The New Democrats are running television ads like they're a dominant party in Quebec.
They're spending $1 million in Quebec alone on ads, and while the other parties spots have typically shown a person talking to a camera, the NDP’s are full of animation and accompanied by an unmistakable message.
The party has run an ad warning of another Stephen Harper government. Over dark, rolling images, with the faces of Harper and George W. Bush looming in the shadows, the announcer says: “A vote for the Conservatives is a vote for narrow mindedness, cuts to culture, against Kyoto…” The viewer sees the words “pro war” over images of faceless soldiers, and “slave of the oilmen” over wrists raised in shackles.
Now they’ve turned their attention to the Bloc. An ad on TV screens today shows a maze, like in a suspenseful video game. “A vote for the Bloc Québécois…” the female announcer says, “blocks the environment, blocks the middle class, blocks the economy.” Viewers see a bicycle with square wheels, a helpless young man with his head between his knees. “But more than anything, blocks the future of Quebec,” she continues, as the camera pulls up from the maze to see the outline of Quebec. Of course, leader Jack Layton comes on screen and declares, “To unblock things,” etc. etc.
The NDP isn’t expected to win a seat other than the one Thomas Mulclair captured for the party in a by-election last year in Outremont. But it’s true the party has never garnered so much interest in the province than in this election, so much so that the Bloc started running ads against the NDP for the first time ever. The Bloc has been worried that the NDP will siphon off progressive votes. As the Tories falter in the polls, however, the NDP might end up siphoning off those who were considering the Conservatives but now are changing their minds, which could be good for the Bloc.
The ads, produced by award-winning Montreal firm Amen Creation, begin with the image of a ballot, and a voter about to check off one of the other parties.
One might assume – though the party won’t confirm this – that the Liberals are next on the hit list.