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If Yukon Liberals used the Conservatives' dirty tactics, what would their ads look like?

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The Conservative Party, on behalf of Yukon MP Ryan Leef, has mailed out campaign flyers depicting Liberal Larry Bagnell as a nefarious scoundrel, painted scary red, who "BROKE HIS PROMISE" and will bring back the long-gun registry!

Justin Trudeau has promised not to bring back the long-gun registry.  And if this statement is truthful, then Larry Bagnell, if elected, will not be in the hard position of having to decide to vote against the registry and lose his seat in caucus thereby losing his ability to represent Yukon, or vote for the registry.

No one, not even hardcore Conservatives if they were honest with themselves, believes that either the Liberals or the NDP would really commit political suicide by bringing back the long-gun registry. 

Nevertheless slanderous ads are appearing full-page in the newspaper. And soundbite versions of these ads appear every 15 minutes on CKRW radio.

Here is what the CRTC, says about truth in advertising.

Under Accuracy and Clarity,

"advertisements must not contain inaccurate, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims, statements, illustrations or representations" and they "must not omit relevant information in a manner that, in the result, is deceptive.

"Testimonials, endorsements or representations of opinion or preference, must reflect the genuine, reasonably current opinion of the individual(s), group or organization making such representations" and "must not otherwise be deceptive.

"Advertisements must not exploit superstitions or play upon fears to mislead the consumer (citizen)." 

Fear of the long-gun registry has definitely become a bogeyman thanks to the manipulative dissemblers in the Conservative propaganda team.

The CRTC also disallows unacceptable depictions and portrayals if they "demean, denigrate or disparage one or more identifiable persons, group of persons, firms, organizations," or "attempt to bring it or them into public contempt or ridicule."

It is as easy as falling off a log to trash reputations.  For example, "Mother Theresa, she's only in it for herself" or "Nelson Mandala, he's not a leader."  These comments are pretty stupid, but stupid is pretty common in the world and fools are persuaded more by repetition than by evidence.

Now, if the Liberal Party were to send out Conservative-style negative ads in the Yukon, what would they look like?

"Bill S-6! SNUCK in the back door through the SENATE. What other SNEAKY TRICKS will Ryan Leef try to GET AWAY WITH IF ELECTED?"  This would be accompanied by, a green-tinted photo of a camo-clad hoodlum lurking by a back alley door... maybe with handcuffs. In the radio ad version, a young woman could be heard saying, "Ryan Leef? He's just too scary."

If the Liberals went really dirty, as the Conservatives do when they think it won't backfire, they would get fictitious as well as personal. 

"Ryan Leef GUIDED SHEEP HUNTERS INTO A PROTECTED AREA while on leave as a Yukon Conservation Officer.  Ryan CLAIMS he didn't know where the boundaries were.  In this election, vote for Larry Bagnell, a man who respects legal boundaries." The visuals would contain grainy, magenta-tinged images of camo-clad figures, with guns, lurking in the bushes beside a cheerful photo of Larry, printed in normal colour spectrum, looking reliable.

The above two examples would be very unfair to Mr. Leef and I would not endorse either of them.  The attack ads against Larry Bagnell are equally unfair.

Justin Trudeau promised that the Liberal Party wouldn’t go negative in this election.  And although strategists advise against sticking to the high road, Trudeau has kept his word.  I am grateful because negative ads make me feel like I am living in a toilet.

As for truth in advertising regulations, here is what the CRTC has to say.

"Canadians are entitled to expect that 'political advertising' and 'election advertising' will respect the standards articulated in the Code. However, it is not intended that the Code govern or restrict the free expression of public opinion or ideas through 'political advertising' or 'election advertising,' which are excluded from the application of this Code."

In other words, political propagandists can get away with libel disguised as free expression.  

Thoughtful Canadians want to restore democracy in Canada and make it stronger.  They now understand that they are going to have to work hard, as private citizens, to attain this goal. 

A place to start might be to demand changes to the CRTC mandate so that truth in advertisement regulations are strictly applied to political and electioneering propaganda.  It would go some ways towards taking politics out of the toilet.

On Friday, October 2, a full-page ad promoting Larry Bagnell appeared in the Yukon News outlining his record and the Liberal platform.  There isn't a single disparaging word or slur in this ad.

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