The NDP is preparing a "significant" ad campaign to promote its new leader before the Conservatives get a chance to taint Canadians' first impressions with attack ads of their own.

The new leader, to be chosen Saturday, will have to sign off on the plan but the idea is to beat the Tories to the punch.

The Conservatives have successfully launched attack ads that helped demolish the reputations of the past two Liberal leaders, Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff.

And they're launching another this week against interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, accusing him of turning Ontario "into the welfare capital of Canada" during his single term as premier in the early 1990s.

NDP officials have no doubt the Tories plan to smear their party's new leader too and have already had a taste of things to come in the House of Commons, where Conservative MPs have adopted the mantra that the NDP is "not fit to govern."

Hence, they've set aside funds for an ad campaign aimed at giving Canadians a positive first impression of the new leader.