View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – New ads, stale theme from Conservatives – January 17, 2011

Ottawa ON – New Conservative attack ads are out today.  I can’t say that I am overly impressed with them, as they are repeating an old theme that was already getting stale. How many Canadians don’t know that Ignatieff spent time in the United States? And at this point in his career, besides the Conservative base, how many really care? These quotes might have been interesting when Ignatieff first took over as the Liberal leader, but they have been overused since then. At this point they are pretty stale although Conservative partisans will still love to see them out there.

The Conservatives also produced an aggressive ad to take a shot at Jack Layton. When you consider that Layton might be the only party leader willing to compromise on the budget, it leaves one with the impression that the Conservatives are hoping they anger him enough that he won’t support them in that crucial vote. Of course Conservative spinners will still insist that they don’t want an election.

It remains to be seen if the Conservatives actually pay for these ads to be run on the various networks or if this is just a ploy to use the media to report on them and therefore promote the ads for free. Saturation news coverage of the ads and reporters asking Ignatieff and Layton to respond to them while they are on their pre-election tours will serve as a nice destabilizer. This will force the Liberal and NDP spinners to react, driving them temporarily off their own messaging. That of course makes the effort worthwhile for the Conservatives and their “friends” in the media will be helping them to do it for free.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

Best WesternKAV Productions


  1. This “driving them temporarily off their own messaging” was used by the Ontario Liberals last election!

    Heard a guy on an Ottawa staion asking if there was anything untrue spoken in the ad’s, doesn’t look like it. Of course they are not soldiers with guns in our streets being backed up by aircraft carriers….

  2. Stale, you say, Keith. Isn’t staleness the essence of conservatism—stuck in the past, stuck in the mud (except when they are flinging it), afraid of change? These Harperites are way past their best-by date.

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