04.20.2013 09:36 PM

In Sunday’s Sun: the anti-Trudeau ads will work. Sorry.

What’s amazing about the Conservative Party’s Justin Trudeau advertising isn’t their content, or their tone, or their mere existence.

Some of us predicted (a) the anti-Trudeau attacks were coming and (b) the Cons would target his life (in)experience. And so they have.

No, what is amazing is how Liberal partisans, and Trudeau himself, reacted to them.

The two spots themselves will prove to be effective, of course. They’re well done. Both have a sarcastic, biting tone, like all the best negative political ads do. Both contain cited Trudeau statements that legitimize the spots’ main critique, namely that he lacks the right judgment and experience. And both make extensive use of Trudeau stripping his shirt off for a charity ­— a reaction that prompted one friend to say: “I can’t unsee that, now.”

TV is a visual medium, so pictures matter more than words. That’s why so many people have reacted so strongly to the liver cancer charity striptease segment (for which Trudeau raised thousands, by the by, and for which Stephen Harper’s wife has also lent support). Whatever the context, whatever the motivation, Trudeau’s decision to remove his shirt for the cameras will indeed leave some voters wondering whether that is, you know, the behaviour of a prime minister.

The newly minted Liberal leader may look terrific, and possess impressive pipes.

But the fact remains, if you were to ask them (and you can bet the Conservatives did, in coast-to-coast focus grouping), lots of Canadians will likely say they do not want the nation’s leader cavorting like Channing Tatum in Magic Mike.

That said, the poison at the centre of the attacks is not the striptease stuff, nor Trudeau’s Pirates of the Caribbean-style facial hair, nor the snide references to his job experience (a “drama teacher,” the narrator sneers, as if drama teachers are somehow less reputable than Justin Bieber).

What is potentially lethal is the ancient, and out-of-context, quote of Trudeau saying these words: “Quebecers are better than the rest of Canada because we’re Quebecers.”

Those words ­— uttered before CTV News cameras in 1999 ­— are deadly. They dramatically buttress the notion that has been at the centre of the Conservatives’ anti-Trudeau narrative for months: That he puts Quebec before Canada. That he, like Stephane Dion, like Michael Ignatieff, owes allegiance to another place, and not Canada first.

It worked in 2008 and 2011; it can work again.

If the Conservatives’ spots are backed by a substantial media buy, then, they will make Trudeau less popular. But Trudeau stubbornly refuses to fight fire with fire. And, like Dion and Ignatieff before him, he is letting the Conservatives define him with non-Liberals before he can define himself.

When asked about the attacks on his first day on the job, Trudeau gave a Trudeau-esque shrug. Canadians are “tired of negativity,” he said.

No, actually, they’re not. Canadians, like voters everywhere, may express a lack of enthusiasm for so-called negative advertising. But the fact remains, mountains of studies have shown that such advertising works. It is the advocacy that voters tend to recall the most, as they head to the ballot box. It is the type of advocacy that has been shown to most affect citizens’ hearts and minds.

The reaction in the mainstream media, and on the Internet, was largely the same as Trudeau’s. Commentators claimed Harper’s ads will backfire, and no sensible person will heed them.

If they look back, these commentators will see they said the same thing when the anti-Dion and anti-Ignatieff barrages started, too. They were wrong then, and they’re wrong now.

Should we aspire to live in a world where such advertising doesn’t work? Of course.

But we don’t live in such a world.

As I always say: No one likes car crashes, either.

But they always slow down to have a look.


  1. Andy says:

    I don’t think so this time, Warren.
    This time the ads look desperate and terrified.
    They will work on people that wouldn’t vote for Trudeau in the first place, but much less so than the Iggy and Dion ads did.
    Anyway, all Trudeau needs to do is erase the CPoC seat count back to minority territory, which is quite doable.

    • Swervin' Merv says:

      Chantal Hébert (Apr. 19 in Toronto Star) correctly points out that things have changed since Dion and Ignatieff:

      “Anecdotal evidence suggests that at least some of the voters who say they would switch or return to the Trudeau-led Liberals in an election are doing so with their eyes open. It is not that they are blind to his potential shortcomings but that they are increasingly willing to overlook them to take the Conservatives out of government.”

