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Air war begins: parties battle on TV

The war of words has officially started as B.C.'s major political parties roll out their advertising campaigns heading into May 12's provincial election.

The opposition NDP released its latest TV ad yesterday, a 30-second spot that slams what it sees as the governing B.C. Liberals' moves towards privatizing former Crown corporations and resources.

The ad claims the government is pushing for further privatization of energy resources and health care; it also highlights the controversies over the B.C. Rail affair - a deal the NDP claims was "tainted by corruption."

"We want to make this part of the campaign," said NDP campaign co-manager Gerry Scott.

The tone of the ad stands in contrast with a B.C. Liberal spot that has already hit the airwaves. The Liberal ad takes a positive tone, using the tagline "keep B.C. strong." Click here to find out more!

But Scott rejected characterizing the NDP's ad as being negative.

"It's not so much a negative ad, but a controversial issue where we have a position that's diametrically opposed to [B.C. Premier Gordon] Campbell," Scott said.

SFU marketing professor Lindsay Meredith says political parties walk a tightrope when dishing out attack ads.

"If the ads stick to very factual issues, it could turn out to be a very powerful weapon," Meredith said. "But if you fall over the line and you get into just plain mudslinging, that's going to turn around and hurt you."

Irwin Loy reports for Vancouver's 24 hours.

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