As the provincial election campaign winds down, the nastiness doesn’t.
On Friday the Progressive Conservatives began running radio ads claiming the NDP “accepted $45,000 in illegal campaign contributions from union bosses” and only gave the money back “after the NDP was caught.”
That prompted a letter from the NDP’s lawyer to the Tories and six radio station owners insisting the ads be pulled and an apology given.
“Voters anticipate in any election campaign that there’s going to be back and forth between the parties,” NDP campaign director Matt Hebb said. “But when you start running paid advertising with false and defamatory statements in them, that is simply going too far.”
But the Tories are refusing to pull the ads and so far no radio station has taken them down.
Progressive Conservative spokesman Jodi Morgan was defiant Friday, saying the party stands behind every word in the advertisements and “all of these statements are facts.”
Among their many objections, the NDP contend the donations were never called illegal and they returned them as soon as they learned the donations were questionable.
Nova Scotia’s chief electoral officer has not ruled the donations were illegal, but the Tories insist they are.
“If they were not in violation of the (Elections Act), then why were they returned?” Morgan said.
In the first week of the campaign the NDP received nine donations of the maximum $5,000 from nine unions. The NDP announced Monday they had returned the $45,000 when they learned the umbrella group Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades Council had offered to reimburse the unions.
Nova Scotia’s chief electoral officer said the NDP did the right thing by returning the money and is reviewing the donations.
The NDP say despite the letter from their lawyer, they will not pursue legal action against the Tories or any radio stations.