Attempted political campaign humour backfires: Ontario September 2003

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The use of name-calling in politics reached humorous extremes in Canada in September 2003 when the election campaign staff of Ontario Premier Ernie Eves issued a news release characterizing their opponent, Dalton McGuinty, as an "evil reptilian kitten eater from another planet."

Had the comment been made by a member of McGuinty's team, it would have likely been dismissed as the silly joke it was. However in the context of Eves's team, which had been releasing a slew of negative ads from up to a year before the election started, it was taken as yet another example of a campaign that was badly out of control and becoming more desperate.

Eves' campaign never recovered from this gaffe, made worse when he publicly stated that McGuinty had a "pointy head" on camera, sealing his fate. In spite of one of the lowest voter turnouts in history (about 50%) Eves' party was badly mauled, with 26 seats to McGuinty's 72 in the Ontario Legislature, down from 56/36 in the prior election.

External links

  • Graham Smith, "Meow! Globe and Mail (Canada), September 13, 2003
  • The Wikipedia has an extensive article on the phrase and its origins and effect on the campaign