I heard the first provincial campaign ad on the radio this morning.
All of the postmortems on the federal election pointed to the same successful strategy used by the federal Conservatives. They (Conservatives and Liberals analysts alike) pointed to the systematic character assassination of Ignatieff, starting as much as a year before the election. By relentlessly hitting him with attack ads, they undermined his credibility with unprecedented success, effectively distracting voters from real issues.
The first provincial Conservative ad (at least that I’ve heard) is a slow, sarcastic narration identifying McGuinty as “the tax man”. I suppose it is not wise to mess with a winning strategy, so expect more of the same. The kick off doesn’t provide any real Conservative policies, doesn’t examine the status of Ontario and it’s economy on a national or world scene, doesn’t compare Ontario tax payers to any other taxpayers. Let’s see some stats before just attacking. In fact, attacks without facts just confirm to me that the attackers are hoping to appeal to emotion rather than reason, and the federal strategy that if you say something often enough, true or false, many people are likely to believe it.
An obvious tactic for the prov Conservatives to use would be to point to an increase in deficit over the McGuinty years. This may be the case, but don’t forget that those years span the 2008 economic crisis and any deficit has to be seen in that light. Would conservative policies have done better? Did they do better in regions where they had jurisdiction? Those are the real questions to be answered before we just start pointing fingers.
The other question to be asked is, exactly how “conservative” are the policies of the Ontario Conservative Party. I’ve never been opposed to some conservative ideologies, but I am very wary of the reactionary far right policies that are currently trying to gain a foothold in Canada and the U.S. Tea Party Conservative and Moderate Conservative are two entirely different things. I notice that the Ontario party is still “Progressive Conservative”. Does that mean anything?? I don’t think Harris was very progressive!
Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell where the Provincial Conservatives stand when all they do is attack the other party. …Oh, excuse me! Not even the other party; just the other leader! Stop telling us what the other party will do, and tell us what YOU will do.
Will the same knee jerk tactics work again? After seeing the landslide triumphs of Harper and Ford, I’m afraid they might.