Treasury Board President Tony Clement says so-called attack ads are just part of the “marketplace of ideas” in Canadian politics.
The Conservative MP visited The Huffington Post Canada’s offices on Thursday to discuss a wide range of issues, but was asked about controversial Tory commercials that skewer the new leader of the Liberal party.
“It is true that we do feel that Justin Trudeau does not have the judgment necessary to do the job,” he said.
Tories unleashed attack ads just a day after Trudeau won the leadership of the third-place party. The common message in the ads — and in MP mail-outs that will soon be sent to Conservative ridings — is that Trudeau is little more than a famous name who is “in over his head.”
He said it is typical for parties to “extol the virtues” of their own leadership and contrast those with rivals.
And Clement, a member of Stephen Harper’s cabinet since 2006, believes Trudeau has already proved those ads correct.
In the wake of the Boston bombings, Trudeau famously said part of his response to an attack, if he were prime minister, would be to understand the “root causes” of terrorism.
“His go-to moment was to immediately try to assess the root causes and talk about social exclusion when clearly that was not the case,” he said. “I think we have a right to comment on his leadership judgments on those kinds of issues and contrast it with our approach to combat terrorism.”
Clement told HuffPost that while he does want to see more civility in Parliament that doesn't mean there is no place for negative advertising.
“People will have the opportunity to judge at the appropriate moment a couple of years from now,” he said with a smile.
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