This is the first installment of what I suspect will be a long-haul attack campaign by the Conservatives against Thomas Mulcair and the New Democrats, and instead of focussing on the leader as past attack ads have, this one is starting off by attacking the NDP's team.
Now, at the very least Karl Bélanger isn't impressed, and that's a good sign. But the attack side lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, the fire of past attacks that rattled the cages of Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff's Liberals. This site just attacks the several well-known and controversial faces of the NDP's critics team. I've heard a couple of people speculate that the Cons are using "kid gloves" with the New Democrats, either because this is just a warm-up act, or because they don't want to damage them too much, lest they give the Liberals a chance to come back.
I don't know, but personally, I find the site pretty amusing. It attacks all these critics, ranging from Alexandre Boulerice who's bio is pretty accurate, to Matthew Kellway and the accusation of the "$75 iPod tax" BS, something he clearly doesn't deserve being attributed to him. In a way, the site isn't all that inaccurate, as it really does list the facts - like who was a member of the Rae government, what their backgrounds are, whether they're affiliated with unions, their views on free trade, and so on. It's obviously got a tilt, but they actually source their information. And not all of it is taken out of context.
It's the most accurate biased attack ad from the Conservatives yet.
The question remains, though - is it effective? It's been more or less panned by critics, and they've so far failed to bring up its Google ranking. I typed in several variants that I assume are the most-searched NDP/Mulcair-related things, such as "Mulcair NDP, Mulcair team, NDP critics, Mulcair critics," and so on, and it's usually about five or so down, or not there at all, or mentioned by others. An attack website like this needs to be the first thing you can find when you search "NDP" to be truly effective.
The content itself I have mixed feelings over. While highlighting some of the more controversial aspects of the team, the Conservatives could effectively make the case that, hey, maybe Mulcair isn't so bad, but look who he wants to put into cabinet! And that's not such a bad idea; these people are significantly "scarier" than Mulcair himself is, and they could be a drag on his party's popularity going forward.
At the same time, they really need to define Mulcair before he defines himself. Especially for the NDP, who are essentially leader-driven, it's important that the Conservatives - or the Liberals, for that matter - play up on Tom's negatives. His temper, some past remarks, wrecking his time in cabinet, etc. Maybe Mulcair has less on his record to attack, but they need to do something, or else the Conservatives will risk seeing the narrative get away from them.
It reminds us as well that Bob Rae will be an awesome lightning rod for attacks, if he's permanent leader. That's just a fact. Why anyone believes that people have "forgotten" or "forgiven" his record, I have no idea. They're using his record to attack the NDP, for Christ's sake. I don't even want to know what they'll do to us.