The political culture in Canada is peculiar. For example, when attack ads are released, they are covered on the news. This makes the attack ads even more visible than they would otherwise be. This is especially true if those ads are released online, or in another fashion that makes them easy for the media to embed into their websites or to put onto a newscast.
We all claim to hate attack ads. But it’s clear they work. Michael Ignatieff? Just visiting. Adrian Dix? Flip flopper. Mitt Romney? 47%. The key to these ads has been to define the target of the ad before they have a solid chance to define themselves.
That just won’t work with Justin Trudeau.
The latest attack ads put out by the Conservatives against Justin Trudeau aren’t the usual type of attack ads we’re used to seeing. Canadians already know Justin Trudeau. They don’t need to be introduced to him.
The thing about that latest crop of attack ads from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives is that they’re not meant to discourage you from voting for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. If they are, they do a terrible job of that. They’re also not meant to encourage you to vote for Mr. Harper — they don’t even mention him.
No, the main viewing audience for the current Conservative ads is the membership and donor base of the Conservative Party of Canada.
The Conservatives are well-organized. And they stay this well-organized by having a large number of paid organizers who do a lot of the groundwork to win elections. That all costs money, but it doesn’t look like a whole lot is actually going on.
That’s the point of the ads. The whole point of them is for the Conservatives to point their donors to them and go “see?! We’re doing something with your money! Give us more and we’ll do more things!”
Instead of uniting Canadians behind any kind of a cohesive vision, the Conservatives are dividing them, and then begging the ones they’ve got the support of for money. We should demand better.