tory attack ad tame by all standards.

Social-Credit-Its-a-Big-Decision

Alberta's culture of negative attack ads began with this nasty Social Credit Party newspaper ad during the 1971 election.

Alberta’s political twitterati were atwitter yesterday after a Progressive Conservative radio advertisement was leaked to the Calgary Herald. The ad defend the new law passed by Premier Alison Redford‘s government that will lower a driver’s legal blood alcohol level from 0.08 to 0.05 and respond to the constant, and sometimes creative, criticism of the new law by Danielle Smith and her Wildrose Party.

Judging by the amount of earned media the Tories have already received about the yet-to-be-aired ad, the ad may have already paid for itself.

Unlike the negative ads saturating the airwaves in the Republican Party presidential nomination race south of the border, this Tory radio ad is very, very tame. The ads point out a clear difference between the two parties on a real policy issue that both parties believe they have something to gain from.

Albertans should expect high levels of sensationalism from mainstream political pundits in over the course of the next week. How many times can we expect the phrase “the gloves off” to be used in the next few days? Lots.

The Tory Party’s shift in tactics is important to note. Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid points out on his blog that the ad marks an attitude change in a PC Party that would typically dismiss the opposition (and romp to another election victory).

Normally invulnerable, the Tories may be worried that accusations and evidence of intimidation and bad governance may be starting to stick. The growing pile of Tory political miscalculations and mistakes are starting to pile up with an election call expected by the end of March.

Some of the latest Tory missteps include Dunvegan-Central Peace MLA Hector Goudreau’s threatening letter to school board officials in his constituency, the war of words between Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths and Alberta Urban Municipalities Association President Linda Sloan, and the ensuing tweet of Premier Redford’s now-former Chief of Staff Stephen Carter. Along with Elections Alberta announcing an investigation into allegations of illegal political donations.

Yesterday, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released information showing that 21 MLAs, mostly Tories, are being paid $1000 per month for being members of a legislative committee that has not met in over three years. Lacombe-Ponoka PC MLA Ray Prins has been collecting $18,000 a year for being the chair of the committee.

Bonnyville-Cold Lake PC MLA Genia Leskiw pleaded ignorance when asked about the extra money she was collecting from the committee, telling the CBC that “I don’t even look at my paycheque.

Maybe the Tories should be worried.

21 thoughts on “tory attack ad tame by all standards.

  1. First of All

    How is that 1971 advertisement negative?

    I think its a very poignant strategy by the Social Credit strategists to define the distinction between being old stodgy and a steady leader vs. Youth charisma, zazz and radical change. Frankly the advertisement is not so much an attack on Peter Lougheed but an attempt to turn one of Harry Strom’s weaknesses into a positive.

    Also for the record there Dave that wasn’t the first advertisement in Alberta attacking another candidate or party, not by a long shot.

    Reply
  2. Lou Arab

    The point is not that the ad is all that negative, the point is that the Tories feel the need to run ‘contrast’ ads at all. It tells me that the race is much closer than recent ‘credible’ polls have led us to believe.

    Reply
  3. Andrew F.

    One of the battles with the drunk driving legislation has been around education and public perception. Even in your post, you say that it lowers the legal limit from .08 to .05 and this is not accurate. Only the federal government can lower the legal limit to .05, the new legislation increases the penalty to those who blow .05-.08.

    So why not lobby the Federal Government to lower the limit? In 2009 a Federal Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights researched the issue and recommended “the provinces and territories be encouraged to enhance their efforts in intervening at BACs lower than the Criminal Code level.” This recommendation came after hearing a lack of consensus among the experts as to whether or not a lower Criminal Code BAC limit would achieve greater safety.

    All other provinces, except for Quebec, have penalties for .05 – including impounding of vehicles. And contrary to critics, there is an appeal process in Alberta’s legislation.

    Ultimately, this legislation saves lives. It does not target social drinkers or the hospitality industry. It targets people who drink too much and then choose to drive; making the roads safer for all Albertans.

    It’s the responsible thing to do.

    Reply
  4. Jerry Toews

    I giggled and giggled at the outrage on the “talkback” lines that I heard yesterday. Really? Are we that sensitive? As anyone who knows me is aware, I’m no PC apologist by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to me that this ad is a legitimate piece of electioneering, the idea of which is to point out the differences between your party and your opponents.

    It seems to me that those Albertans who are so offended are the same ones who complain every time an election is called and the same ones who vote in this same government time and time again. Good democracy does not mean that we will agree on everything. In fact, it depends on disagreement.

    It would be a different matter if this was a personal attack, but from what I heard, this ad points out a clear policy difference – spins it, of course, but imo it’s completely legitimate.