      CBC’s “At Issue” panel (Hébert, Andrew Coyne, and pollster Bruce Anderson) all agreed on Apr. 18 that the Liberals, on balance, had “won the week.”

      • Lance says:

        Well of COURSE the CBC would LOL

        • Neil says:

          Why would you say that the CBC is one of the most pro Tory orbs out there, if not they go dipper. 3of the highest paid people on CBC, Cherry, Murphy, and Oleary are massive tory promoters and Mercer is super pro NDP. No love for libs on CBC.

      • ottawacon says:

        I think that is probably a fairly accurate summary, but that would seem to be the whole point of the ads. Plant a theme of misgiving, and then cultivate it until the election. In contrast to Andy’s point, I think the ads can work on people who might have voted for Trudeau – a lot of the outright dismissal of the possibility that they could be having an effect seems to come from people who could not imagine voting for Harper. As someone who has voted for Harper, but has a real sense that this government has served its time and is now more rife with petty bullies than ever, the ‘Justinoverhishead’ theme has resonance. The ads reminded me that I see very little in his life experience to suggest that he is capable of running much of anything – he has a couple of years to partially mitigate that, but given the low respect in which political practice is currently held, one wonders how much he can actually gain.

        The other theme that the ad seemed to suggest subtly (maybe it was just me) was almost monarchical. I am genuinely not sure how it managed to create the feeling of irritation with entitled inheritance that it did, but it very definitely did. Maybe I hear the dogwhistle better than some of you.

        • Swervin' Merv says:

          Top Republican communication guru Frank Luntz (on CTV’s Question Period today) admitted the Conservative ads could backfire, if Trudeau stays positive and gives a few rational public policy talks sooner rather than later. That’s the “expert” response Luntz recommended.

  2. !o! says:

    Yeah, but Arnold was the governor.

    and almost all coverage of the ads, including in the National Post, provided context for the Quebec comment.

  3. Pearsonality says:

    I’m a douchebag

  4. Robin says:

    If Trudeau had entered the ring with Senator Brazeau and didn’t punch back, he would have lost, he didn’t; he punched back! The same strategy is needed regarding attack or negative ads. It’s good if you can take a punch, it’s much better if you can land one! It’s not time for “rope-a-dope”!! Punch back!

    • Michael says:

      Where is the money to run the ads suppose to come from?

      The money from the per vote subsidy is being saved for the next election. Without it, the Liberals do not have enough money to run a campaign. With present rates of fundraising and expenditures, without the per vote subsidy the Liberals are in a $5m hole by the next election.

      So I ask you, where is the money to counter the attack ads?

  5. Rob W says:

    And so Warren, what should Mr. Trudeau do? What can the party do?

    • Sean says:

      Hit back, hit back harder, knock some teeth into the stands. Grin, wink and don’t apologize. As Cus Damato would say, throw punches with bad intentions.

      – Senators stealing tax dollars.
      – Deficits out of control.
      – Rampant unemployment.
      – Endless investigations into electoral fraud.
      – Silencing M.P.s of the Conservative Party.

      There is plenty of material, its time to blow these f%&kers to Mars. So we have a “new leader”. Lets have the first “new leader” who had the guts to kick some ass in the first few weeks. Or, ahem… We can have a typical 3d party leader whose target is to hang on to 35 seats. Not sure which kind we have yet.

      • Graham says:

        1) There is also a Liberal Senator under investigation under investigation for claiming living expenses they are not entitled to. There were also 3 Liberal MP’s forced to pay back money for the same reason, my old Lib MP John Cannis who lost in 2011 being one of them.

        2) Deficits out of control. DEFICITS? The feds are only responsible for one deficit. And if you recall in October 2008, the opposition demanded deficit spendingto the tun of $80 billion, or they would form the unholy alliance to bring the CPC down.

        3) Rampant unemployment? 7.1% is high, but hardly rampant. Harper isn’ responsible for killing jobs like those in manufacturing in Ontario. The Ontario Liberals Green Energy Act is doing that.

        4) Endless rodocall investigations? Up untill 2 weeks ago when EC finally laid charges against the guy the CONSERVATIVES pointed to in the beginning, the only person charged was a LIBERAL MP from Guelph.

        You know what they say about people in glass houses…

        • Graham says:

          Forgot your point on silencing MP’s

          While I agree with you, in THIS case I side with Harper. He has been clear he will not reopen the abortion debate, and any motion even touching on that subject will be crushed.

