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Election attack ads turn off voters, politicians
Published Monday, September 8, 2008 4:41PM MDT
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion ramped up his attacks against the Conservatives on Monday as he campaigned in Quebec, accusing them of "piling their lies upon lies."
Dion was responding to Tory attack ads that claimed he would raise the GST and end a $1,200 child tax benefit. He said both allegations were false.
"They are piling their lies upon lies," he told supporters at a rally. "They are unable to stop lying. Canadians will not accept that."
In another campaign stop, he slammed the Conservatives for being "blinded by ideology" when it came to tackling gun crime. Dion delivered his message at Montreal's Dawson College, the site of a horrific 2006 shooting spree that killed one person and wounded 20 others.
Dion called for a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles like the one used in the attack, citing a coroner's recommendation. During the shooting, the killer fired more than 70 rounds from his weapon.
"I always take into consideration the opinion of experts with respect to Canadians' safety," said Dion. "I don't allow myself to be blinded by ideology."
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper refused to endorse the ban and warned Dion that he should not "be seen as exploiting particular tragedies."
Yet not all voters were swayed by the mud-slinging at both camps.
Some residents in Edmonton say the ads are not appealing.
"That's just negative," Darren Joseph said. "That's just impacts negative on me because I don't want to hear what that guy's bad at. I want to hear what you can do."
"That was pretty brutal," Tim Neufeld said. "That type of ad just makes me want to just change the channel."
In a Strategic Counsel poll released Sunday that surveyed several key battleground ridings in the province, the Conservatives had managed to overtake both the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois:
- Conservatives: 32 per cent
- Bloc Quebecois: 28 per cent
- Liberals: 24 per cent
- New Democrats: 11
- Green Party: 5
Some experts say they aren't surprised some candidates have hit the ground swinging.
CTV News Election analyst John Brennan said the ads will likely prove effective.
"If you ask average people if they like attack ads, they say no, but it's interesting because the political science studies show they actually work," he said.
Meanwhile, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach criticized his federal counterparts for wasting taxpayers' money on negative advertising.
During the 2008 provincial election, Stelmach's Tories won a decisive victory despite the many attack ads that sought to destroy his credibility.
"That's a lesson many leaders should have learned. if its going to take a few million dollars worth of investment in negative advertising they'll learn the hard way."
With files from CTV News Staff and The Canadian Press