Thomas Mulcair’s New Democrats are launching a cheeky ad that parodies the widely viewed Conservative television spot known as “The Interview” in which four people pore over Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s resume around a boardroom table and decide he is “just not ready” to be prime minister.
The Tory ad has been running on TV since May, sometimes during prime-time sporting events, and polls suggest it has successfully created doubts in the minds of many Canadians about Mr. Trudeau’s ability to lead the country. It ends with one of the people assessing Mr. Trudeau’s record saying “Nice hair though.”
Airing on television starting next week, the NDP ad also depicts four people sitting in a boardroom, but in this case, they are critiquing the performance of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.
It begins with one of them, a woman, saying, “We’ve had a lot of complaints.”
“Yeah,” pipes up a second woman, “election fraud, bribery.”
“Don’t forget Mike Duffy,” says a man.
“It says here he has the worst jobs record of any prime minister in decades,” says another man.
One of the women concludes that it is “time to let him go,” after which they all agree that Mr. Mulcair’s experience and priorities mean he is “up for the job.”
An announcer chimes in, saying: “Stephen Harper, it’s time to let him go.”
The commercial then ends with one of the men saying: “Nice hair, though.”
Brad Lavigne, the senior campaign adviser for the New Democrats, said in an e-mail on Friday that his party’s new ad highlights Mr. Mulcair’s readiness for the job of prime minister. It “makes the case why Stephen Harper should be fired and Tom Mulcair hired,” said Mr. Lavigne.
Perhaps concerned that political opponents will criticize the insertion of an attack ad into what Mr. Mulcair promised just two weeks ago would be a “very positive campaign,” Mr. Lavigne said the ad “is a direct reply to the attack ads the Conservatives have been running against Mr. Mulcair.”
In some ways, the New Democrats are just taking back what was lifted from them. The Conservative ad targeting Mr. Trudeau mimicked a 2011 Manitoba provincial ad used by the NDP against Hugh McFadyen who was then the leader of the Progressive Conservatives in that province.
Although the 11-week federal election campaign has now passed the halfway mark, the NDP has not spent much of its advertising budget, deliberately holding off until now to unleash what insiders say will be the biggest ad buy in the party’s history.
Stephen Lecce, a spokesman for the Conservative party, said he did not believe voters would buy into message of the NDP ad.
“We won’t be fooled by the NDP plan to impose an avalanche of taxes on Canadians,” Mr. Lecce said in an e-mail. “As taxpayers in Ontario and B.C. felt firsthand the devastating effects of NDP tax hikes, unemployment and deficits – for the NDP our message is: it’s always a bad time.”