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UPDATED: Libs won't comment on whether new ad trying to split enviro vote

A BC Liberals spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny whether a full-page ad running in the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper is aimed at splitting the environmental vote on Vancouver Island.

"I'm not giving any comment on the speculation," Ben James, the party's media contact, told The Tyee. "It's just a fact-based ad."

The ad, which was paid for by the Liberals, prominently features a photo of Green Party leader Jane Sterk, claiming that her party has "strong, clear views about how to protect our coast."

Below her, a photo of NDP leader Adrian Dix, and a caption claiming that his party is "flip-flopping on the Kinder Morgan pipeline."

Further still down the page, a photo of Premier Christy Clark. The BC Liberal leader, the ad claims, "has five tough conditions that must be met for any heavy oil project to be considered for B.C."

As The Tyee reported earlier this week, the Vancouver Island riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head is in the midst of a tight three race between the NDP's Jessica Van der Veen, Liberal incumbent Ida Chong, and star Green candidate Andrew Weaver -- one centred on environmental issues.

"The BC Liberal Party is employing an unusual tactic," wrote the CBC, in response to today's ad, "apparently in the hopes of splitting the green vote on Vancouver Island."

"That's what the CBC says," Liberal spokesperson James said when contacted by The Tyee. "We can't comment on that."

Green Party leader Jane Sterk said she's not sure what the ad is trying to achieve. "It's a very unsual advertisement," she told The Tyee.

Does she think the Liberals are trying to split the green vote on Vancouver Island? "I personally think that in my riding it's a two person race," she said. "I don't think the Liberals are a factor."

Geoff Dembicki reports for The Tyee.

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