The more I am forced to watch the latest round of Tory attack ads on Liberal leader Stephane Dion (while watching CTV's Question Period or what have you,) the more obvious the despicable message the Tories are trying to spin.
Since the launch of their attack ads in English Canada, the Tories have always used clips in which Dion's shaky English is clearly on display.
But the latest 'Senate reform' Tory attack ad is the most blatant. In it, Dion is clipped that "some consider me to be a hero..."
As we hear, Dion's pronounciation of 'hero' in this instance is not particularly good.
When I hear Dion speak in English, be it during Question Period in the House of Commons, or during interviews or quick clips on TV, it's obvious that his English is improving. He seems generally comfortable in English, and only gets a bit tongue-tied during combative moments in the House or elsewhere. But he usually gets his message clearly across. Most Canadians can forgive some mangling of the English language as long as the overall message is clear. Dion's English is better than Chretien's ever was.
Yet the Tories are choosing to highlight the worst anomalies in Dion's English, broadcasting them to the masses in their advertising.
In the latest ad, after Dion mispronounces 'hero,' the Tory narrative blasts the text 'Hero?' on the screen and the narrator continues "A hero? He can't even..."
When hearing this, it sounds as if the Tory narrator is going to finish the sentence "He can't even pronounce the word 'hero'".
The Senate reform angle of the ads is obtuse and clearly of little importance to most voters, at least as far as I can tell. The ads insinuate that Dion should be responsible for assisting the government in passing its legislation. Leaders of the Opposition the world over are responsible for many things, but helping governments pass legislation is not one of them.
No, the point of these latest Tory ads is simply to showcase bad examples of Dion's English and use the implied narrative that Dion is not a leader because "he can't even [speak English.]"
This is classic, below-the-belt Harper. And a clear reminder of the dinosaur, anti-French attitude that permeates the Reform-Conservative tradition in his government and his party.
Dion speaks better English than most francophone Quebecers. I wonder how they'd feel to know that the Harper Conservatives are attacking Dion so clearly in this way.