin Park question, there isn't much substance in the English ads. They really seem to be straight out of the John McCain playbook; they characterize the opponent as a foreign celebrity. While the polling seems to indicate that the tactic worked for McCain, I wonder if it will work for the Conservatives. Canadians lack of fervent nationalism (outside the hockey rink) generally means that they take a fairly positive view of other countries, particularly the UK. While that might not extend to the US, there are many Canadians who have worked in the states for part of their career. Moreover, many Canadian voters spent a large portion of their life abroad. The largest group is obviously new Canadians. I don't know how the "foreigner" attack plays on someone who personally comes from elsewhere, but I can't believe it's a winner. With ridings like Brampton-Springdale, Richmond and Mississauga-Erindale as possible battlegrounds next election, I can't say I understand the tactic. I wonder how much say Jason Kenney had in the ad choice.

In French, the ads are much more substantive and frankly better. The tag line "Qui Suis-Je?" is much more ominous than the lighthearted "Just Visiting." The French ads also attack Ignatieff on policy: everything from his early support for a carbon tax to his "French North Americans" comment. The bad news for the Tories is that even if these ads work, they may only give votes to the Bloc as the Tory ship appears to be sunk in Quebec.

1 comment:

William said...

I doubt the quisuisje movement will get anything more that many google searches on "Michael Ignateiff" in French.

Remember, on the Carbon Tax, Quebec has the highest degree of support for that approach. On the French in North America, I am wondering how much of an impact a statement made 15 years ago will hurt. I am hoping, and expecting not, as an LPC candidate in the province. Michael's position on the issue has evolved significantly, especially since his return to Canada.

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