That time former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent made a comeback with a rap video

A staffer for the candidate's Conservative opponent in an Ottawa riding called out the former NDP leader for a 2004 video he claimed was an illegal campaign contribution.

He stepped down as Leader in 1989, but came out of retirement for 2004 federal election

That time Ed Broadbent campaigned with a rap video

18 years ago
Duration 1:59
Fifteen years after he stepped down as NDP leader, Ed Broadbent took a run at an Ottawa seat in the 2004 election.

After 15 years out of politics, Ed Broadbent was making a return in 2004 and running for election as an MP again. And the 68-year-old even had a song to go with it.

"Float like a butterfly/Sting like a bee/It's time for voting NDP," the former NDP leader rapped in the video for Ed's Back!, which could be seen on his campaign's website. 

Carol MacIvor, a worker at Broadbent's Ottawa campaign office, said website hits had gone "through the roof" since the rap video had been posted a week earlier. (Canada Now/CBC Archives)

The video had originally been made by an independent production company for the CBC program This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

"But the Ed's Back! video never made it to air because of concerns it lacked balance," explained CBC reporter Danny Globerman. 

The NDP campaign, however, was happy to use the video on its website, sending traffic "through the roof," according to campaign worker Carol MacIvor. 

"Reaction to it has been absolutely amazing," she said.

According to the Globe and Mail, the video had been downloaded from NDP websites 13,000 times in four days — almost as much as the party platform had been.

Conservative call-out 

In the riding, Ottawa Centre, opponent Mike Murphy's Conservative campaign had a beef with Broadbent.

"The true market cost of that video is at a number significantly in excess of a campaign contribution limit," said Tom Thompson, a staffer for Conservative candidate Mike Murphy. (Canada Now/CBC Archives)

"The true market cost of that video is significantly at a number in excess of the campaign contribution limit," said staffer Tom Thompson.

Murphy's team had registered a complaint regarding the video with the Chief Electoral Officer — but the video's creator said no money had changed hands.

"It's a business transaction, a licensing issue," said Barry Caplan of TV Factory.

"We would normally just charge a small fee for someone to put it up on their website, but since Ed [appeared in the video] for nothing, we decided to give it to him for nothing."

Back at Broadbent HQ, MacIvor threw shade on the Murphy team's gambit.

"Frankly, we know we're ahead. And they're behind," she said. "They're trying to sling some mud and it's not working."

According to the Globe and Mail, Broadbent "handily" won the seat in Ottawa Centre in the election of June 28, 2004. 

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