OTTAWA - Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae's economic record as NDP premier of Ontario in the 1990s comes back to haunt him in a black-and-white television attack ad the Conservative party will air in key markets starting Tuesday.
The ad shows a grinning Rae chuckling under his breath as a narrator recites his record of leaving Ontario with the "highest income taxes in North America ... the biggest deficit Ontario ever had ... most job losses since the Great Depression" and how he "turned Ontario into the welfare capital of Canada."
The ad uses photos of a younger Rae smirking and wearing glasses and ends with him defending his record as premier and the narrator saying: "Bob Rae, if he couldn't run a province why does he think he could run Canada."
A second ad - in colour - that will begin airing at the same time is slicker in production values, fast-paced and highlights Prime Minister Stephen Harper's handling of the economy after the 2008 global meltdown.
It starts with a graphic of markets in freefall while subtitles of "stock market crashes" and "global economic recession" blitz the screen.
It quickly moves through home foreclosure signs to symbols of economic recovery - construction cranes, open for business signs, etc. - as subtitles including "more jobs, steady growth and lower deficit" pop up.
It ends with the slogan: Prime Minister Harper, strong leadership in challenging times.
A Conservative source said Rae is fair game because he has not ruled out running for the leadership of the third-place party.
And the source questions why the Liberals no longer use "interim" on press releases and have begun billboard campaigns in Toronto using Rae as the official face of the party if he doesn't intend to seek the permanent job next spring.
"We welcome Bob Rae's call for a debate on his record and ours," the source said. "So we are launching an advertising campaign highlighting Bob Rae's proven record of failure and contrasting it with the strong economic leadership of the prime minister and our Conservative government."
The Conservatives have a history of negative ad campaigns, including successfully framing former Liberal leaders Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion.