With the arrival and equally quick dismissal of HarperPAC this week, another big election story was missed as the Conservative Party of Canada launched an online ad meant to delegitimize Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s plan to pull Canadian troops from the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Posting an online ad to YouTube is nothing new, especially with an election campaign waiting to begin this fall, but the controversy here is that the Conservative Party used sound and video from ISIS’ own media to make the case against Trudeau. You might think that’s in bad taste, or that it even contravenes provisions in the Conservatives’ own recently passed Bill C-51, but it’s okay because according to Conservative spokesman Kory Teneycke, they’re more truthful than the news.
In an interview with Global’s Tom Clark (which you can watch here), Teneycke was pressed on the party’s decision to use ISIS’ own propaganda in an attack ad on Trudeau. This is Teneycke’s exchange with Clark, the relevant portion is highlighted:
TC: So why run their videos? Why run their songs?
KT: Well this is the choice. This is the choice between do we do something about this threat, or do we do nothing?
TC: No but why are you, why are you showing those videos and running their song?
KT: Because it’s germane to the choice before us in this election.
TC: But how is it germane?
KT: I’m answering your questions if you want to let me answer it. It’s germane because the choice is between one political party, the Conservative Party of Canada, that would uh continue our bombing mission to protect civilians and religious minorities in Syria and Iraq; and two other political parties, that would stop those efforts. So it’s very central I think to the choice that will be before Canadians this election and therefore we’re going to make that choice clear in the realest possible terms.
TC: You said you were going to answer the question and of course you didn’t. In what way is the ISIS anthem and the ISIS video germane to a debate?
KT: Well because that’s who the enemy is. That’s who we’re fighting.
TC: So how is that video and their song, germane to that discussion?
KT: That’s who they are. That’s who the enemy is.
TC: OK.. Bill C-51 was brought in and promoted by your government as, among other things, to prevent people from putting online anything video that promotes terrorism and ISIS. Haven’t you just done that?
KT: What we’re doing is no different than what you do on the news. Which is…
TC: But you’re not news. You’re there advertising
KT: We’re better than news, because we’re truthful.
TC: I’m sorry, say that again?
KT: I said we’re doing uh, uh, a…
TC: No what did you just say?
KT: I’m saying what we’re doing is…
TC: You’re better than us because you’re truthful? Is that what you just said?
KT: We’re putting forward the choice…
TC: No no. What did you just say?
KT: Well let me finish the thought…
TC: No you said, I just want you to repeat what you just said.
KT: I’m saying what we’re doing is better that what we’re talking about in terms it’s the choice that will be before Canadians during the election campaign.
Yup, the man that ran Sun News Network for years, where the only standout journalism done was the story they completely staged, is saying that he’s a better arbiter for truth than the media. The exchange went on, and Clark was unable to get Teneycke to repeat his initial thought or explain why it’s okay for the Conservative Party to use ISIS media when others could be prosecuted under C-51. Clark was also unable to get Teneycke to say on the record whether or not the Conservative Party would use ISIS made clips in future ads.
For discussion purposes, this is the Conservative ad in question.
This ad was posted Friday, and a link was sent out with an email to Conservative supporters with a message from Cory Hann, director of communications for the Conservatives, saying, “Justin Trudeau has proven once again that he is just not ready to take on the serious job of leading Canada on the international stage.
“Worse, he will undo all the hard work our Conservative Party has done to make Canada a moral leader in the world.”
In a response, Jeremy Broadhurst, national director of the Liberal Party of Canada, said “You and I know the Harper Conservatives will do and say anything to attack Justin Trudeau, and now they are using actual footage from ISIS propaganda videos to score cheap political points.
“Unlike the Harper Conservatives, I’m not going to spread ISIS propaganda footage – but you can imagine how disturbing it is.”
Teneycke’s had no further comment, and the initial clip of the interview caused such a buzz that Global posted the entire interview and transcript online. Meanwhile, Canadian voters and media watchers are forced to wonder if this is the tenor of debate that is to come when the campaign officially kicks off sometime this September.