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Martin said he approved attack ads

[PoliticsWatch Updated 11:58 a.m. January 12, 2006]

OTTAWA  — Prime Minister Paul Martin said Thursday he approved all 12 Liberal party ads released to the media this week, including the controversial "soldiers with guns" ad that the Liberals yanked. 
 

The controversial ad never aired but was included with the other 11 Liberal ads in a DVD sent to networks and was briefly placed up on the party's Web site.

Members of the military and veterans across the country have complained about the ad because it gives the impression that there was something sinister or untoward about Harper's plan to put troops in major Canadian cities to deal with disasters and emergencies. 

"Stephen Harper actually announced he wants to increase military presence in our cities," a woman's voice says in the ad. "Canadian cities. Soldiers with guns. In our cities. In Canada. We did not make this up. Choose your Canada."

Martin said the Liberals were not trying to convey a negative message about soldiers in the ad.

"It has nothing to do with soldiers," he said in an interview with Canada AM. 

"It simply says, 'Should you be spreading your military forces all across the country or should you be concentrating them in those areas where a disaster happens in Canada?'"

Martin said the ad was pulled because "fundamentally, I just didn't think it was a very good ad and there were other ads to run."

"But the fact is, the ad never ran --never, never ran."

While the Liberals have pulled that ad off its Web site, a similar suggestion that Harper would put soldiers in the streets is contained in an ad that remains on the Liberal party's French-language Web site. 

When asked about that ad, Martin said it has not aired in Quebec. 

While Martin said the ad was not meant to attack soldiers, a Liberal MP in a riding with thousands of soldiers apologized for it at an all candidates debate Wednesday night. 

CBC News reported Liberal MP Keith Martin said the ad did not represent the Liberal party's views of the military.

"Some idiot went and sent it out with the other 11 ads, and it was never sanctioned by the party, never approved, and we are completely appalled that this went out. We apologized to the men and women in the uniform." 

The Conservatives have jumped all over the controversial ad.

Conservative MP Jason Kenney said Wednesday there are many unanswered questions about the ad. 

"What is it they meant by this advertisement? What are they implying when they suggest there's something untoward about 'soldiers with guns in our city?'"

The other 11 ads are similar in format to the soldiers with guns ad and are still airing. 

It is not clear whether the controversy over the one ad has tainted the entire series. 

But pundits and bloggers everywhere are now ridiculing the new catch phrase of the campaign contained in the ad -- "We did not make this up."

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