Conservatives launch their first attack ad against Mulcair -

Conservatives launch their first attack ad against Mulcair

A look at the ad, then a closer look at what it says


The Conservatives launch their first attack ad against Thomas Mulcair.

French ad here.

The “carbon tax” allegation is apparently a reference to Mr. Mulcair’s plans for a cap-and-trade system. As recently as December 2009, the Harper government was openly pursuing a cap-and-trade system.

The one quote that is cited—”make them pay now for what they’re doing”—is taken from an interview with CBC’s The House in May. You can listen to that interview in its entirety here, but here is the quote in its immediate context.

Evan Solomon: They have argued that they want to make sure that environmental assessment, though they argue it needs to be rigorous, is getting in the way of development of big energy projects and specifically around the oil sands and pipelines. They point to an article that you wrote in March, I think, of 2012 in Policy Options, where you basically said, dirty oil, the tar sands it’s called, dirty oil and the future of our country, where you argue that the development of the, as you use the word, tar sands, it’s become a political term, by the way, as you know, is basically not necessarily good for the country, in fact it takes jobs away in the manufacturing sector of Ontario. Do you stand by that?

Thomas Mulcair: Not only Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, there are other places in Canada, sure. It’s by definition the Dutch Disease, the Canadian dollar is being held artificially high, which is fine if you’re going to Disney World, not so good if you want to sell your manufactured product because the American client, most of the time, can no longer afford to buy it. We’ve hollowed out the manufacturing sector. In six years since the Conservatives have arrived, we’ve lost 500,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs, more than half of them because of the fact that we’re not internalizing the environmental costs.

Evan Solomon: The government of Alberta, they point to these statistics: the oil sands creates $307 billion in tax revenue, $187 billion for the federal government, 23% of employment is from oil sands, 7% of employment in Canada from the oil sands and in Ontario alone, 7%, they say, of employment comes from the oil sands and they say royalties of $1.9 billion fund programs across the country. In other words, it’s a huge net gain for the country, they argue.

Thomas Mulcair: It’s a non sequitur. The point that I’m making is not that we should be against the development of the oil sands, but it has to be sustainable development. We have to follow the basic rules of sustainable development. Internalization of the environmental costs, make them pay now for what they’re doing. We have to use basic rules like polluter pay, user pay, these are things that are not being done. And we’ve got legilsation that’s on the books, this is Canadian law, that’s not being enforced. You know, this is the law-and-order government. They preach a good game, but they don’t follow through with their own actions in areas that is their responsibility. That’s the problem. So at the present time, the way we’re exploiting and developing the oil sands is causing an imbalance in our economy. That’s demonstrable.

Update 5:10pm. More context here.


Conservatives launch their first attack ad against Mulcair

  1. You know what is risky, the six year, 100 billion deficit left to my children by fiscal conser ative management. This ad made me laugh. Canadians are no longer buying what the cons are selling.

    • May I see a source for this $100 billion deficit claim? My research indicates it is closer to $75 billion. In the first 3 years of CPC mandate they ran a nearly $20 billion surplus. In 2008, Harper did not want to do stimulus but the Governor General forced him to table a “national unity budget” that included $32 billion in stimulus that coalition demanded. The deficit is the fault of the Governor General and the socialist opposition, not Harper.

      • Harper could have gone to an election then. He has tried to take the credit for the stimulus he has to take the blame for the cost as well.

      • “In the first 3 years of CPC mandate they ran a nearly $20 billion surplus.”

        It’s well known the Harper Conservatives inherited a $12B surplus that the previous Liberal government had established. Harper blew it all on a GST tax cut ($12B/yr) that economists hated in the spring of 2008 before the Great Recession hit.

      • The GG couldn’t force Harper to do anything like that, the GG has no such power….and it also had nothing to do with what you’re foolishily calling a ‘socialist’….or ‘coalition’ opposition when neither exist.

