The meaning of the Trudeau attack ads - Macleans.ca

The meaning of the Trudeau attack ads

Teachers are unimpressed and the Liberal leader’s masculinity is considered

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Teachers are apparently unimpressed with the Conservative attack ads.

The head of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation says members have been contacting him since the Conservatives began running TV ads that refer to his past as a drama teacher as a sign of his inexperience and unsuitability to lead the country.

“People are very insulted that their profession was targeted in that way,” said Paul Taillefer, president of the federation, a national organization representing about 200,000 teachers. (Taillefer is also a former Liberal candidate who ran unsuccessfully in the 2008 federal election.) “To say that it is not a worthwhile profession and the skills you garner in a teaching career don’t really count for anything, well, people are pretty upset about that.”

Other observers wonder if the ads are an attempt to question Mr. Trudeau’s masculinity.

“I think there is a subtle attempt not necessarily to question Justin Trudeau’s masculinity but to at least make him appear less masculine,” said David Coletto, a Canadian market researcher and CEO of Abacus Data.

Coletto says recent polling shows Trudeau does just as well with men as with women, something that would worry the Conservatives. “I think (the ads) are meant to weaken his standing particularly among middle-aged men, who are really the core of the Conservative government’s coalition, so they’re trying to shore that up … the idea that this guy’s not a man’s man, and maybe therefore not worthy of our vote,” said Coletto.

In a note to supporters this morning, Trudeau campaign co-chair Katie Telford claims the Liberals have raised $500,000 in the past week, more than half of those donating making their first political donation and one in five having not registered or voted in the leadership campaign. The Trudeau response ads have apparently begun airing. There also appears to be a second cut of the French ad that differs slightly in the images used from the one released earlier this week.