The federal election is still about four months away, but the unofficial campaigns have been raging through the spring and show no sign of letting up.
The Conservatives, the best-funded of the three major parties, have been the busiest, filling the airwaves and web with ads, so far mostly attacking Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau. We expect that the ads slamming the new front runner, NDP leader Tom Mulcair, wonâ€™t be far behind.
The NDP and Liberals, both with less cash on hand, will no doubt be rolling out their own campaigns soon.
We know that with a fixed election date, this long, drawn-out campaign season is inevitable. And we know that attack ads are also inevitable.
Thatâ€™s not really a bad thing. Every party will have positions, and each party has a track record at the federal or provincial level, for good or ill. (Expect to hear both Liberals and Conservatives talk about their deficit-fighting experience, while the NDP beats the drum for Tommy Douglas and medicare.) Each party should be allowed to take swipes at the failures of their opponents.
However, we can only hope that the attack ads stick mostly to facts, and policies. The Conservatives have a long track record of attacking Liberal leaders based on their persona â€“ and trying to paint them as wimps, unfit for the job of PM. The Liberals may get huffy, but they spent quite a while accusing the Tories of being bent on destroying the country when the Conservatives were in opposition. The NDP has never been close enough to power to either benefit from or be much damaged by really vicious attack ads â€“ until now.
The Conservatives now have a lengthy track record.
Both the NDP and the Liberals have already started staking out positions on major issues that should give us an interesting campaign, even if personal attacks and fearmongering is kept to a minimum.
So letâ€™s have attack ads â€“ on ideas, but not on the very real people who are earnestly putting them forward.