          He has said that for 7 years. These MP’s were very well aware of that when they signed up to run for the CPC.

          And lets remember Jean Chretien kicked John Nunziata out of caucus because he criticised Chretien for breaking his promis to scrap the GST.

          Also remember Michael Ignatieff whipped the vote on Bill C-391 dealing with abolishing the long gun registry, a private members bill which traditionally free votes.

          He allowed a free vote at second reading where 8 Liberals sided with the Conservatives.

          when it came back from committee the Liberals whipped the vote.

          The NDP whipped the vote on C-19 dealing with the same topic. Two NDP MP’s sided with the Conservatives and were sanctioned and had privileges taken away.

          My point is simply ALL parties do it.

        • Brian Busby says:

          Again? Look, the “LIBERAL MP from Guelph” was not charged with anything, least of all by Elections Canada or the RCMP – rather the Liberal riding association received a fine.

          From what body? The CRTC.

          For what? Failing to inform people that calls made over a one hour period on 30 April 2011 were from the local Liberal campaign.

          ‘Twas a clear violation of the Telecommunications Act and has nothing whatsoever to do with the Canada Elections Act.

          I don’t mean to suggest for a second that the call in question didn’t smell, but let’s stick to the facts.

          • Graham says:

            I didn’t say he was charged by EC.

            Isaid up until 2 weeks ago the only person charged was the Liberal MP from Guelph.

            And the call was a little more serious than ‘it smelled”

            Regulations state very clearly it has to identify the party making it. His didn’t

          • Brian Busby says:

            Of course you didn’t say that the MP in question was charged by EC. I never said you did. What I pointed out is that the MP was never charged at all – which is something you did write.

            And have repeated.

            As for the Telecommunications Act, it clearly states that calls must identify on whose behalf they are made. Seems a quibble, but ’tis important when considering those Market Research placed on behalf of the Conservative Party in Irwin Cotler’s riding.

            Now that really stank.

            I suppose level of odour can be debated. Can we agree that both are fairly pleasant when compared to rancid cheese curds provided by Pierre Poutine?

      • Eric Weiss says:

        You mean the deficit that the LPC voted for Feb 3, 2009?

    • ROFL.
      Warrens probable response: ‘You have the address, send the retainer cheque and I will tell you’

  6. smelter rat says:

    Back away from SNN. It’s starting to get to you.

    • Graham says:

      So you’ll take the opinion of “journalists” like Susan Delacourt who have never been on the “inside” of the political machine, slugging away in the war rooms over Warren who has spent decades doing it?

  7. Geoff V says:

    I dont think the ads were terrible effective. I think the CPC is keeping their powder dry for the next election. This was just a warning shot over the bow. I think Trudeau biggest enemy right now is himself right now.

    • Sean says:

      uh huh… and how many of us admit to going to McDonald’s once a month?

      • CuJoYYC says:

        I honestly haven’t had a meal from MacDonald’s since April 1975. Friends and family will vouch for me.


    • Brammer says:

      Umm… not quite.

      • james curran says:

        Imagine Wells and Kinsella agreeing on the very same day?!?!?! Whoa!

        Dion, ignatieff and Rae are not named Trudeau.2 are eggheads and one was arguably the worst premier in the history of Ontario. None of them were capable of getting voters under 30 engaged.

        • JamesHalifax says:

          Can’t help it……you mentioned Paul Wells..!!!


    • Lance says:

      The voters, the pundits, and the “experts” said the pollsters said the Dion, Ignatieff, and Rae ads were a bad idea and would backfire. How did that turn out again

    • Graham says:

      so you evidence of them not working is a poll conducted by Ekos FRANK GRAVES, for THE TORONTO STAR????

      Frank Graves is an admitted Liberal party donor and advised the Liberals under Ignatieff to start a “culture war” to defeat Harper.

      And do I really need to point out that the Star is front and centre worshipping at the feet of Saint Justin?

      I lol’d at this: 74% say the ads are “unhelpful” To whom? Justin? Yeah that’s kind of the point Frankie.

      PS – Ekos’ accuracy in polling? Frank predicted a reduced Conservative minority, a Liberal majority in Ontario in 2011, and the Toronto mayoral election “too close to call” in 2010. Wrong on all accounts.

