Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives have launched new attack ads against Liberal Party interim leader Bob Rae and his economic record as the New Democratic Party Premier of Ontario.
The New Democratic Party is the Official Opposition in the House of Commons and is about to elect its new leader. The federal election is also more than three years away. So why are the Conservatives attacking Bob Rae, the interim leader of the Liberal Party – a third party in Parliament? That’s the same question Rae is asking.
Over the weekend, Harper’s Conservative Party launched a new television and online video criticizing Rae’s record as the Ontario Premier from 1990 to 1995 when he was also leader of the Ontario NDP. During his time in office, the province faced high deficits and one of the worst recessions in its history.
Stamped by the word “failure,” the video pegs the question: “If he couldn’t run a province, why does he think can run Canada?”
“Bob Rae wants to be prime minister, but as a former premier of Ontario he has a proven record of failure,” the announcer states in the video. “The most job losses since the Great Depression, the highest income taxes in North America, the biggest deficit Ontario had ever had. By the time he was done, Premier Rae turned Ontario into the welfare capital of Canada.”
It also has Rae continually chuckling throughout the video.
Another video was posted the same day on YouTube called “Strong Leadership.” This video highlights the prime minister’s record on the economy and the various policies issued with background audio of Harper’s victory speech on election night.
In the past, the Tories have issued attack ads against former Liberal leaders Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion, which was mostly ignored. However, this time around, Rae and the Grits will be fighting back. The Liberal Party plans to court its supporters to donate money to a campaign that would counter the Conservatives’ ads.
So why are the Conservatives attacking Rae? Conservative Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told reporters in Toronto Monday that Rae “asked for a debate.”
“So we're looking forward to him defending his record of higher taxes, job-killing deficits and debt, burdensome regulations, massive unemployment and record high levels of welfare,” said Kenney, reports the Toronto Sun.
Both ads come as Toronto-Danforth holds its by-election to succeed former NDP leader Jack Layton. It is expected that it will be a close race between Liberal candidate Grant Gordon and NDP candidate Craig Scott.