Stephen Harper’s New Attack Ad Is Out, and It’s Hilariously Bad

Check out the Conservatives' new attack ad that you'll be seeing all summer, and why it's so fucked up.

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May 25 2015, 8:44pm

Good news, everyone!

It's attack ad season again.

With just 147 interminable days left of hearing three grown men crowing like frat boys chirping each other outside of an East Side Mario's, the Conservatives have released a new attack ad targeting Justin Trudeau.

And it's really bad.

Open on boardroom 115. A landline is ringing.

We've got a table of four very important business people—Old Dude, Old Not-White Dude, Woman in Blazer, and Woman in Cardigan. Basically, sub-sections to represent the entire country.

"Let's talk about Justin," says Old White Dude.

"I see he's included his picture," lays down Cardigan. She's holding Justin Trudeau's resume. Sick burn. "Let's start with the experience section: nothing about balancing a budget or making a payroll."

At this point, you're realizing that the ad was cast with the very best actors that Discount Dave's D-List Talent Agency has to offer.

"Didn't he say budgets balance themselves?" asks Blazer.

Evidently, budgets don't balance themselves, which is why the Conservatives had to sell off a bunch of government-held shares at a discount, and move a bunch of money around in order to give the impression that they balanced the budget.

"And what does the experience section say about keeping us safe?" asks Cardigan, who is the only person not wearing a suit. It is not casual Friday yet, Susan.

"Well, he wants to send winter jackets to Syria."

Yes, and so does the current Canadian government. ("Canada is helping... provide emergency assistance, including support to help people survive the winter.")

"Like that'll stop ISIS," says sassy Old Not-White Dude.

At this point, it becomes very clear that the shadowy cabal of Illuminati who are hiring the prime minister are not big fans of Justin Trudeau.

"So what are his policies?" asks confused Old Dude.

Cut the second tax bracket by 1.5 percent, get the provinces to adopt a carbon-pricing scheme, fix Canada's access to information regime...

"Legalizing marijuana!" says Old Not-White Guy. "Is that the biggest problem we have to solve?"

It is, apparently, if you're the Harper government, which has spent a decade trying to jack up penalties for small-time pot dealers (tens of thousands of Canadians are charged with drug possession each year, including thousands of youths) and cut off dying cancer patients' ability to grow their own medical marijuana.

"He has some growing up to do."

Cardigan disapprovingly notes that Trudeau wants to cancel income splitting. (Income splitting, as you may recall, is a tax loophole for about 10 percent of the country that disproportionately benefits rich families.)

"I guess pension splitting for seniors is next," says Old White Dude.

That's a pretty terrible guess, Old White Dude, as Trudeau said earlier this month that he is "going to protect income-splitting for seniors."

The phone in the background is still ringing. Are these the only four people working at the top-secret prime minister-hiring bunker?

"I'm not saying no forever, but not now," says Cardigan.

In case you're wondering: yes, it's a little weird to endorse your opponent for a later election in your attack ad.

Trudeau 2073!

"Nice hair, though." Shade thrown, Old Not-White Guy.

Cardigan writes "JUST NOT READY" on Trudeau's resume, which doesn't really feel necessary (and most HR departments frown on writing on resumes). The sound of a felt marker squeaking on glossy paper was added to remind everyone in the country just how fucking annoying attack ads are.

The whole ad is supposed to scare the shit out of people who wear cardigans and/or are old, by conjuring the fear that Justin Trudeau doesn't know what he's doing.

Just like Stephane Dion was not a leader and Michael Ignatieff didn't come back for you, the Conservatives are hoping to swiftboat Trudeau by making up a bunch of shit and throwing it at him.

But while those grainy ads—with their low-voiced movie-trailer-narrator and their American-style muckracking—proved effective in kneecapping the previous Liberal leaders, these anti-Trudeau ads are pretty much just depressingly hilarious, like watching a middle-aged guy's video dating profile from 1993.

At least when the Manitoba NDP did it, they hired decent actors.

So get ready, because whenever you turn on a TV or stream a Youtube video this summer, you're going to be confronted with this Conservative ad.

The other parties are going to be rolling out ads, too, but they don't have nearly as much money to do so.

Thomas Mulcair has an ad that features him in a hipster cafe, not at all looking completely out of place.

The Liberals also released an ad today that features Justin Trudeau talking like. there is. a period. after every. second word.

And the Conservatives have another ad, featuring Sad Harper sitting at his desk, all alone, late at night.

But it'll be the Trudeau attack ad that you see again, and again, and again.

You know why? Because the Conservative Party has (and this is the proper accounting term) a fuckload of money.

By the end of 2013, the party had $11 million in unrestricted cash in the bank to spend. Since then, they've raised another $27 million.

Given that parties are only allowed to spend $20 million, give or take a few million, in the court of the election campaign (roughly between September 13 and October 19), that means they'll have a lot of money left over. And there's no real rules on how parties spend money or run advertising outside of an election period.

So, do the math: the Conservatives are going to dump so much money into blanketing the airwaves of this summer, you're going to want to take a shotgun to your TV.

Follow Justin Ling on Twitter.

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