The NDP is going after Liberal-leaning voters in an aggressive series of targeted radio ads airing for the first time this week that accuse party Leader Justin Trudeau of having bad judgment.
The three new radio ads begin with narrators who describe themselves as voters who were initially open to supporting Mr. Trudeau, but are now having second thoughts.
The NDP ads all end with the tag line, “Justin Trudeau, he just lost my vote.” The closing line strikes a similar cadence to Conservative ads that end with “Justin Trudeau, he’s just not ready.”
A new television ad will also launch later this week featuring NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair that takes aim at the Liberals. A new French-language TV ad running in Quebec is more focused on the NDP and speaks of continuing the momentum from the 2011 campaign and the party’s recent victory in Alberta.
Both the Liberals and the NDP are attempting to make this election about the simple idea of change but they are in competition with each other to win over the majority of Canadians who say they want a new government.
The final weeks of recent federal election campaigns have featured fierce battles between the Liberals and NDP, given the large number of Canadians who are open to voting for either of the two parties. This time will be no different. Now that parties have released most of their policies, the “air war” of radio, TV and internet ads takes on greater importance as parties attempt to influence undecided voters.
Several public-opinion polls have detected a recent slip in NDP support and slight gains for the Liberals but all three main parties remain close in terms of support.
Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Trudeau hinted last week that they would be open to working together in a minority Parliament to block Conservative Leader Stephen Harper from continuing as Prime Minister. But until then, it appears the gloves are coming off. The two men went at each other Monday evening during the Munk debate on foreign affairs and the NDP’s radio ads target the Liberal Leader directly.
“I was excited about Justin Trudeau at first, but he really let me down on Bill C-51, Stephen Harper’s spy bill. Justin said he opposed the bill but then voted for it, all because he didn’t want the Conservatives to criticize him,” states a female narrator. The ads indicate that they were authorized by the registered agent for the NDP.
Meanwhile, another ad is directly targeted at Southwestern Ontario. A male narrator who says his job counts on the auto sector claims Mr. Trudeau will not support manufacturing jobs.
“Yeah, Justin Trudeau seemed alright, but now I’m not so sure,” he says. “I want change in Ottawa, but Justin Trudeau? He just lost my vote.”
The third radio ad features a woman’s voice criticizing Mr. Trudeau for charging public speaking fees to charities while working as a Member of Parliament.
“You know, I was excited about Justin Trudeau but then I found out he charged school boards and charities $20,000 each just to hear him speak. He even skipped votes in Parliament to do it,” she says. “That’s just bad judgment.”
Liberal spokesperson Cameron Ahmad accused the NDP of engaging in negative, Conservative-style character assassination.
“We’re not going to engage in that,” he said. “The approach that the NDP is taking is similar to the Conservatives’ approach of attacking their opponents instead of talking about the policies that they’re putting forward. … That’s a negative approach to politics that makes Canadians cynical.”
Senior NDP adviser Brad Lavigne said election campaigns should feature “rigorous exchanges of ideas and values” and the ads reflect real concerns voters have expressed on doorsteps about Mr. Trudeau.
“As people give Justin Trudeau a closer look and learn more about his past actions, people are second-guessing their support,” he said. “We know that once people hear this, they begin to seriously question whether or not they could support somebody who has exercised such bad judgment.”