I’m Stephen Harper and I approved this message

The PM on his party’s attack ads

The Prime Minister tries to explain his party’s attack ads.

Q: But let me ask you this, how closely do those ads and the messages in those ads reflect your own personal view of Michael Ignatieff and his motives?

A: Well as you know that campaign, the source of that campaign is strictly Mr. Ignatieff’s own words and own record so he’s the one who has to answer questions on that.

Q: But do you think he’s just visiting?

A: As I say those ads are built around his own record, his own words, on his own motives, and his own statements on the country and those are the questions he’ll have to answer.

Q: But do the ads reflect your view as the leader of the party?

A: As I say the ads allow Mr. Ignatieff to speak for himself.

Q: Well let me ask you this then do you really think that a long absence from the country would in any sense disqualify a Canadian citizen from high office?

A: Well this is um, this is an, these are questions that Mr. Ignatieff will have to address in an election campaign. As you know the government, the people of Canada gave our government a strengthened position in parliament fairly recently. So I would encourage the opposition parties to work with the government in the best interests of the country.

Q: But do you think that he is in any sense disqualified from aspiring to be prime minister because he’s been out of the country?

A: Every, every, every, obviously every Canadian citizen’s eligible to run for office. But obviously our records, motives, statements, all these things will be under scrutiny, they always are, of all party leaders in an election campaign.

Video of the Prime Minister’s complete interview with CTV Atlantic is here.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.