Tories fight ads depicting Hudak as Bay St. puppet
Scene from 'Backroom' from a group called Working Families.
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, March 17, 2011 3:57PM EDT
TORONTO - Ontario Progressive Conservatives are fighting back against television attack ads that take aim at Opposition Leader Tim Hudak ahead of the fall election.
The multimillion-dollar ad campaign, created by a union-sponsored group called Working Families, mocks Hudak as a Bay Street yes-man who will weaken human rights and safety laws to pad the pockets of big business.
Three 30-second spot, which started airing Monday, shows a man resembling Hudak -- and shown only from the back -- seated at a boardroom table where three businessmen are giving him orders.
"Can we just go back to the old days when you and Mike ran things?" one of them says, referring to former Tory premier Mike Harris.
The actor portraying Hudak silently nods his head. "Thatta boy," the other men say.
The Tories want the ads yanked and have launched a complaint with the Television Bureau of Canada, which screens TV ads before they air.
The party sent a letter Thursday complaining that the ads violate TV advertising guidelines. They appear to be "intentionally deceptive, erroneous or misleading" because they portray a meeting that never happened, the party said.
It also complained the so-called warning label -- which show viewers who paid for the ad -- isn't big enough and have asked TVB to provide the party with advance copies of future ads about Hudak.
"What we're saying is that the ads should not have been let through that screening process," said Hartley Lefton, a lawyer who represents the party. "The ads clearly violate TVB guidelines."
Working Families spokesman Patrick Dillon said the ads were cleared before they aired.
Lefton wouldn't say whether the party is considering legal action, given the letter's warning that TV stations should "seek independent legal advice" before they run the ads.
"We expect that all parties in the process will tell the truth," he said. "If they do not, they need to understand the consequences of not telling the truth."
The Tories have also launched a new website -- www.truthabouttimhudak.ca -- to counter allegations made against Hudak in the lead-up to the Oct. 6 election.