    One last thought – negative ads are only used because they work. I would expect most of the opposition parties to use a good deal of negative messaging in this campaign in an attempt to remind voters of the Conservative’s abysmal record in an attempt to break the hegemony that is
    Alberta politics.

    Reply
  5. ruralgal

    There are negative ads and there is many definitions. if you “push back” and call out the “other guy” on twisting the truth or telling half truths – that is a legistimate call out. If you just take a personal tone to it – then it is a personal attack ad – this is wrong. So here is hoping we have a healthy debate on real issues and differences.
    But negative ads work and sometimes needed to wake up the voters – I am finding lots of apathy – what is the use? They will get in again? Will my neighbors like me if I support the wrong person – mob decisions? Voters get the govt they deserve. Let us hope this time they understand that they do deserve better!

    Reply
  6. Automatic

    Maybe this is why;

    “Redford visited with constituents during a beef on a bun dinner at the Stockade Convention Centre where almost 250 people attended to meet her and listen to her speak.”

    http://www.meridianbooster.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3490655

    “Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith spoke to a crowd of almost 500 people at the Stockade Convention Centre…”

    http://www.meridianbooster.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3492881

    PC event just a few days before Wildrose event.

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Mudslinging: Alberta’s latest growth industry - Colby Cosh - Macleans.ca

  8. Brian

    The Wildrose always have been great at making themselves out to be bigger than they are. It will be interesting when March 31 comes around and we see how broke their constituencies are.

    Reply
  9. Susan Wright

    To date I’ve seen the PCs roll out the “we’re listening” language of the Alberta Party (and the TV psychiatrist Frasier), the “contrast” ads of the Wildrose and $$$ for the doctors in the form of a 2% raise for the Apr 2012-2013 time frame (which means it can be rolled back after it’s served its purpose).

    Stephen Carter is a creative guy…surely he can do better than this.

    Reply
  10. Michael Dawe

    Speaking from what a lot of provincial pundits unfortunately consider the “boonies”, the issue which has really hit hard was the one about the M.L.A.’s getting $1000 a month to sit on a committee that hasn’t met in years. It’s the kind of issue that people can easily understand and a situation that is impossible to defend.
    People just think it is plain wrong – not something that has to be studied to be changed.
    Although there is the claim that “everybody” did it, the Government takes the biggest hit on this one. The issue also plays to the fury of smug, self serving politics that the Wildrose Party (and others) has quite rightly been railing against.
    I heard a lot of hard core Conservatives today say that they are seriously reconsidering their support.

    Reply
  11. Dave

    I agree it’s tame, but saying that Danielle Smith will kill people is really over the top and that is exactly the implied message of the ad.

    Poor taste

    Reply
  12. Brian

    Michael, Wildrose are a bunch of hipocrites then – as they sat on the committee too. What do we expect from such an extremist party though?

    Reply
  13. Michael Dawe

    Brian.
    I agree that all parties sat on that Committee and that everyone gets a black eye (although Dr. David Swan did donate his money to charity).
    Nevertheless, if you read the Red Deer Advocate, Ray Prins, chair of the Committee,said he was “not particularly happy with it myself”. He said he was happy that the issue is now under review.
    Not good enough.
    He needs to explain why, if he was getting $500 per month extra to chair the Committee, he never called a meeting for the past 3 years.
    Also, paying M.L.A.’s $1000 per month to sit on a Committee that hasn’t met since 2008 is just plain wrong. It doesn’t need to be studied or reviewed. It is something that has to end immediately.
    No ifs, ands, buts or maybes.

    Reply
  14. Alvin Finkel

    The MLAS who were members of the fictional committee should be asked to return all the monies that they received over the last 3 years. Most employers claw back monies that were paid out inadvertently, e.g. stipends for administrative duties that have disappeared. Why should this employer and these employees not follow that normal practice?

    Reply
  15. Brian

    Yes Michael it has to end – for both government and opposition members. The opposition members who criticize are just as guilty and Wildrose is particularly bad for this.

    Reply
  16. jerrymacgp

    I don’t see this as an “attack” ad; yes, it’s negative, but genuine attack ads go beyond policy differences to attack personalities. Examples of the latter include the anti-Dukakis Willie Horton ads during the 1988 Presidential election in the US, and the federal PC Party’s “ugly Chretien” photo ads in the 1993 federal election here in Canada.

    As a voter, I disagree with “attack” ads, and I would be loath to support a party that uses them. Negative advertising that highlights policy differences, however, can be a legitimate political tool, although I prefer to see more of a point-counterpoint contrasting of the sponsoring party’s policies with these of its opponent(s).

    Reply
  17. Pingback: Alberta Tories play the fear card against Wildrose threat | Canada | Full Comment | National Post

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