Tories go personal on Ignatieff

OTTAWA - The Conservatives are going personal on Michael Ignatieff as they try to boost slumping poll numbers at the expense of the Liberal leader.

OTTAWA - The Conservatives are going personal on Michael Ignatieff as they try to boost slumping poll numbers at the expense of the Liberal leader.

The Tories are unleashing a TV and Internet attack campaign to define Ignatieff in the Canadian psyche, portraying him as an "arrogant elitist" who returned to Canada after 34 years only to satisfy his political ambition.

Three English TV commercials all begin the same way, asking viewers why Ignatieff is back in Canada after being away so long.

"Is he interested in people like you? No, instead he brags that he's horribly arrogant, a cosmopolitan, and while away the only thing he missed about Canada was Algonquin Park," a narrator reads.

"With such a focus on his own success, he's not in it for you or for Canada. he's just in it for himself."

Ignatieff returned to Canada in 2005 to pursue a political career after teaching at Harvard and Britain's Cambridge University, as well as publishing books and appearing on TV as a political commentator.

Two senior Conservative spokesman unveiled the campaign Wednesday, on condition they not be named. They said staff had pored over decades worth of statements Ignatieff has made in books, magazines, TV shows and interviews.

One Tory said the party had conducted market research with "real Canadians," but didn't explain what constitutes a real Canadian.

The not-so-subtle message that Ignatieff is out of touch with regular folk is splayed throughout a website the Tories also launched: www.Ignatieff.me.

In a section entitled "I'm Better Than You," the party highlights the fact that Ignatieff lives in "luxury condominium" in Toronto, that he owns a villa in the south of France, that he runs in "elite circles," and that he considers himself a "citizen of the world."

French-language commercials are completely different. One ad highlights the fact that Ignatieff speaks French with a Parisian accent rather than a Quebec accent.

Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy said his party would take the high-road, and focus on the important issues of the day, most notably the economy.

Other Liberals pointed to flagging Conservative standings in the polls as a reason they have released the ads.

 
 
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