Sunday, September 06, 2009

The ground shifts, Liberal ads released

Update (5:05 p.m.) below...

A few items on the big event...

First of all, it must be said that beyond any partisan political calculations, this is a good day for Canadian democracy. While that may sound like an overstatement that opposition partisans will guffaw at, the advertising field has been largely occupied by Conservatives in the past few years and we've seen the dominance and damage that can flow from such an unbalanced play. Now we're seeing a re-balancing of resources that has been sorely off-kilter in Canada for the past few years. That's what today's public salvo symbolizes.

A national ad campaign from the Liberals signifies that they can and will take on the Conservatives financially and in such advertising displays. The very fact of running these ads alone will send an important message that the Liberals are back in the game. No doubt this will have trickle effects too, encouraging more support, a bandwagon effect financially. So while there is a lot of discussion today about the particulars of the ads, what shirt he's wearing, the bucolic background and other such very important considerations, there's much more going on here with the launch that's going to ripple.

What say you, Conservatives? Are you enjoying having your one-sided cannon disarmed? No, sounds like they're a bit miffed and one of the ministers of bluster was on tap to issue the talking points. Here was Jason Kenney today with a statement that really hearkened back for me to Stephen Harper, his sweater vests and his unnecessary election last fall:
"“Michael Ignatieff is trying to re-cast himself as a man of the people, a leader who can be entrusted with the Canadian economy,” Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said in a statement Sunday.

“He is hoping Canadians will forget his record. He’s hoping Canadians won’t notice that he’s putting Canada’s economic recovery at risk by forcing an unnecessary election. Mr. Ignatieff is hoping he can hide who he really is.”"
Jason, Jason, Jason. Hide who he is? Re-cast himself as a man of the people? That was Harper and his sweater vest act. This was a clear introduction. No hiding.

And what is this about Ignatieff hoping "Canadians will forget his record?" Governments have records, and the Conservative one is quite ugly. Deficit even before the recession hit, environmental foot dragging, health care failings, devaluing Canadian, Harper's the guy with the record that will be full on in the spotlight during an election, no matter how much Jason Kenney and the Conservatives want to make the election about anything else. Besides, Michael Ignatieff embraces his "worldview" and experience abroad in this opening English ad, if that's what Kenney was getting at. There's a very clever reference to India and China here too, signifying that immigration as connected to global competitiveness is going to be part of the Liberal platform.

It's a good start. Very happy to see the Conservatives challenged nationally as of today in the advertising forum. The message is that the ground is clearly shifting.

Update (5:05 p.m.): If you have any doubt as to how disconcerted the Conservatives are, the low road kitchen sink approach from Jason Kenney today affirms it.