How stupid are we? Conservative attack ad targeting Justin Trudeau intentionally deceives voters

How stupid are we? Conservative attack ad targeting Justin Trudeau intentionally deceives voters
Posted on August 8, 2015 | James Anderson | Written on August 6, 2015
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Author's Note:

Author's Note:

I orginally posted this to Facebook on August 6th, while watching the first leaders debate of this federal election. Please feel free to join the debate on my Facbook page as well.

In politics, voters prefer truth to fiction. Since an informed electorate is something we should all aspire to, I want to take a moment to rectify a recurring mis-representation.

For many months, the Conservatives have been bombarding voters with an attack ad that seeks to portray Justin Trudeau as out of his depth when it comes to managing Canada's economy. As 'evidence', they present a 4-second out-of-context clip in which the Liberal leader is heard to say "and the budget will balance itself".

Here's the rub: the full interview was roughly 240 seconds. In it, Justin Trudeau was criticizing the Conservative government for lacking a plan for economic growth. Trudeau discussed the need for a plan that included infrastructure spending, education and training, etc., to generate economic growth. And, he quite clearly -- and correctly -- was inferring that when the economy grows, balanced budgets tend to be a natural result. Growth means more jobs; more jobs means more tax revenues to governments, which in turn means less government spending on the social safety net. Anyone with a basic understanding of economics can get their mind around that.

The prime minister talks about economic growth frequently. He claims his government has a solid record of generating economic growth. I'm going to assume that, in highlighting it as an accomplishment of his government, the PM and his advisors have a solid enough understanding of what economic growth means.

So, it's pretty safe to assume that the Conservative strategists who chose to take the clip of Trudeau and use it out of context don't really disagree with the notion that economic growth makes it easier for governments to balance budgets. Rather, the Conservative campaign strategists chose to use the quote out of context, hoping the voting public wouldn't dig deeper and find out for themselves what the Liberal leader meant.

What the embracing of such tactics reveals about the character of any strategist or government isn't pretty. The adjectives that come to mind include cynical, shameless, deceitful and manipulative. Unfortunately, these political warriors worry not a whit about such judgments; the only measure that matters to them is political success. In their view, the ads are having their effect. Integrity is for losers.

I've never been comfortable with a politician -- of any stripe -- engaging in tactics that show such blatant disrespect for voters. I think we all have a right to expect more from our political leaders (and their teams). Our prime minister has been in power for over nine years. He has set the tone for this government from the beginning and could have chosen at any time to reject an ad that so clearly seeks to deceive the public.

It would be a breath of fresh air were voters to turn the tables on the cynics and investigate for themselves whether Justin Trudeau really sounded out of his depth in the CPAC interview in question.

In case anyone is interested, the full (4 minute) interview in which Trudeau uttered the now famous phrase being used against him can be found at the link below, at the 27:35 minute mark.…/…/primetime-politics/episodes/30396042/


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