2 min

Attacking the attack ads

During a press conference today, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and deputy leader Adriane Carr unveiled their party’s new attack ad… on attack ads.

“I hope you see our sense of humour,” May says, referring to the militaristic drumbeat and ominous male voice-over used to spoof the attack ads of other parties.

The television ad, which will run Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings on CBC, CTV and French-language station TVA, coincides with a new social media campaign that attempts to change Canadian campaign culture before the next election.

Carr says they are counting on Canadians to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to get the message out. “We’re asking them to post it to friends, to post it to politicians’ pages, to post it to the leaders of political parties with a message that this is not the Canada they want – this is not the kind of Canadian politics they want.”

Carr wants to remind people that they have the power to change politics, just as when pressure from ordinary Canadians helped get Elizabeth May into the leaders’ debate during the last election, despite Harper's and Layton's saying that she shouldn’t be included.

May remains convinced that declining voter turnout is a direct result of the voter suppression tactics of attack ads.

“In other countries, they have found solutions,” May says. “In the UK, in France, in Israel, in Belgium, in Brazil – there’s a longer list of countries – where it is simply not allowed for political parties to buy television advertising time. Instead, the networks are required to provide free time on television to present their views.”

While May points out that attack ads simply attack and don’t talk about what a party stands for – including the Liberal ads that attack Harper’s policies instead of Harper himself – this ad doesn’t say anything about the party’s platform either.

“It says that when you change the channel, you’re getting a positive message,” May says. She points out that they won’t be running this kind of ad during an election cycle. Instead, they'll run ads that outline the Greens' message.

“The Greens stand for more respectful democracy, more civility and a greater ability to work together in the interest of things that Canadians not only desperately want, but desperately need.”
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