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'It doesn't have to be like this,' Greens say in meta attack ad

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May unveils an attack ad on attack ads during an Ottawa news conference March 7, 2011.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Elizabeth May has entered the attack-ad game - by attacking attack ads.

The Green Party Leader turned the tables on her opponents Monday, launching a TV campaign called " Change the Channel on Attack Ads." It's a bit of a send-up of the traditional attack ads of late - complete with "threatening, ominous" male narrator, dark music and grainy pictures of her opponents - and will run on CTV, CBC and TVA.

"Tired of the name-calling? Smear campaigns? Mudslinging? Are you disgusted with the state of Canadian politics," the narrator says. "This does not represent our Canada. It doesn't have to be like this."

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At a news conference Ms. May said she wants to do politics differently. And if her party finally wins a seat, she'll use it to end heckling in the Commons.

She argued that negative politics and ads are "damaging to democracy." She said she's concerned the next election campaign will be nastier than ever, given the spate of pre-writ attack ads already airing. And she urged Canadians to get out and vote - not to stay at home because they're so turned off politics.

"Canadians have been, I say, the victim of even more disgusting negative attack ads we have ever seen outside of a writ period, before an election begins," she said. "We urge political parties and the other leaders to say no to attack ads."

Ms. May noted that in some other countries, including Britain, Belgium and France, political parties are not allowed to buy television ad time. Rather, networks are required to give them free air time.

In addition to the ad, the Greens have also launched a social networking campaign, urging supporters to share the video spot by putting it up on Facebook and Twitter sites.

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