Have Michael Ignatieff and his campaign team conceded the election to a Tory majority? What else could account for their new attack ad accusing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives of a secret agenda to cut healthcare? The Liberal ad claims, “Harper has a risky plan to cut $11-billion from government spending,” and implies all of these cuts will come from healthcare. “Where would Harper’s cuts leave your family’s health?” the narrator asks.
Clever, right? Remember the “big lie” favoured by dictatorship propaganda. Always include a grain of truth to make your outlandish claim seem plausible. Remember the old Liberal ad that claimed Harper would put troops on the street? Now they’re claiming Harper will ban abortions and demolish healthcare. Pathetic!
Notwithstanding the gross distortions these attacks represent, I see this trend as good news for the Tories. Good news for it—as Liberal-friendly John Ibbitson of the Globe and Mail puts it—“implicitly assumes that a Conservative majority government might be in reach, a remarkable concession from the Liberals.”
The Grits have, apparently, decided to adopt a strategy of distorting, exaggerating and generally misrepresenting their opponents’ policies through attack ads, and this “Health Risk” ad kicks off that strategy. Of course, this ad and the strategy it implies make a mockery of Michael Ignatieff’s pledge to take the high road during the campaign. But is anyone surprised? Has Michael Ignatieff stuck to a single notable position since he was handed the reins of the Liberal Party? I cannot think of one.
The Liberal Party of Canada is the only federal party that I can think of that has actually cut healthcare spending: the Jean Chrétien-Paul Martin government slashed funding for healthcare in the 1990s. Later, Martin began a program to restore some of his cuts and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have honoured that commitment, and have pledged to continue the arrangement once the current accord expires.
So who should Canadians fear most when it comes to healthcare funding cuts: the Liberal party that cut healthcare in the past or the Conservative party that has never cut it?
And remember, readers, only a few short years ago, Ignatieff self-described himself as an American—even told a newspaper he planned to vote in the American presidential election—and Americans love privately funded healthcare, so perhaps he plans to scrap our publicly funded system in its entirety.
Never can tell with this rascal.