  8. Sean says:

    Agree 100% Warren.

  9. Y. Mouse says:

    You’re right, and the people who think otherwise are living in fantasy-land.

  10. John Lennard says:

    His pipes aren’t that impressive.

  11. Dave Swanson says:

    Mr Kinsella is right; you would be wise to listen to him. The crucial fact you seem unable or unwilling to grasp is that these attack ads are not made for you; they are made for right-leaning Liberals who might vote Conservative and socially liberal Conservatives who are thinking maybe of a change. The Conservatives realize “core” Liberals could watch a video of Justin Trudeau biting the head off a canary and would still love him. It’s that great swath of fickle voters they are seeking.

    They are aimed at Westerners. The subtext of the Quebec bit is “hey maybe this stuck-up dude really does think the Quebecois are superior. After all, he did say that if things got bad enough, maybe Quebec should separate.” Fear, anger, fear: I will be ruled from afar by people who look down on me.

    They are aimed at males. Attack ads work on that most primal emotion: fear. The subtext is that to vote for Justin means a) to be attractive to women, I have to be a Chippendales-like beefcake – it works on a deep-seated insecurity and/or b) voting for Justin Trudeau somehow means Liberal men will become effeminate/homosexual – not saying this is at all right, rational, moral etc but this is the psychosocial innards. Fear, fear, fear: I won’t get laid. My spouse/girlfriend doesn’t like me.

    It’s not that hard to grasp. It should be remembered that PET came close to losing his second go round after Trudeaumania 1.0. Even with Trudeaumania 2.0, you need all the help you can get in a largely indifferent and feckless world. Take a moment away from the hermetically sealed simulacrum of your ipod/facebook world for a walk in the rain to think on these things.

    • Gilles says:

      Cons are framing the next election as a fight between two Quebec leaders and one all Canadian leader.. Canada versus Quebec.

      All those who are suggesting the Libs should dredge up old obscure issues for attack ads just don’t understand the average voter.

      In advertising the rule is if the ad is not understood by a 10 year old, it will not be understood by the masses.

      The Con attack ad just hits you in the face with images and sounds that will stay with you for the next two years.

      What can the Libs do or say that will turn Canadians against their long time prime minister who has been pushing his Economic Action Plan for years now? His pitch will be ‘it’s the economy, stupid’, and would you trust a Quebec socialist or a Quebec drama queen with Canada’s economy?

      The Libs have the media on their side for essentially free and favourable commentary while the Cons must resort to direct appeals through attack ads and government biased advertising. Unfortunately for the Libs, not many Canadians read newpapers or internet news. They watch TV and that’s where the attack ads must appear. It’s a costly business to make a direct appeal to voters.

    • Cath says:

      nicely said. Good column WK. Agree with you.

  12. J.W. says:

    And the poll showing they didn’t work means nothing. No one will ever tell a pollster they like attack ads and are influenced by them. They work at the subconscious level of the majority of people who spend virtually zero time thinking about politics but do VOTE!

  13. David says:

    Great article, Warren. I vote Conservative, but not in a partisan sense (I likely won’t vote for them next time for various reasons). It seems the Liberals picked the wrong horse, and left themselves open to these attacks. Like most of the Tory ‘attack ads,’ this one hits on the sore point that everyone knows exist. They aren’t really negative ads; they simply point to the elephant in the room. Rex Murphy noted this in the Post. I think he is dead right (as you are). If the Liberals don’t start responding in some fashion they will let the Conservatives set the tone (just as they did with Iggy).

    I wonder if the Conservatives could have run an attack ad against Garneau? My guess is they would have had a hard time.

    The Liberals problem right now is they are still looking for a saviour. They needed to pick someone who would build the party, attract talent the the pool of MPs, build policy, and start chipping away at the Conservatives. There would not have been a victory in the next election, but the one after that would have likely yielded results.

  14. Steve T says:

    I am a CPC member, and have received emails and lettermail asking me to contribute so these ads can continue to run. I won’t contribute, mainly because (a) I don’t like the ads (they are juvenile and off-point), and (b) I don’t see Trudeau as a particularly big threat right now, and (c) I think running ads pre-campaign is a waste of my donation.

    However, as others have pointed out, I am not the target audience for these ads. Ultimately, I will most likely vote Conservative at the next federal election, unless the Libs come up with some pretty amazing policy alternatives (which is a whole other discussion). The anti-Justin ads are meant to put a stereotyped image into the heads of fence-sitters and weak-minded individuals who vote based on emotion and popularity rather than facts. Sadly, there are many of both in this country. Therefore, as WK notes, running negative ads is an unfortunate necessity in this day and age if you want to win elections.

    Even as a card-carrying Conservative, I see a number of legitimate points of criticism with the current government. Why the Libs would avoid pointing them out now is beyond me. My selfish perspective is that a bit of criticism, in the media, might steer the government onto a better path. Right now, they are essentially going unchallenged.

  15. po'd says:

    “CBC’s “At Issue” panel (Hébert, Andrew Coyne, and pollster Bruce Anderson) all agreed on Apr. 18 that the Liberals, on balance, had “won the week.”

    That’s nice but the thing is, it wasn’t particularly decisive. There’s a saying I’ve heard from the legal buzzards that is apt when dealing with the CPC, “Once you’ve got them down, keep kicking until you’re sure they won’t get back up again”.

    “Keep hittin’ ’em in the ribs, ya see. Don’t let the bastard breathe.”

    Mickey Goldmill

    • Graham says:

      That’s because the CBC refused to talk about his MAJOR mistakes.

      1) In Mansbridge’s own interview saying referencing the Boston bombings “We don’t know who did it or why, but there is NO QUESTION it was because the felt excluded and marginalized” Really Justin? Decades worth of research says otherwise, and he was proven wrong here.

      2) He rose in the HOC to complain about the temporary workers program. James Moore in response produced a letter written by Trudeau, trying to use thememory oh is dead father to get the government to overturn their decision to deny Chinese chefs work visa’s so the could come and work at HIS favorite Chinese resturant.

      But you didn’t hear about that from the CBC, CTV, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail now did you?

      • Graham says:

        Damn. Fat fingers and a small keyboard don’t mix.

        That of course should read trying to use the memory of his dead father

      • Cath says:

        always interesting that the CBC panel conveniently misses those mistakes isn’t it?

      • po'd says:

        1. Tempest in a teapot
        2. Wasn’t that letter 4 yrs old and long before the CPC made major changes to the program and long before people came to know how badly it’s been abused as a result?

  16. CuJoYYC says:

    I tend to agree with Sean but I make a distinction between negative ads and attack ads.

    Attack ads tend to be ad hominem and in my opinion, ought to be off the table.

    Negative ads can and should be about policies and issues. Sean’s short list is a good starting point. I took the liberty adding to it.

    – Senators behaving badly and stealing tax dollars.
    – Debt and deficits are piling up.
    – As Mulroney used to say, this government is “at variance with the facts” regarding their ability to tell the truth about the actual costs of the F35.
    – Widespread unemployment and rampant under-employment.
    – Endless investigations into electoral fraud.
    – Muzzling of Conservative M.P.s.
    – Muzzling of Canadian scientists.
    – Fired, dismissed, muzzled, forced out, besmirched diplomats, senior bureaucrats and even their own appointees such as Kevin Page, Richard Colvin, Munir Sheikh, Rémi Beauregard, Paul Kennedy, Peter Tinsley, Steve Sullivan, Linda Keen, Pat Stogran and on and on and on. I see a long montage of these “Enemies of the State” scrolling across the screen beneath a phrase like “Let go for simply doing their job … well!” or “Let go for not following the herd.)

    • Gilles says:

      Your hatred blinds you to reality. Canadians don’t want to be confronted with government failures unless they have been primed with hatred. The bearers of bad news are usually shunned, and that is what you are promoting. Your issues are too intellectual and will not be understood nor accepted because you and Justin have little to no credibility amongst the voting masses.

      People are motivated with ridicule such as the ridicule presented in the Con attack ad. It worked against Dion and Iggy, and it will work against Justin. Ridicule is more powerful than logic, and all the attack ads prove it.

    • Swervin' Merv says:

      Ignatieff spent two years from the spring of 2009 attacking the (lack of) integrity of Conservatives and their policies aimed at dismantling public services (from Stats. Can and Law Reform Commission to EI and environmental regulations)–but he couldn’t sell himself as a confident, credible messenger.

