Conservatives Release Television Ads As Canada Election Nears

Conservatives Release Television Ads as Canada Election Nears

By Theophilos Argitis
Sept. 4 (Bloomberg)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's governing Conservatives released new television ads today in an another sign that an election campaign is imminent.

The three ads show Harper, decked in a blue sweater vest and sitting in front of a fireplace, talking to a man and woman about the sacrifices made by veterans, the importance of family and the government's efforts to welcome immigrants.

Harper, seeking to become the first Conservative Party leader to win back-to-back elections in two decades, has said Parliament is deadlocked and threatened to call a vote in the coming days. With opinion polls showing the major parties in a dead heat, Harper is courting minorities, suburban families and pensioners to expand his base of support.

“We have a real strong history of immigration in this country,'' Harper, 49, says in one ad, titled “A Nation of Immigrants.'' The ad continues: “What I see are people who are excited about the opportunities and the possibilities of the new land they're in. We're going to work with new Canadians.''

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, 52-year-old head of the biggest opposition party, isn't mentioned in any of the spots. That's a departure for the Conservatives, who have used radio and television ads over the past two years to cast doubt on his competency and leadership skills.

The Conservatives are using a funding advantage over the Liberals to pay for advertising, though once a campaign starts both parties will be limited to spending about C$18 million ($16.9 million).

Polls show none of the parties in Parliament has enough support to win a majority of seats.

Harper's minority government is 27 seats short of a majority and relies on support from rival parties to pass laws and stay in office. The prime minister will ask Canada's ceremonial head of state on Sept. 7 to dissolve Parliament, triggering elections for Oct. 14, Canadian Press said today.

Dion, who has called Harper secretive and the most “right-wing'' leader in the country's history, told reporters in Winnipeg, Manitoba, today that efforts to depict Harper in a softer light aren't sincere and won't succeed.

To contact the reporters on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at

Last Updated: September 4, 2008 14:32 EDT