Michael Ignatieff's Liberals unleashed a series of campaign-style attack ads Friday morning aimed at two key Harper policies: the $16-billion sole-source stealth jet purchase and corporate tax cuts.
"This is a tough, strategic response to Harper's ads with a key difference – we're going after the issues because we believe Harper is taking Canada in the wrong direction," a senior Ignatieff official told The Globe.
While the Tory ads feature a deep male voice, asking whether Mr. Ignatieff returned to Canada after three decades abroad for Canadians or for himself, the Liberal ads feature a female narrator questioning the kind of Canada Stephen Harper is designing.
"Stephen Harper's Canada," the narrator says on the fighter-jet ad. "An untendered deal to spend $16-billion of your tax dollars on 65 fighter jets. What could he be thinking? Is this your Canada or Harper's?"
The second ad focuses on the corporate tax cuts, which Mr. Ignatieff says Canada can't afford while the deficit is at $56-billion. In it, the narrator says it's "harder than ever to get by" and accuses the Prime Minister of giving away "your tax dollars" to the largest corporations "with a $6 billion corporate tax cut." Again, it asks if this is the Canada you want.
The ads will be appearing on television networks across the country, again ramping up the pre-election rhetoric. Mr. Ignatieff is on his second week of an 11-day tour of about 20 unheld Liberal ridings.
He has repeatedly said that his party cannot support the Tory corporate tax cuts – setting up a possible confrontation over the upcoming budget. The Conservatives, meanwhile, are accusing the Liberals of wanting to raise taxes because of Mr. Ignatieff's stand.
The Liberal ads are accompanied by a fundraising pitch from the Grit's fundraising guru Adam Smith that reads as follows:
Four days ago, Stephen Harper launched a new TV ad campaign.
This morning, we hit back – the way you'd want us to. While Stephen Harper is attacking people, we're attacking problems.
Their ads – a series of personal attacks – are the clearest sign yet the Conservatives are gearing up for a February or March election.
Our ads – which ask Is this your Canada? Or Harper's? – put the concerns of Canadian families first, instead of his: $16-billion on fighter jets, and $6-billion on corporate tax cuts, paid for entirely with borrowed money. Your money.