Ridicule has become a potent weapon in the hands of the Conservatives as the negative campaign heats up this week.
A wave of Liberal attack ads on the Tories and leader Stephen Harper, including a controversial one about soldiers in cities, has triggered a sarcastic, often hilarious backlash. Fake Liberal attack ads are percolating through cyberspace and even in some newspapers.
They are mostly modelled on the Liberal soldiers-in-cities ads — a series of declarative phrases, ending in "we're not making this up" or "choose your Canada."
One of the favourites comes from Conservative blogger Damian Penny: "Stephen Harper has a dog. You know who else had a dog? Hitler. Adolf Hitler. That's who. Did Stephen Harper train his dog to attack racial minorities on command? We don't know. He's not saying. Choose your Canada."
At yet another website yesterday, readers were invited to design their own Liberal attack ad under a bucolic picture of an adorable kitten, frolicking in front of felt-toy monsters. The slogan reads: "Every time you vote Conservative, Stephen Harper kills a kitten."
Political-strategy experts have long known that the party most successfully able to marshal the forces of ridicule is usually the one with positive momentum. Part of that is simply confidence — Tories in this campaign, for instance, are feeling confident enough to laugh off Liberal attacks.