        Harper agreed to the stimulus Dubya Bush proposed at the G20 meeting in Washington DC… did all the other G20 countries…. in Nov 2008

        • That’s is not an accurate portrayal of what occurred. Harper’s 2008 fall economic statement showed he was completely oblivious to the gravity of the recession. It included spending cuts, not stimulus. The opposition rejected it and the Liberals and NDP formed a coalition pact and were going to vote down the government and replace it. Harper abused the prorogation process to buy a reprieve. In the new year he signaled he would support a stimulus package and Ignatieff backed down from the coalition threat.

          • Utter nonsense. Bush insisted on the stimulus, and Harp went along with it.

            Nothing to do with our GG or opposition.

          • I remember what happened from experience. You are buying into the Conservative revisionist propaganda.

          • Yeah, right. LOL

          • My memory tells me you’re both right. Harper did commit to a stimulus
            at a G20 session. My memory tells it was in Peru. But I won’t argue with
            an assertion of Washington. The stimulus was supposed to be equal
            to 2% of GDP. The fiscal update which should have reflected that was
            a litany of political nasties. The political uproar that followed forced
            Harper to recalibrate.
            And I believe the subsequent stimulus never reached the 2% level
            to which he committed. Maybe 1.7% ?

          • Our economy was about $1.3T in 2009. 2% of that is $26B. Harper committed to $20B/yr over 2 years. (And he’s been spending about $100M/yr on self-promoting “Economic Action Plan” advertising ever since — long after the stimulus money evaporated.)

      • You aren’t very good with facts and thinking are you?

      • “the socialist opposition”

        Someone is living in their own make-belief world! Were unicorns involved in this socialist conspiracy? Were there elves? What about goblins?

        Are the socialists working with the Illuminati to help the martians take over?

      • $75 billion, $100 billion, $150 billion. No matter what spin you put on it, Harper’s deficit is the hugest in Canadian history, bar none (even larger than Mr. (I’ll-take-my-payola-in-a-brown-paper-sack) Mulroney’s. What’s with these neocons running up record deficits while claiming they are the best managers of the economy, anyhow? Talk about talking out of two sides of one’s mouth at the same time. Time to turf theses turkeys before they bankrupt the country.

  2. holy straw man argument batman

    • hahaha

  3. Someone needs to turn this style and technique of childish advertising back on the Tories.

    • I actually agree but not sure either of the oppo parties feel dirty enough to take part. But we could do some doozies on the government.

    • I was just thinking the same thing. If I was Mulcair I’d buy the time slot right after this ad and run a white background ad like Dalton McGuinty’s campaign ads.

      I would open up with “oof! now that’s heavy!”

    • It won’t stick. Harper and his handlers know how to turn the tide on anyone without having the tide turned on themselves.

  4. Yawn…these ads are getting predictable to the point one wonders if anyone pay attention to them anymore except ‘the base’ who finance it.

    • Social psychologists would argue that the moment we stop paying conscious attention to them is the moment we’re the most vulnerable to them.

  5. Funny, Flaherty just decided to step in and slow down the real estate market.

  6. Dangerous man, Mulcair – “polluter pay, user pay”

    “Carbon offsets are nothing more than the environmental equivalent of financial derivatives: complex, unregulated, unchecked and – in many cases – not worth their price,” the investigation reported.

    As with most schemes, the catch is in the amount of empathy and guilt the con artist can elicit. Buying carbon offsets may ease eco-guilt, but experts have concluded that it will do absolutely nothing to lower the world’s carbon emissions, particularly as California goes it alone.”

    • Yeah, the author of that article works for the Koch-related Pacific Research Institute, a private think-tank (Marketing Team?) based in San Francisco. They also want to privatize water.

      • . . . and snatch our children from us!

        • Here’s the thing. Your statement is obviously false and brings nothing new or of interest to the table, no new facts, no logic. So what it comes off as is simply snipes from a pathetic prick who doesn’t actually have any facts or knowledge to contribute.

