Jason Kenney subject of NDP attack ad

News source from CTV News

Albertans learned the date of the provincial election on Tuesday and it didn’t take Alberta’s NDP long to roll out negative messages targeting UCP Leader Jason Kenney.

The NDP produced an ad and a 10 minute video posted on its social media about  Kenney’s anti-gay marriage activism during his time as a student in San Francisco.

Both leaders responded to the tactic on Friday.

“We have two different visions for the future of this province and this is probably an historic election and the most important choice that Albertans will make in a generation,” says Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley.

 “We haven’t and we have no intention to,” says UCP Leader Jason Kenney.

One political strategist says the ad is designed to plant doubt.

 “When you look at what drives voters during elections there’s issue, party identification and there’s leadership and they’re really going after Jason Kenney on leadership issue. It’s going to be particularly effective in Edmonton where his approval numbers are quite bad,” says Marc Henry with ThinkHQ

However, Henry says there’s always a risk of going too far.

“If the attacks are unwarranted, or if they can’t back them up with fact or if they just become too personal,” says Henry. “If you attack to the exclusion of things voters actually care about you run the risk of them dismissing.”

Voters find attack ads distracting from the overall message.

 “I don’t care for the attack ads; just make points for what they are and leave it at that,” says Robert Rudolph. “I think it just lowers the standard. I don’t think you need to bring anyone down.”

“I guess they’re part of politics now but I don’t particularly like them. I’d rather hear about issues then what other people have done. I’d rather hear aa good platform than an attack on character,” says Evan Goldstrom.

Whether or not the ads are effective will ultimately be determined on April 16th.

(With files from Ina Sidhu)

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