Conservatives Leader Andrew Scheer. (The Canadian Press)

Competing ads during NBA finals to paint very different pictures of Scheer

He’s painted as either a family man or a ‘yes man’ to Ontario Premier Doug Ford

The Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors aren’t the only ones who’ll be trying to score during Game 5 of the NBA finals.

The Conservative party will be competing with a third party advocacy group, Engage Canada, in a bid to define Tory Leader Andrew Scheer ahead of this fall’s federal election.

The Conservatives have been running television ads throughout the basketball playoffs, introducing Scheer to viewers as a regular guy from a middle class family who’ll repeal the carbon tax and otherwise help make life more affordable for average folks.

But on Monday, Engage Canada will join the fray with two 30-second spots painting an entirely different picture of Scheer: as a “yes man” to Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Engage bills itself as a non-partisan third party, founded by former Liberal and NDP strategists and made up of individuals, labour organizations and professional associations who share the common goal of ensuring Scheer never becomes prime minister. The group was similarly active against former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper in the run-up to the 2015 campaign.

Engage spokeswoman Tabitha Bernard refuses to say how much money the group has devoted to the Game 5 ad campaign, other than to say “our buy is substantial.”

“We’re pretty excited to be able to be competitive. This is sort of a David and Goliath operation,” Bernard said in an interview.

Ads that run during the NBA finals would be among the most expensive available, reaching an audience of some 10 million or more Canadians who have rallied behind the Raptors as “Canada’s team.”

Bernard confirmed that Unifor, Canada’s largest media union, is involved in Engage but refused to quantify its role. Unifor president Jerry Dias, whose union also represents auto workers among others, has vowed to be Scheer’s “worst nightmare.”

READ MORE: Scheer vows to make free trade between provinces a reality if Conservatives elected

The Conservatives have been denouncing the Liberals’ intention to include Dias in an expert panel that is to advise the government on the make-up of an independent body that will decide how to divvy up almost $600 million over the next five years in tax credits and other incentives for struggling news outlets.

By running ads now, Engage does not have to reveal where its money is coming from or face any limit on its spending.

Under new rules imposed by the Trudeau government, all third parties will face spending limits and must disclose donations as of June 30, the start of what’s called the “pre-writ period” before the official start of the election campaign. Bernard said Engage has plans for ads up to the end of June and will “see what happens” after that.

In late May, Engage unveiled its first TV ad, which portrayed Scheer as a bobblehead who says yes to tax cuts for wealthy individuals and big corporations and to Ford-style cuts to health care. The group has also been running “lapdog” radio ads. All the ads, including the new one to air during Game 5, end with the tag line: “Andrew Scheer. His weakness will cost you.”

The new ad combines a shortened version of the bobblehead ad with a new segment featuring a photo-shopped picture of a seated Scheer with a menacing-looking Ford standing behind him while a narrator warns that Scheer won’t stand up to Ford’s cuts to health care and education and will make similar cuts at the federal level.

While the ad will have broad reach across the country, Bernard said the ad is aimed particularly at voters in urban and suburban centres in Ontario, where Ford’s popularity has plunged since winning power just a year ago.

Joan Bryden , The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Dippity doo-dah; Campbell River Rotary Duck Dip winners scooped up

Fundraiser for Head Injury Support Society’s Linda’s Place

BC Hydro to pulse water flows down the Elk Falls Canyon to accommodate fish passage

First pulse is today and tomorrow; Hydro warns people to be cautious upstream of Elk Falls

Union says mediated negotiation with WFP has been ‘disappointing’

Striking forestry workers have been on picket lines since Canada Day

The conflicting ideas of economy and ecology examined in Ellingsen’s work

Artist talk for photographic exhibition The Last Stand is part of this weekend’s Art & Earth Festival

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Most Read