08/05/2011 10:32 EDT | Updated 10/05/2011 05:12 EDT

NDP releases first election ad, stays away from attacks on other parties

TORONTO - Ontario's New Democrats are keeping things upbeat with their election ads, positioning themselves as the party that will take the high road in what's promising to be a nasty election campaign.

"You're going to hear a lot from politicians about what Ontario can't do," Horwath says in the 30-second radio ad, the first spot released by the party.

"In this election, we can do something different."

The ad is in stark contrast to recent ones by the Progressive Conservatives attacking Premier Dalton McGuinty as "the taxman", and Liberal ads that target both Horwath and Tory Leader Tim Hudak.

The governing Liberals have put out several TV and radio ads focusing on their accomplishments, but their tone has turned more negative lately.

They have also come down harder on the NDP than they have in previous elections, going as far as to call Horwath "the New Mike Harris" — a reference that implies she would makes cuts similar to those seen under the former Tory Premier.

"Andrea Horwath and the NDP are not going to climb into the sandbox, are not going to engage in the peeing contest with Mr. McGuinty and Mr. Hudak," said NDP critic Peter Kormos.

"Andrea Horwath is going to speak about positive things. She's going to talk about NDP policy."

The New Democrats are "delighted" to be the targets of Liberal attack ads, he added, saying that "makes it very clear, not only to the New Democrats but to the voting public that the Liberals are losing ground."

Progressive Conservative candidate Rocco Rossi stood by his party's ads.

"We’re hearing at the door that it’s resonating," Rossi said.

"People want to know what the choice is all about: It’s not about sunshine and moonbeams. It’s about what’s at stake for Ontario families in terms of making life more affordable for them."