          Except I know that’s not true. So what have you got?

          • My my, SOMEBODY woke up with poopy pants today . . .

          • Okay. Maybe I was wrong and it is true. Huh. My mistake.

  7. Aaron – some solid oppo work on behalf of your NDP overlords. Mulcair sure is fortunate to have fellows like you in the media defend every perceived slight or criticism. You were *literally* quicker to defend Mulcair against this ad than the people in the NDP who actually get paid to defend Mulcair against attack ads. Your reputation as a partisan hack grows more evidence based by the day.

    • I see the Cons have their troops out today -just the ‘intellectual diversity’ Rack Omen was wanting.

      • If you look at the comment count here, it’s obviously the NDP/Lib have their “troops” (more like keyboard cowboys) out today. If you count the number of left and right side opinions here, it’s clear that you Lefties are the ones organizing the online media campaign, not the other way around.

        Perhaps if you just want an echo chamber, you should head over to

        • Yes, the left wing media owned by struggling start ups like Rogers. I see your name still links to Rack Nine – why not just post as yourself?

          • Is Rack Nine the Robo Call company that is involved in the voter manipulation scandle the opposition was up-in-arms about?

          • Yup – the one Pierre Poutine used. Very strange way to advertise, if that’s why the poster who calls himself ‘Rick Omen’ is trying to do.

    • I would point to you that Mr. Wherry`s article would not be written today had the Conservatives not launched this advertisement. Do the Conservatives really believe they can pay for this kind of publicity without it being written about?

    • I don’t agree Neil. The fact that the media gives free air-time or blog postings linking to the ad actually lessens the need for Conservatives to pay for these ads.

      If anything, you should blame Wherry for working on governments behalf.

      • They don’t seem to get that, unless they don’t think the ads are effective.

      • Wherry’s a Conbot mole. Who would have thunk it?

  8. Here are the results of Harper’s dangerous Republican economic experiment. Since coming to power:

    * 500,00 good paying jobs has been lost (replaced with part-time McJobs)
    * $20B trade surpluses turned to $50B trade deficits (3 years in a row; current account)
    * our trade deficit ties us at the bottom of the G7 with the US and Italy (-3% GDP)
    * government debt has gone from the best of the G7 to the middle tied with France
    * government spending has increased 60% — $100B/yr increase (2005: $175B; 2011: $279B)
    * productivity has fallen to #17 (OECD)

    Mark Carney predicted in 2010, “Canadian economy expanding quickly, but will soon trail G7 countries.”

    Although Harper bragged he made Canada an “economic star”, the 2010 Economist article he quoted said, “Much of the country’s resilience stems from policies—such as bank regulation and sound public finances—which predate Mr Harper.”

    • So Ron, it’s not clear what you would have had Harper do differently. Are you saying Harper didn’t spend enough? Should have raised taxes? Cut taxes? Cut spending?

      • Harper has made numerous blunders and boneheaded ideological decisions over the past 6 years, squandering the economic advantage he inherited from the Chretien-Martin Liberals. In general terms, the centrist, balanced, knowledge-based approach of the Liberals provided many benefits to the Canadian economy. The Liberals turned Mulroney-era $20B trade deficits into $20B trade surpluses by fostering a decade-long manufacturing boom.

        This has since turned to a bust under Harper’s “steady hand”: we now have $50B trade deficits; 500,000 good-paying jobs destroyed; Canadians are holding record levels of personal debt; inequality is on the rise; productivity is falling; and our economy is now entirely dependent on the price of oil and other commodities remaining high — which is a fool’s bet sure to end in disaster.

        Harper started things off by wasting a $12B Liberal surplus on a GST tax cut economists hated. Such a misuse of limited economic resources demonstrated right off the bat that Harper had absolutely no knowledge about how the economy worked — or worse, didn’t care.

