January 12, 2006

Are they negative if they're true?

The title is a question I have been pondering for quite awhile. While the new Liberal ads definitely fit the definition of negative campaigning my question is really if they are detracting in an ethical sense? Do they cross the line of being acceptable? This is not the first time Canadian politics has seen some brutal, in-your-face attack ads during a campaign. Many comparisons have been made to the failed and eventually withdrawn ads of Kim Campbell's PCs in 1993. However, in the 1993 case there were no real statements made about policy or comments by Chretien, rather they focussed in on Chretien's face and essentially made fun of his disability. This time around, Martin's crack(ed) team of wizards have played their ads with the inclusion of Harper's policies and quotes. Harper's team has struck back with negative ads of their own. The best one is the reflection of how it is possible the Liberals could justify running a negative ad when they have so many scandals. Well the answer is an easy one; Harper has said some pretty dumb things in his past about the country he wants to run and his policies are obviously out of touch with average Canadians. It is no secret that Canadians do not want to see a Conservative majority but only a minority, which essentially tells us this is method of voting against the Liberals, not for the Conservatives. However, all of this brings me back to my initial question; Are the ads negative, in a sense that they have 'crossed the line', if all they do is point out the truth? I don't think the answer to the question is just that simple. On one hand, I don't think it's wrong to point out that Harper has some obvious issues with the country he wants to govern and that his policies are not inclusive and are too far-right for Canadian values. However on the other hand, the tone of the ads are definitely in the vain of fear-mongering and the background picture of Harper does borderline fall into the style of ad that the 1993 PCs used against Chretien. I guess I'm really no closer to the answer.

1 comment:

ALW said...

Well, how about the fact that in some of the ads, there is no evidence whatsoever - that Harper received money from foreign sources, that he was in cahoots with Duceppe etc. Isn't that objectively over the top?

I also take issue with you saying Harper is "outside the mainstream". No offense, but where do you - or Jack Layton - get off saying that when it's clear the CPC has twice the support of the NDP? I am all for debating issues on their merits but I'm sick to death of left-leaning people claiming to speak for "Canadians". You don't. If you did, at times like these - or any other, for that matter - you'd climb above 20% in the polls.

Second, I used to think people didn't want a Tory majority either - until all the talk about majorities didn't spook anyone. It seems as though Harper is now centrist enough that people don't fear him, in the same way that a Liberal majority isn't "scary".

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)