      Trudeau, with a more familiar name and history, has a much more positive wind in his sails because many Canadians–young and old–now expect (after two years of a Harper majority) that Canada can do better than “a finance minister who cannot add and a PM who can only divide” (Scott Brison).

      Despite Trudeau’s limited experience (much like Harper when he started), voters want a new and attractive brand. They will want to embrace this prince and his hopeful, future-looking family. Trudeau doesn’t have to try to win everyone’s trust because, unlike Harper, he trusts Canadians and they like how that difference feels.

  17. Joe Harrington says:

    I dislike negative ads. They stir strong emotions, including hate. But Warren is right. Welcome to the filthy douchebag world of politics where winning a vote is more sought after than actually doing social good.

    We can put our heads in the sand and pretend that they wont matter. But they will.

    Voters are not smart…and that is what politicians count on.

    I say bring on the ads that claim Stephen Harper is a pedophile. That he butt rapes kittens. That he slaps around his wife. We may as well because this is going to hell anyways.

  18. Graham says:

    I think these two were released now not to see how Justin and the Liberals would react, but to see how the MEDIA would react.

    How hard would they defend him? To what extent would they go to protect him?

    The media’s reaction to the ads and their selective reporting on his errors in week one gave the Conservative’s the answers they were looking for.

  19. Neil says:

    I think most of you are missing something, JT needs to fight back, the question is how. I believe he needs to fight back against the framing of himself. That does not mean going negative about Harper, it means promoting JT from a positive frame with a subtext that contrast favourably against Harper. This is the way to fight back, fight the frame that is the problem. Fight the Tory record in the election, we have a shiny new leader showcase that and counter the frame, if you get a draw on that then people get to make up their own minds.

    • The economics do not work. Negatives are cheap and effective. Positives are like brand building. Slow and expensive. The guys with all the money will tear down a million bucks worth of brand building in about ten minutes with a hundred thousand dollar buy. Economics for that only work when the media is free. hey, wait a minute, earned media as a strategy? Could that be why Trudeau has been talking positive for 6 months? lol.

  20. Michael Behiels says:

    The LPC and its supporters have to realize that Harper has authorized his War Room Gang to kick start the 2015 election.

    I would not be surprised if Harper did call call the election sooner than later, like Chretien did in the 1990s, to catch trouble LPC and NDP with their pants down and underfunded.

    Harper will win in 2015 at virtually any cost! What happens to LPC and NDP depends on angry, frustrated centre left voters.

    • Graham says:

      Chretien did it because he was riding about 60% in the polls.

      There is now a fixed election date law.

      And please spare me the tired opposition talking point he broke that law in 2008. It was a minority parliament. And by that logic the opposition broke it in 2011.

  21. Gilles says:

    Coincidentally, Justin’s ‘Quebecers are better…’ blurt will also pull down Mulcair, who is also a quebecois first leader. Like killing deux oiseaux avec one attack ad.. n’est-ce pas? Next election — Quebec versus the ROC!

    Some are saying that the younger Trudeau was just expressing his father’s pov, in a dramatic fashion; but try explaining that to Canadians who will associate him to his father and attribute it to him.

    Wonder what the devious Cons have in store for Mulcair, and, followup ads ready for Justin who has his political neck stretched way out and available for stomping. Shudder!

  22. Brucethepainter says:

    You are wrong Warren. Trudeau is NOT Dion – he has a likeable personality and speaks english fluently. Likewise, Trudeau is NOT Ignatieff – he has resided in Canada his whole life and doesn’t have the aloof air of a whiny professor. What about the fact that canadians are growing weary of Conservative rule? You can’t deny the rebirth of the Liberal brand. These ads will fail.

  23. Graham says:

    Honestly, the Conservative’s will most likely ignore the NDP unless something happens, an opportunity presents itself that they just can’t pass up like the NDP MP’s comments on Vimy Ridge.

  24. Bill From Willowdale says:

    I find it amusing when people say the ads are unfair, cruel, untrue. None of this has to do with whether they are effective.

  25. Gilles says:

    Breaking News!! PQ premier Marois has just released an “information” video promoting Quebec sovereignty and thus attacking the rest of Canada.

    The video can be seen on pq.org (in French only) and titled “La souveraineté, c’est payant!”, or, sovereignty pays!