        According to Jeffrey Simpson, Harper brought in $17B/yr in useless boutique tax cuts that complicated the tax code and provided zero benefit to the economy. You wouldn’t find the Liberals p*ssing away resources like that.

        • Then there is Harper’s contempt of taxpayer money. He bribed ON, BC and QC (retroactively) with $8.2B to adopt the HST. He spent $5B on Parliament renovations Paul Martin cancelled; cost overruns were 10 times the original estimate — including a $42M glass ceiling on a *temporary* House of Commons building. Then there is the G20 billion dollar WEEKEND boondoggle.

          Harper also increased the size of government by 60% without providing any benefit to Canadians. He has created a huge Soviet-style bureaucracy obsessed with secrecy and information control (we now rank #51 in the world in government accountability right beside Niger…) Harper pays bureaucrats to stonewall and propagandize access to information requests and muzzle scientists. He wages war against the Budget Office he created and appointed. He even pays bureaucrats to monitor and post government propaganda in online forums.

          In short, this is the worst government Canadians have had since the 1930s. Terrible decisions are par for the course on every level of government — especially the economy. The Harper Government has squandered the good work the previous Liberals accomplished — which Harper, being such a lowlife conman, tries to take credit for. But now Canadians are finding out the hard way that resting on the laurels of others is not good enough. (And for the record, I am not a partisan Liberal; I vote based on party platform.)

          • So I take it you would like the GST cut reversed then (which is something I would support). Do any of the opposition parties propose doing this?
            I’d be interested in hearing what you think the government can, or ought to, do about our rising levels of personal debt.

          • Harper’s GST cut was designed to win him votes and handicap the opposition if they ever tried to correct his mistake. Good politics, very poor policy. Do you approve of this?

  9. Look a lot of anti-Harper’s response on Mr. Wherry’s post, what a surprise!

    • And none of it relating to the post or the video at all, just the usual:
      1) Harper is killing our economy by being the strongest in the G7
      2) Attack ads are mean, unscrupulous, and highly effective
      3) Attack ads are boring and nobody pays attention
      4) The opposition should run the same kind of attack ads against the government
      5) Harper’s running a huge deficit, we should elect a party that will run a bigger deficit

      Even Wherry’s futile attempt at providing “context” for the quote is an #epicfail. But from my understanding the Libs/NDP are just a stones throw away from winning a majority government… in 2015. I’m sure the media will keep that narrative going until the next election, when they’ll be shocked and amazed when the CPC wins another stronger majority.

      It’s pretty easy for most Canadians to filter out the feigned outrage and over the top rhetoric that Wherry’s type (and the commentors here) find so very convincing.

      • You are being very coy about the facts, Rick. You know that so many of the North American public are stupid as a stump. You know that it is to the ignorant that these ads are reaching out. Twist the facts and demonize the opposition. As long as they can pay for advertisements that appeal to the lowest common denominator, the PCs will win another “stronger” majority. You know these things, right? So let’s not pretend it’s any type of superior comprehension skill involving filtering out feigned outrage. It’s just what stupid people do. Come on, you know that better than anyone, don’t you?

        • So you think this is some new phenomenon, i.e., advertising appealing to the lowest common denominator? Did you just freshly land on this planet Earth or something?

        • 50% of the population is of below average intelligence, 50% is above. It’s always been that way. If you think the lower half shouldn’t be allowed to vote, that’s your call. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest you only think people who don’t agree with you are stupid. And if they can vote, somebody will target them with advertising, every time.

          But, one could also claim that the ads target the more intelligent because it highlights what a danger Mulcair would be to the economy. You know, those who are economically literate enough to understand the real world effects NDP policy would have. See, it’s easy to just call people stupid when they don’t agree with you. But you know that better than anyone, don’t you?

          • Oh surely you didn’t fall for THAT old joke! LOL

          • Shouldn’t it be ‘50% are above and 50% are below the ~median~’? The average can be skewed from the median, depending on if society has a lot of extremely bright or extremely not-so-bright people (or other combinations will do it too).

