Wisely, the NDP have launched their own ad campaign to introduce their new leader to Canadian voters. While expensive, it will help to define him before the Conservatives launch their own series of attacks.
This ad campaign is important as it signals that the NDP is becoming much more professional in how it conducts itself. After a dismal, and boring leadership campaign, the NDP are finally getting back into the game. This is welcome news to that large body of Canadian voters who voted against the Conservatives in the last election.
The English ad is pretty straight forward. Mulcair is seen as calm, conservatively dressed, and appears to be in a boardroom. In other words prime ministerial. A reassuring image to voters concerned about the economy, and in particular reassuring to Liberal voters who tend to park their vote in the centre of the political spectrum.
The NDP will have to be careful that they don't go too far in trying to change Mulcair's public image. I say that because doing so rarely works. A leader's personality will always come through. If they try and portrait him as someone he is not, people will begin to question the honesty of the "new" Mulcair. Your leader's public personality is what it is, and it is best to work with what you have instead of trying to change him into something he is not.
For example, Harper was never comfortable asking the attack dog type of question. When he presented one, this showed, and the question often fell flat. It was far better to let him ask a question in the manner that he preferred. Attack style questions were left for others to ask, Jason Kenney being one of the best.
While the English ad offers up "normal" citizens making positive comments about Mulcair, there is nothing unusual in that, after all it is a political ad, and while expected, voters won't be fooled by the quotes, or the individuals they are representing. A political ad is a political ad.
The French ad shows a more aggressive Mulcair, in my opinion a more honest portrayal of the man. Quebec voters know Mulcair, they know his personality, they know he is a scrapper, and that is both what they like, and want to see in him.
The Conservatives won't have too much to fear from either ad. They don't have much of a chance in Quebec at this time, and their core support will ignore an ad about a new, and refined Mulcair. It is a different story for the Liberals.
These ads are aimed squarely at their voters. They offer Liberal voters the opportunity to be introduced to a professional leader of the Official Opposition. For those who have lost confidence in the Liberal party, for those who are discouraged, and for those dismayed by their third party status, these ads will have impact.
The NDP were smart to get these ads out as quickly as they did. If nothing else, the Liberals now know they are in for the fight of their life. There is a new opposition sheriff in town, and it's Thomas Mulcair.