Oh my goodness gracious the Liberal leader is promoting himself on TV. Where will all this Liberal wickedness end. Iggy even seems to be trying to make himself warm and human like Harper without the blue sweater. We even have echoes of the Green Shift with the attractive forest glade setting in the background of one ad. Perhaps a view of an oil Sands development would be more appropriate and attract a few Albertan votes!
Tories accuse Ignatieff of promoting self on TV
September 07, 2009 Susan DelacourtOttawa Bureau
OTTAWA–An election may be weeks, even months away, but the Liberals' campaign enters the warm-up phase on the airwaves today, with a $2 million series of TV ads intended to showcase leader Michael Ignatieff to Canadians.
Three of the ads were unveiled yesterday on Facebook and YouTube, and Conservatives immediately retaliated with accusations that Ignatieff is trying to make the next election all about him.
The one English-language ad revealed yesterday, titled "Worldview," is in part a reply to the Conservatives' own ad campaign of earlier this year, which attempted to discredit Ignatieff for his lengthy career abroad in Britain and the United States.
Clad in a blue shirt, speaking in a forest glade, Ignatieff casts himself as a man of the world, with sights set beyond the country's borders.
"Wherever I've worked, I've met Canadians who were the best the world has to offer," he says. "We need a new way of thinking; a government that thinks big, that has a global perspective, invests in Canadians, gets their ideas to market, reaching out to India and China to build the economy of tomorrow. I know Canadians can take on the world and win."
This escalation of campaign manoeuvring by the Liberals follows Ignatieff's declaration last week that the party would look for the first available opportunity to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government and would no longer help keep Conservatives in power.
That leaves Harper in need of the New Democrats or Bloc Québécois for support in the Commons this fall – a prospect that looked unlikely last week. If Harper can't find one political party to work with him in Parliament, the government could fall soon after the Commons returns to work next week.
Canadians would be heading back to the polls just one year after last fall's election, which Harper provoked because he said Parliament was unworkable.
In effect, the Liberals have launched a two-pronged strategy with last week's declaration. One is a communications effort, intended to fight Conservatives but also, equally importantly, to rouse spirits and pull the Liberals off the defensive, where they have been languishing for more than three years.
One of the Liberals' largest problems in last year's campaign, for instance, was the 800,000-plus Liberal voters who stayed away from the polls altogether.
The other part of the strategy is tactical, aimed at either defeating the government or getting the NDP or Bloc to bear the blame for keeping Conservatives in power when Parliament resumes next week.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney called the Liberal ad campaign merely an attempt to "rehabilitate" Ignatieff's reputation, but said Canadians wouldn't fall for the "ruse."
"Michael Ignatieff is trying to recast himself as a man of the people, a leader who can be entrusted with the Canadian economy. He is hoping Canadians will forget his record. He's hoping Canadians won't notice that he's putting Canada's economic recovery at risk by forcing an unnecessary election," Kenney said in a statement released yesterday. "He has put his own agenda ahead of Canada's best interests by trying to force a second election in one year, before Canada's economy fully recovers."
Conservatives were hauling out old quotes from Ignatieff's days at Harvard too, questioning his attachment to his country and commitment to the job he's seeking.
The Liberals' national director, Rocco Rossi, says the party is urging Canadians to compare campaigning styles – negative versus the "positive" tone this week's wave of Liberal ads is trying to strike.
"The biggest message is the contrast really. We want Canadians to know what Liberals already know – this is a different kind of politician; a world-class guy with a world-class mind, caring and compassionate, who wants to have a debate on the issues and the competing values and vision," Rossi said.
The Liberals' French-language ads are more pointed in their mention of Harper – his record on the deficit, recession and environment – and feature Ignatieff against a stark, black background. And while the English ads have the slogan "we can do better," the French ads say voters "deserve" better.
Rossi didn't want to go into detail about the distinction, only saying the concepts have been tested at length this summer and these were the styles deliberately chosen by Liberal officials. Rossi said only three ads were launched yesterday because Liberals are hoping a slower release will give them more media attention. More ads will be unveiled within days, he said.