            As for who should vote, it doesn’t make for a fair or representative democracy when political parties can manipulate a “susceptible” section of the voters. And perhaps everyone is “susceptible”.
            So perhaps we should require that people be informed before they vote (informed democracy) and/or we shoud prevent misleading / manipulative political advertising (making doing so illegal and punishable by life in prison, which would work for me :) ).

          • Agreed on the median, my bad (was trying to dumb it down for @40d99c343d00cd17c0b8cc060b39af8b:disqus

            And yes, everybody is susceptible to manipulation. But as far as requiring people to be “informed” before they can vote, I think is insane. Who’s the judge of who’s informed or not? I’d also say that most people who go vote already *consider* themselves informed, but may or may not be (again, see OE1). And if a person is uninformed, should that mean they have no say in who governs them?

            There are already laws against lying in political advertising, though maybe the punishments should be revisited. I’d have been quite content to see Paul Martin in jail after his “Soldiers in the Streets” ad.

          • @shakinghead – An informed populace is a great idea; how do we force them to become informed, and who will do the informing? Also, who is to decide what is ‘misleading/manipulative’? The gov’t?

            I think you can see the obvious flaws in your plan. . .

      • This is right out of the 2006 playbook, you guys really are running on empty.

    • – Conservative ad: Check!
      – Harper is leader of the conservatives: Check!
      – Ad is blatantly misleading and hypocritical: Check!

      You’re right, by all means we should roll the red carpet for another Harper Masterpiece.

      • What, per se, is “blatantly misleading” about the ad? The fact that it doesn’t depict Mulcair as the greatest thing since sliced bread?

        • I like you so much, Rick, that I’ll get right on it. If you could actually be bothered to read then you can find on a sign post at the end of your country lane.

        • It is entirely based on a “straw man” fallacy.

    • Hard to believe not everyone adores Harper, isn’t it?

    • According to the most recent polls, the majority of the country is “anti-Harper”. That’s approximately 15 million people. Are you surprised that some of them comment at Macleans?

  10. I hope the NDP has an attack ad, similar in tone targeted directly at Harper ready to go and we see it soon. In other words, I hope they have learned from history.

  11. 1204-130 Albert Street, Ottawa, Ontario

    Now I know what to do with my surplus volumes of “The Economist”

  12. Anybody keeping track of how much freebie time the media has given
    to this so far ? Earned media … nice phrase.

  13. From an excellent article by Michael Harris …

    … a momentous question looms over our public affairs: will the Harper
    government answer a single legitimate question about its conduct of
    Canada’s public business?

    I think we all know the answer here. Let’s see how the Jobs, Prosperity and Long Term Growth mantra looks when the price of oil drops to $60 and stays there for a couple of years. There is plenty of historical precedence to suggest this will happen. Couple that with the inevitable correction to the Canadian housing bubble and soon we’ll be talking about the Harper House Of Cards syndrome.

  14. The oil sands provide $187 billion in federal government tax revenue? Is that aggregate since their inception? Because the federal government only pulls in ~$240 billion per year from all sources. If they’re implying that >80% of overall government revenues is coming from oilsands or oilsands spinoffs, Dutch disease doesn’t even begin to describe the situation.

    • Anyone try to Report it as Inappropriate (mass advertising)? YouTube should not allow comments and Like/DisLiking to be disabled imo!

      • “Anyone try to Report it as Inappropriate (mass advertising)?”

        You are allowed to advertise on YouTube. Lots o companies do it.

  15. This round-the-clock election attack cycle is not good for democracy. They just polarize more people, making cooperation all but impossible.

    Surely, even a Harper supporter can see that.

  16. Here is an economic fact no Tory can deny!

    When Harper came to power Canada had the 16th best trade surplus in the world.
    Despite all the subsidies to the tar sands, last year we had the 9th WORST trade deficit in the world. (we were #184 out of 192)