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NDP will push back against Tory attack ads, says Mulcair

The leader of the federal New Democratic Party, Thomas Mulcair, defended a party advertisement released yesterday that attacks Prime Minister Stephen Harper's economic record.

During the question and answer portion of a June 10 event in Victoria to raise money to pay off the debt from Mulcair's leadership campaign, an attendee said she found the ad "horrid" when it appeared in her email that morning.

"Why play that game, the game that they play?" she said. "This is not the NDP to me and it's not Canada to me. I want to tell you I don't like it. I don't want you to play that game."

The ad uses black and white images of Harper and says his solution to the economic downturn is to “Attack the most vulnerable Canadians when they are most in need with cuts to employment insurance and cuts to your pension. Stephen Harper has created the worst deficit in Canadian history and you are paying the price.”

Mulcair said he supports using the ad. "I think it's also important to let them know they're not going to have the whole ice to themselves," he said.

"My first choice is, and always will remain, to stay on the high road, to discuss the issues, but when they take short cuts with the truth, it's good for us to be able to let them know there's going to be pushback from us," he said.

The NDP ad is similar in style and tone to one the Conservatives recently released that said the NDP have "risky economic theories" such as support for a carbon tax and opposition to trade agreements.

During the event at the University of Victoria, attended by some 350 people, Mulcair also said he is firmly opposed to the Enbridge proposal to build twin pipelines between Alberta's oil sands and Kitimat on the B.C. coast and will work closely with his provincial counterparts to arrive at a position on other pipeline proposals, such as the Kinder Morgan proposal to build a pipeline between Alberta and Burnaby.

He also defended the NDP's support of the NATO invasion of Libya which he said deposed Muammar Gaddafi, a leader who was attacking his own people, and led to elections international observers said were open and fair.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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