Manitoba NDP’s ‘Harper-esque’ ads could help the party earn its fourth consecutive majority

Heading into Tuesday's election in Manitoba, it appears the province's New Democrats have won the battle of dirty tactics.

In a move reminiscent of the federal Conservative party's "Just Visiting" attack campaign against then-Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, the Manitoba NDP has long targeted the province's Tory Leader Hugh McFayden.

"During the winter, we saw the NDP launch . . . a whole series of advertisements titled: 'Who is Hugh McFadyen?'" Christopher Adams, an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Winnipeg told The Canadian Press.

"This has put McFadyen on his heels."

The ads, which have become more frequent since the election campaign began, accused McFadyen of having a secret agenda to privatize Crown corporations such as Manitoba Hydro. They pointed to his work as a policy adviser to former premier Gary Filmon, who sold off the province's phone company.

In another provocative NDP ad dubbed, "Hugh McFadyen's job interview," actors portraying job interviewers say McFadyen wears a "nice suit," but "what he says doesn't match his resumé."

Later, an actor says choosing McFadyen for the job wouldn't be worth the risk, one of the slogans of the NDP campaign.

University of Manitoba political scientist Paul Thomas told the Winnipeg Free Press shock or attack ads are aimed at the high number of voters who are undecided.

One poll released Monday said that number could be as high as 19 per cent. When the NDP and PCs are running so close, every vote matters, Thomas said.

While the NDP have been criticized for the "Harper-esque campaign tactics", the Tories haven't been above reproach either.

The Tories recently purchased the domain name - the NDP's official website is at

While visiting will get you the Manitoba NDP's official site, a trip to will result in a much different experience, where visitors will see a video attack ad and a long list of what the Tories consider the NDP's failures in government.

Marni Larkin, the campaign manager for the Manitoba Tories, told QMI Agency her party is simply capitalizing on something the NDP really should have thought of first.

"It's all fair. They didn't protect it. I think I paid about $15 for it. Anybody could have purchased it. I think it was a slip on their part," Larkin said.

The website charade may have been too little too late for the Tories.

The most recent seat projections predict Greg Selinger's NDP will win a historic fourth consecutive majority government.

Who says attack ads don't work?

(CBC Photo)

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