Saturday, January 14, 2006

Paul Martin: I approved the ad. No I didn't!

From the transcript of his interview with Peter Mansbridge and call-in questions:

Peter Mansbridge: All right, thank you. We've come a long way, though, from the preamble of the question, which was about attack ads. You said they weren't attack ads. Most people accept that they were negative ads, just like the Tories have run some negative ads. A question came up today about whether or not you'd approve them. You said you had, this latest run of ads. Does approving them mean you actually saw these ads before they were released first to a web site and then pulled back? Did you actually see them?

Paul Martin: Sure, or I would have seen a transcript. Look, I approved those ads. There is no doubt about that.

Peter Mansbridge: But when you looked at the military ad, I mean, I've heard your explanation today that it's really about a difference in policies, about where you'd base troops, did you actually think that that's what it was about when you saw it or read the transcript? Does it really come across that way to an ordinary viewer?

Paul Martin: Your question is a very good one. I think it's important to explain that my view is that if there's going to be a natural disaster, I'm very supportive of the military, and I believe that we've got to - I've increased their salaries, I think we've got to increase their numbers. I think they play a tremendous role, and domestically, they play a huge role in terms of disaster relief, and Gen. Hillier, the head of the chief of defence staff, has said he wants them to be positioned where there's a critical mass. Mr. Harper and I have a difference of opinion. He thinks they should be spread out across the country. The problem is you don't want to spend two weeks or two days gathering people together. Now, the point…

Peter Mansbridge: I don't want to dwell on that point…

Paul Martin: I would like to answer your question, if I could, Peter.

Peter Mansbridge: The question is very straightforward. Those ads don't talk anything about policy but where troops will be based on a policy area. It comes across as soldiers in Canadian cities, on the streets with guns at a time when guns on streets is a major issue.

Paul Martin: But that's the reason the ad never showed. We withdrew the ad because absolutely, you're right.

Peter Mansbridge: But you approved it.

Paul Martin: No, I didn't approve it.
That's what happened. The ad was prepared. I don't prepare the ads. The ad was prepared and then immediately upon seeing it, we said, this ad is going to be misconstrued. And that's why it was pulled. That ad never appeared and I think it's really important to understand that. People saw that ad, but you've not seen it on your television. It appeared in a blog, and they pulled it right away.

"Nassssty adsssss, we musssssn't have approved themsssss."
"Butssss we did, yesssssswe dids....the adssss are our preciousssss"
"Pullsssss them we did, yessssssss"


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