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Screen capture from NDP video.

The federal New Democrats are urging their members and donors to help them retaliate against Conservatives attack ads launched two weeks ago against NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.

In an e-mail sent Tuesday, NDP national director Chantal Vallerand asks party supporters to disseminate a new video created to discredit Prime Minister Stephen Harper's record on the economy.

The spot, which features a black and white photo of a perspiring Mr. Harper, tells Canadians that "after leading Canada into the worst recession of this generation, Conservatives have another economic downturn on their hands."

"What's Stephen Harper's solution?" asks a woman (who sounds very much like NDP MP Megan Leslie) as a drum beat in the background increases in intensity. "Attack the most vulnerable Canadians when they are most in need with cuts to employment insurance and cuts to your pension. Stephen Harper has created the worst deficit in Canadian history and you are paying the price."

Ms. Vallerand asks New Democrats to spread the link to the video via social networks like Twitter and Facebook and also to e-mail their friends. It is a response, she said, to the "baseless attack ads" that were launched against Mr. Mulcair who became leader of the Official Opposition when he was elected to lead the New Democrats in March.

The Tories successfully destroyed the electoral hopes of two previous Liberal opposition leaders using similar tactics. Stéphane Dion was declared to be "not a leader" and Michael Ignatieff was portrayed as "just visiting." But, when they supplanted the Liberals during last year's election, the New Democrats promised that any similar attacks directed at them by the Conservatives would be met in kind.

Ms. Vallerand says in her e-mail that Mr. Harper thinks bullying New Democrats will distract Canadians from his reckless agenda. "But it won't work," she says. "And we're setting the record straight on what Stephen Harper is really up to."

The ads created by the Conservatives, which played in a number of select television markets, denounced the NDP's environmental policies as "risky" and "dangerous."

Like the NDP video, the ads targeting Mr. Mulcair – which were produced as repeated polls suggest the New Democrats have a small lead over the Conservatives – were done in black and white. They were less mocking and more ominous than those that took aim at his predecessors on the Official Opposition bench.