Volume 94, Issue 44

Thursday, November 16, 2000


Liberal TV ad lied, Alliance charges

Strike looming - Caretakers could walk out

York U behind picket lines again

"Massive" probe begins

Campus Briefs

Quirks and Smirks

New City Council prioritizes

USC remembers federal election run

Corroded Disorder

Liberal TV ad lied, Alliance charges

By Mike Murphy
Gazette Staff

A Liberal television ad attacking Stockwell Day's health care policies has prompted the Canadian Alliance party to call foul and has raised questions about how election advertising should be regulated.

"The obvious [ad] from our perspective is the one the Liberals are running about two-tiered health care, because that is completely inaccurate," said Tony Gronow, manager of communications at the Alliance's head office in Calgary.

Gronow said the ad incorrectly claims Stockwell Day helped create a law opening Alberta to US-style, private health care. What is more, he said the spot makes it appear as if the statement came from an article in The Globe and Mail when in fact, it did not.

A spokesperson for the national newspaper confirmed The Globe published an editorial on Tuesday stating it never published the statement attributed to the paper by the Liberal ad.

Nonetheless, the paper has not made any formal requests for a retraction, said Steve Marshman, director of marketing and promotions for The Globe.

Gronow said his party understands taking criticism is part of politics, but objects to ads that misrepresent the facts. "We don't mind taking shots where they're due, but at least make sure they're accurate," he said. The party has filed a complaint with Advertising Standards Canada, he added.

From Liberal headquarters in Ottawa, press officer Ron Hallman, defended the television spot and said the misleading attribution to The Globe has been edited out.

"We stand behind that ad. We've edited that second panel that gives attribution because we don't want to confuse anyone," Hallman said.

The old commercial has been pulled and the new, edited version is now running, he said.

Asked whether there should be a regulating body to set standards for election advertising, Hallman said he thinks the public can do that themselves. "I think our position is that Canadians are smart enough to decide for themselves what a fair level of advertising is."

Regulating election ad content is not the job of Elections Canada, said Hal Doran, an Elections Canada media officer. "We can't arbitrate or be responsible for the content of election advertising," he said. "In general, we're not in a position to, nor should we be, to clear ads."

He added parties can complain to the Commissioner of Canadian Elections if they feel an ad's content is particularly derogatory.

Advertising Standards Canada, the group to which the Alliance complained, does not actually act on election advertising issues, since they do not want to hamper freedom of speech, said Advertising Standards Canada spokesperson Janet Feasby.

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000