Define or be defined

by Aaron Wherry

The NDP says it is prepared to launch an ad campaign around its new leader shortly after his or her election this weekend. How quickly will they have to move? Possibly very.

Stephane Dion was elected Liberal leader on December 2, 2006. The Conservatives launched attack ads against him on January 28, 2007. A span of 57 days.

Michael Ignatieff was elected Liberal leader on May 2, 2009. The Conservatives launched attack ads against him on May 12, 2009. A span of 10 days.

(In the case of Mr. Ignatieff, he had taken over leadership of the Liberal party in December 2008, but was not officially confirmed until the party’s convention in May.)




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Define or be defined

  1. Is this the same NDP that wants to ban all pre-election advertising?

    The party is proposing a blackout on all ads prior to the start of official campaigning, including those from interest groups.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/08/19/toronto-ndp-ads.html

    While I’m not against pre-election advertising, I agree with the NDP that leaders should take responsibility for the ads, with an “I’m ___ and I approve this ad” voiceover, as is done in the US.

    • My bad. Turns out it’s not the same NDP that wants to ban pre-election ads… although I seem to recall the federal NDP proposing the same thing a little while back.

      • I thought I remembered that too. But the NDP proposes things that it doesn’t really mean quite frequently.

        • Yeah, like not appointing Senat . . .  oops, sorry, wrong party.  It can be so confusing some times.

        • I don’t remember the NDP forming the government in Ottawa.  Who knows, maybe it would ban tv ad between elections.  Very good idea – don’t they have such a ban in the UK?  The parties use money they collect from donors who are 50 to 75% subsidized by taxpayers.  I just saw the Conservatives ad attacking Bob Rae’s record and I see no reason why taxpayers’ money should fund these.  There is much better use for my money, including lowering the debt we leave the next generation, something obviously Conservatives care little about.

      • True or not, am I giving you too much credit by assuming you can see the
        distinction between wanting neither side to be allowed to engage in a
        process and engaging in an allowable practice because you feel you have
        little choice? 

        • I see the distinction, and if the NDP wants to play this game, and the game is legal/allowed, then go for it. But they should keep in mind that they risk sounding hypocritical if they campaign against it, while engaging in the tactic at the same time. That might alienate some voters (personally, I couldn’t care less, and I’m willing to cut them some slack here).

          • I would thik, as well, that there is a big difference between putting out positive-spin mesages about your own leader, and launching attack ads against your opponent’s. I would think the goal would be to try to, as the title says, define who their candidate is and what he or she stands for, rather than letting the CPC control the narrative and define him/her the way they did with Dionne and Iggy.

  2. First NDP ad will be of Mulcair gamboling through flowery meadow with his family? 

    I think party operatives put way too much belief into defining their side – Dion and Iggy ads were effective because they were in accord with popular opinion. It is chicken/egg debate – I think past Cons ads were effective because they reflected public mood while partisans see them as more nefarious. 

    • Actually they weren’t in accord with popular opinion at all, something the CPC cave dwellers would love us all to believe. They helped to manufacture public opinion, a key distinction. At best some of those ads were simply a matter of opinion and merely offered one plausible if cynical pov on what motivated messrs Dion and Ignatieff; at worst they were overly simplistic attempts at character assassination. So less of they were only speaking the gospel truth please. Just because politicians choose to hide behind a lie doesn’t make it so.

  3. It used to be that a new leader was given a period of grace….a honeymoon….in order to find his feet before the heavy politicking began.

    I see those days are gone for good.

    • Awwww… Bobby can’t defend himself, and this is your complaint?! Hahahaha, the Liberals are DOOOOOMMMEEDD!!

      • The NDP don’t even have a leader, yet they are preparing for a flame-throwing attack!

        I was pointing out that Parliament no longer has gentlemen in the govt.

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