OTTAWA - Michael Ignatieff is firing back at Conservative attack ads.

The Liberal leader has released a videotape accusing Prime Minister Stephen Harper of smearing all new Canadians. The video slams Harper for criticizing Ignatieff's 30-plus years spent working outside Canada.

The Tory ads refer to Ignatieff as "just visiting" and question his attachment to Canada.

The Liberals are hoping the Tory attack ads will boomerang on Harper, costing him hard-won support among ethnic communities.

In the video, Ignatieff says Harper and the Conservatives believe Canadians who have lived outside the country "are less Canadian because of it."

"Tell that to new Canadians, born outside this country. Are they less Canadian because of it? Tell that to Canadian citizens who live and work overseas. Are they less Canadian because of it?

"I don't think so but the Conservatives do."

Ignatieff concludes the short video by calling for a "new kind of politics ... that relies not on spite and spin but on civility and common purpose."

Unlike the pricey, televised Tory ads that began running last week, Ignatieff's simple, low-cost video was posted on the party's website and sent to multicultural media outlets. The Liberal party is not paying to air the video.

Ignatieff spokeswoman Jill Fairbrother said the party is specifically targeting multicultural media because "we have heard that the attack ads are offensive, particularly to some of Canada's multicultural communities, so we wanted to send a message directly from the leader."

The Conservatives have worked hard to woo new Canadian voters, who have traditionally tended to gravitate more toward the Liberals. Tories have claimed success among some groups, particularly Jewish and Chinese Canadians.

Liberals are hoping the attack ads will help them reclaim some of that lost support.

Ignatieff says in the video that the Tories are "trying to make Michael Ignatieff the issue" to deflect attention from the fact that they're presiding over "the worst unemployment in recent times, record bankruptcies and soaring deficits."

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