    She argues that Quebec will be better off as a separate country, and the ad is particularly aimed at quebecois youth so they will demand that their older parents vote OUI this time.

    This ad may be the start of a serious sovereignty campaign by the PQ, and it will challenge each of the federal leaders to explain their position on Quebec sovereignty.

    If Trudeau speak against separation, that will polarize his support in Quebec which will squeeze him back into Montreal Island. Mulcair may take a more conciliatory approach but will be saddled with the NDP Sherbrooke declaration for 50%+1 which will alienate him from the ROC. Both Quebec federal leaders will be gored by Marois’ preemptive attack against Canada, and they will be labelled Canada-first traitors to Quebec. Resurrection of the BQ?

    Harper will have several option, and one strategy is to ignore the PQ prattling and continue on. However, if sovereignty sentiment takes off in Quebec, Harper could dissolve his government well before 2015 for a snap sovereignty election and asking Canadians and pro-Canada Quebecers for a solid vote of confidence and for a strong mandate to fight the separatists in Quebec.

    Do you think that Canadians outside of Quebec would put their trust in Quebecers (Dutch Disease) Mulcair and (Quebecers are better) Trudeau to look after the interests of all Canadians, or would they put their trust in Harper on this gut issue?

    Interesting times ahead, n’est-ce pas??

  26. bza says:

    The Liberals need to put out positive ads featuring Trudeau and/or criticizing Harper soon or they will be toast. Simple as that.

    The NDP were wise enough to put out tons of ads featuring Mulcair and Olivia Chow shortly after he became leader.

  27. KP says:

    Looks like the paid CPC trolls are swarming your comments section again, Warren.

    • Lance says:

      Warren isn’t afraid to post a dissenting view; his blog is not a mere echo chamber. Conservative posters are no more likely to be “paid” than Liberal ones.

  28. partrick says:

    The cons aren’t hitting Trudeau where it will hurt long term.
    Trudeau isn’t selling his looks, his boxing, his experience or his intellect, though that’s what the media is focusing on, Trudeau is selling hope and optimism. Only destroying the notion that Trudeau doesn’t bring the latter will help the Cons. A very dynamic and media savy section of people are looking for, as they did with Obama, a change from business as usual, a breath of fresh air in their politics. Trudeau is the icon of that hope.
    Think of Rob Ford. People wanted change from the perceived “elitism” of city hall and wanted a “one of us” candidates. No matter that none of this is applicable to Ford, the fact that a large segment of the population have chosen to believe it, no matter the waves of evidence to the contrary, and will continue to believe it no matter what happens.
    The same dynamic is with Trudeau. The attack ads will appeal to the believers, but that’s just a waste of money and time, but they will also galvanize those wanting “hope and optimism” in their politics and their leader.
    And a platform destroying “hope and optimism” is a failure no matter how you spin it.
    Of course this may not be enough to get Justin elected the first time, but it should be enough to get to the opposition and another minority government.
    After that …….

  29. Danny says:

    The next election will be won or last where they all are, in the southern Ontario suburbs around Toronto. The Libs will gain back some Toronto seats that are not safe Con seats, and the NDP & Libs will battle over most of Quebec and who will be the Opposition. The Cons might win a couple of Quebec City ridings that are conservative leaning. The Cons will hold Western Canada where the only choice is Con or NDP. The Liberals are an endangered species in the West.
    With 25 of the 30 new seats already leaning Con, the Libs need to win big in Ontario.Southern Ontario is not Toronto and will not give someone a pass if they think he is a light weight which is what the ads play on. To have JT compound that perception with a Quebec arrogance will poison the well too. That is the audience. The Timmy’s crowd in Southern Ontario. They don’t read political web sites or even watch At Issue.

  30. Kaplan says:

    Let’s see…

    Guy elected by party after public collectively shrugs off the last two leaders.

    His political adversaries have had experience trouncing his party with effective negative attack ads.

    Seen as too young, and too inexperienced. He’s not a Bay Street hack, and is still on the low side of his 40s.

    Hasn’t ran anything big, and has only had limited experience as an MP.

    Has a long history of controversial statements, all on the public record, and, troublingly, pit west against east, and Quebec against the rest.

    Yep, that Stephen Harper had better throw in the towel.

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