Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Just the Facts Ma'am, Conservative Attack Ads

I'd like to offer my congratulations to Justin Trudeau on winning the Leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. I look forward to M. Trudeau showing he was the right choice.

It was a good day for Liberals. It seemed a good day for the Conservative Party of Canada too. They were finally able to roll out their anti Trudeau attack ads. I imagine conservatives anticipated the election of Trudeau with the same glee as children looking forward to Christmas. Just to be clear it is the Conservative Party of Canada that is the author of the website. Scroll to the bottom and you can just make it out in very light print; "Authorized by the Registered Agent of the Conservative Party of Canada. "; yes that small and that colourNot the kind of  "pride of ownership" you might have come to associate with conservatives. 

Ads attacking liberal leaders are basic conservative strategy, they define "you" before you can define "yourself". I don't care for attack ads and there is a difference between ads attacking a candidates record which are reasonable and those attacking through the deliberate misrepresentation of the candidate. This present incarnation of conservative attack ad is of the later quality. 

The first thing a visitor sees is a quote from a by M. Trudeau declaring " Quebecers are better than the rest of Canada". Click the story and you are purported to be given the "full context" of the quote, Quebecers are better than the rest of Canada because, you know, we’re Quebecers or whatever. A lot more of us are bilingual, bicultural, a lot more awareness of the rest.”. Well that seems even worse. 

The simple accusation is that Trudeau is an arrogant anti-English, French elitist. The subtle message is that He will promote the interests of Quebec to the detriment of the Rest of Canada; a historical concern of the West.

Helpfully, the Toronto Star gives an expanded version of the Trudeau quote. "“His philosophy, certainly as he passed it on to us, has always been Quebecers are better than the rest of Canada because we’re Quebecers or whatever. I mean, this idea that a lot more of us are bilingual, bicultural…”. Justin is talking about his father's notions in an interview done 14 years ago. Useful information

The expanded quote, as it appears in the Star completely undermines the attack ad's message. The ad makers parsed a Truth till it said something completely different. This is what I find most objectionable. Anyone inclined to look no further than this website will leave with a false understanding of M. Trudeau's position. It is one thing to post awful photos of Trudeau ( they do that too) and declare them "not a Leader" and another thing to slice and dice a fact till it tells the story you want to tell. How is that different than a lie?

The site also choose to highlight Trudeau's participation in a Charity event to raise money for the Liver Foundation as an indication of his unfitness to lead. Granted it was buried in a clip comparing Harper's acumen and deriding Trudeau's; but the point was showing Trudeau engaged in a charity event, stripping context and presenting as a negative. Helping a Charity as a bad thing.

I'm sure Trudeau will make plenty of mistakes in the next two years. While I expect the conservatives to throw as much trouble as they can on Justin's way to the 24 Sussex Drive, it is not to much ask that they stick to the facts.

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