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Have attack-ad touting Greens gone 'cynical'?

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May speaks reporters at an Ottawa news conference on Jan. 31, 2011.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has repeatedly lamented political attack ads.

But, with their apparent effectiveness being repeatedly demonstrated by the federal Conservatives, the Green Party says it "has no option" but to release attack ads of its own to get its message across.

The new attack, in English and French, will be released by Ms. May at a news conference Monday on Parliament Hill.

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Party officials are being coy about the ads themselves. They won't say which parties - or individuals - will be "attacked." And they won't divulge the extent of the media buy other than to say TV ads will start to air next week.

But, as one Green official pointed out, the party doesn't have a lot of cash to throw around and is, by necessity, frugal. So they are hoping that the ads will be picked up on the Internet.

It was little more than a month ago that Ms. May told a news conference that attack ads hurt democracy.

They are "an ultimately cynical political strategy," she told reporters. "Attack ads work by making voters think that it's all too unpleasant. They tune out political discourse because it's all dreadful."

It will be interesting to see how that reconciles with the ads that the Greens are preparing to unleash.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Gloria Galloway has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She worked at the Windsor Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Canadian Press and a number of small newspapers before being hired by The Globe and Mail as deputy national editor in 2001. Gloria returned to reporting two years later and joined the Ottawa bureau in 2004. More

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