It seems the federal election campaign has begun.

That’s because the Conservatives have stuck to their usual script of launching personal attack ads well before an election.

They have done this before. Just ask former Liberal leaders Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. If you don’t remember them, that kind of proves the point.

Perhaps you have seen the Conservatives’ new TV commercials.

One particularly repulsive message starts with a close-up of U.S. President Donald Trump, and while the narrator details a litany of alleged corruption the camera zooms out to reveal that he is really talking about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau standing right next to the Donald.

No doubt the creators think the commercial is brilliant, especially the surprise twist.

What we see is a commercial that is basically implying – actually outright stating – that our prime minister is worse than Donald Trump. No matter what you think of Trudeau, that is ridiculous.

That commercial will just reinforce in some people’s minds that the Conservatives are just a northern clone of the modern Republic Party in the U.S. We use the word ‘modern’ because the Republican Party has sold its soul to Donald Trump.

Conservative leader Andrew Sheer also recently announced that a Conservative government would move Canada’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. That imitation of Donald Trump would be a vote-getter among American Evangelicals, but maybe not so much among Canadians.

There is another new TV commercial from the Conservatives featuring people on the street blasting Trudeau for just about everything wrong with the country.

That commercial also has its own level of silliness. The people are apparently very poor actors who cannot even read a prepared script and make it sound slightly believable.

The obvious goal of both commercials is to personally demolish Justin Trudeau.

We can only imagine what the ads will look like when the Conservatives bring out their big guns to attack Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin scandal and his bungled trip to India.

The Conservatives have lots of ammunition to use against Trudeau, but we think they are going to misuse this opportunity.

We’re not really bothered by the thought of a Conservative government. Changing the party in power every once in a while is good for democracy. It keeps Alberta and some other areas of Canada somewhat happy to have a right-wing government in Ottawa.

Nor are we bothered by the thought of a re-elected Liberal government.

In other words, we are neutral.

And as a neutral observer, we can see that the Conservatives are going to annoy many Canadians with their strategy of trying to destroy Trudeau on a personal basis.

The focus on the personal means issues will be largely ignored.

The underlying concept is that voters can readily understand and be swayed by a personal attack, but cannot comprehend the issues. That’s more than a bit insulting and condescending.

It’s also so American. In the U.S., the attack ad has been raised to an art form.

The Conservatives are currently leading the public opinion polls, but they will have to be careful. Too much negativity might eventually turn away many voters.


Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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