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Tories launch folksy TV ads [CA]

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Dunfield, Allison
Publication Date: 
23 Aug 2005

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The Conservatives launched a folksy ad campaign Tuesday, criticizing the Liberals on their own playing field &emdash; health care, child care and opportunities for new Canadians &emdash; while trying to show Canadians that the Tories are the ones showing leadership one these issues.

The four television ads depict Opposition Leader Stephen Harper and his deputy leader Peter MacKay, along with several MPs, chatting causally in a downtown Toronto office with windows overlooking the street. A new slogan, "Stand up for Canada," is seen throughout the ads and is included on the Conservative website.

In one, the MPs discuss increased waiting lists for health care. Another says the Liberal government's $5-billion daycare deal will only help parents who work day jobs, while another 30-second segment shows Mr. Harper talking about the difficulties that skilled immigrants face in finding work.

The idea behind the ads is to show Mr. Harper in a "very strong leadership role," John Reynolds, the party's campaign co-chairman, told

The commercials are also meant to combat criticism that Mr. Harper is cold and lacks personality, an image both Mr. Harper and the party have been battling. This summer, the Leader began a circuit of barbecues and summer fairs in an effort to allow people to get to know his less serious side.

The television spots are meant to show the other side of Mr. Harper that exists, the Tory Leader who spends time discussing issues with his MPs at a more personal level, Mr. Reynolds said.

They also show that "Mr. Harper has thought through solutions for these issues."

The Tories have begun airing the ads in Ontario only as they jockey for position on numerous issues facing the Liberal minority parliament leading up to the fall session. Mr. Reynolds told that the television spots will eventually be aired across Canada and will likely be on television until the session re-starts at the end of September.

The party has been lagging in the polls behind the Liberals since the sponsorship scandal has been out of the limelight this summer.

One television advertisement features Mr. Harper, speaking with MP Helena Guergis about choice in child care.

He says the $5-billion offered by the Liberals in the child-care agreement doesn't take shift workers into account who may not be able to use traditional day care centres.

Ms. Guergis nods while Mr. Harper talks and glances toward a group of children playing at a table nearby.

The ads were shot in a Toronto suburb in early May, weeks before a key no-confidence vote and the defection of one of his Ontario MPs Belinda Stronach to the Liberals. Mr. Reynolds said they were purposely shot in an office overlooking a busy street, to show that the party is open and has no hidden agenda.

Mr. Reynolds did not reveal the agency that worked on them, saying they were put together by a group of people.

- reprinted from the Globe and Mail

Entered Date: 
26 Aug 2000
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