OTTAWA — The Conservatives have declared a multi-front war on Justin Trudeau, including a bulk mail campaign at taxpayers’ expense — and a new poll helps explain why they’re going to such lengths to undermine the newly minted Liberal leader.
The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey suggests Trudeau’s favourability rating far outstrips that of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
Respondents to the poll gave the edge to Trudeau as the leader who would make the best prime minister, would best represent Canada on the world stage, who most shares their values and who cares about them the most.
The poll also suggests, however, that Canadians aren’t convinced Trudeau has the experience and judgment required to run the country or manage the economy — the same perceived weaknesses the Conservatives have been hammering away at in television attack ads launched within hours of Trudeau’s leadership victory last week.
They’re poised to take the same line of attack in a bulk-mail campaign, which urges Conservative MPs to use their mailing privileges to blanket their ridings with flyers bashing the new Liberal leader.
Templates for the flyers — obtained by the Liberals — have been prepared by the Conservative Resource Group, which is the research bureau for the Tory caucus.
Like the TV ads, various scripts for the flyers argue that Trudeau has neither the judgment nor the experience to govern the country and use partial or out-of-context quotes to make the case that he’s “in way over his head.”
But whereas the Conservative party paid for the television ads, printing and postal costs for the flyers come out of each MP’s office budget — which is supplied by taxpayers.
It costs about $175 to send a flyer, known as a “10 percenter,” to a riding with an average of 40,000 households, according to a memo to Conservative MPs that accompanied the flyer templates.
Peter Van Loan, the government House leader, defended the use of taxpayer-funded mailings for purely partisan purposes.