POLITICS

Liberals Respond To Tory Attack With Ad Promoting 'Fairness Plan'

05/25/2015 04:25 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 04:59 EDT

Federal Liberals have unveiled a pre-campaign ad of their own that they say focuses on people before politics, in sharp contrast to the Conservatives.

The 30-second commercial was posted online Monday just hours after the release of two new spots from the Tories, including one taking aim at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's qualifications for the job of prime minister.

The Liberal ad promotes the party's so-called "fairness plan," which would cut taxes for middle-class families and make the wealthy pay more. It is set to be broadcast nationally on TV beginning this week.

Narrated by Trudeau, the commercial features a real Canadian family with real problems.

"Richard and Maria willingly sacrifice paying down debt to save for their kids' education," Trudeau says. "These are the kinds of choices more Canadian families have faced in 10 years under Stephen Harper. I won't accept it."

Trudeau touts the Liberals' proposed "Canada child benefit," which would replace the Harper government's enriched universal child care benefit. Liberals aim to combine and enrich two existing benefits geared to income into a single, more generous monthly, tax-free benefit that would give families up to $6,400 annually for every child under six and up to $5,400 for children aged six to 17.

"Fairness: it's an idea that works for the whole country," Trudeau says.

Katie Telford, co-chair of the Liberals' national campaign, said in an email to The Huffington Post Canada that after a decade in power "Harper and the Conservatives can’t see the people for the politics."

While Liberals are focused on Canadians, Telford said, Harper is fixated on attacking Trudeau.

"The (Conservative) ad is focused on the two people Stephen Harper cares most about: Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau," she said in the email.

In recent weeks, Conservatives have tried to cast the Liberal plan as a "Trudeau tax" because it would scrap both income splitting for families and a plan to nearly double the amount Canadians can invest in a tax-free savings accounts. Liberals say that both measures benefit only the wealthy.

Tories have also targeted the Liberal leader for saying during question period two weeks ago that "benefiting every single family isn't what is fair." Trudeau has made clear in recent interviews that he stands by the statement.

The ads unveiled by Conservatives Monday make no mention of NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. Recent polls suggest the NDP has vaulted into a three-way tie with the Tories and Liberals.

Mulcair's team also released a new ad on Sunday touting his commitment to middle-class values.

With a file from The Canadian Press, Althia Raj

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