CALGARY — Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he will not respond in kind to a Conservative party ad campaign that attacks his foreign policies and warns that “he’s just not ready.”
One ad attacks Trudeau’s foreign policy position on ISIS and Iraq where he said he would end the ISIS combat mission and restore relations with Iran.
Another shows a multi-ethnic panel discussing Trudeau as if he were being evaluated for a job.
A woman says “I’m not saying no forever, but not now” before a voiceover adds “Justin Trudeau — he’s just not ready.”
“The idea of a major political party, let alone the party in government, using terrorism as a way to gain votes in an advertisement for political advantage is incredibly distasteful to put it mildly,” said Trudeau at a Stampede event in Calgary.
Trudeau, NDP boss Tom Mulcair and Prime Minister Stephen Harper took turns flipping flapjacks at Calgary’s largest Stampede pancake breakfast Saturday morning.
He said it is unfortunate that there are plenty of pundits and political scientists out there that agree that negative advertising campaigns do work during an election campaign.
“Certainly there’s evidence to suggest you can scare people into voting one way or another or bring up negative feelings in that way. But I am extremely comfortable in saying there is a different way of doing that and I know there’s a certain risk involved in it because I am not putting a tool in our toolkit,” he added.
Trudeau said there are some in his party who would like to see Liberal ads exploit some of the Conservative government’s weaknesses after 10 years in office.
“I won’t be talking about beards or hair. I will be talking about different visions for this country and I think that’s something that Canadians both appreciate and get.”
Despite a surge in popularity in recent polls, Mulcair has been exempt from being targeted in any Conservative ads.
“They’re going to use whatever lines they want but I actually have a track record as a good, competent public administrator — it must be why they tried to recruit me back then,” Mulcair said with a chuckle Saturday.
“I guess it’s a bit hard for them that their only complaint against me is they tried to recruit me but I turned them down.”
Mulcair was once approached by the Conservative government to work as an environmental adviser to Harper.
He said even if new ads were to target the NDP he won’t be doing anything except engaging in a “robust campaign.”
“Even if it were to come I won’t respond in kind. That doesn’t mean I won’t have a robust debate,” Mulcair said.
“We can compare policies and compare track records. I’m not the type to have ever wanted to get involved in that sort of negative approach,” he said.
“The personal stuff — that’s just not my cup of tea. I don’t go down that street.”