Edmonton

Alberta Tory ads attack Wildrose over drunk driving laws

The Alberta Progressive Conservatives will start running radio ads on Thursday attacking the Wildrose Party for wanting to revoke the province's tough new drunk driving laws.

The Alberta Progressive Conservatives are set to start a radio ad campaign attacking the Wildrose Party for wanting to revoke the province's tough new drunk driving laws.

"Premier Alison Redford is making our streets safer by getting tougher on impaired drivers," an announcer states.

"Since 1998, 300 Albertans have been killed by drivers who blew .08 or less. But Wildrose leader Danielle Smith says the new rules could ensnare couples on a date night.

"Let's tell the Wildrose that real leadership is about making decisions to save lives. Because 300 Albertans will never have another date night. Danielle Smith and the Wildrose: Not worth the risk."

Under the law passed late last year, drivers caught with a blood alcohol content between .05 and .08 could face possible administrative penalties, including license suspensions and short-term vehicle seizures.

Tory election campaign manager Susan Elliott says the party felt it needed to fight back. (CBC)

The provision targeting drivers who blow below .08 was opposed by the Wildrose Party, which believes it would be more effective to increase enforcement.

For the Tories, the last straw apparently came last month when the Wildrose launched a controversial campaign where they handed out beer coasters at bars and restaurants.

One side of the coaster showed the phrase "Drink responsibly" and an image with a red line running through ".05." The opposite side of the coaster had a red line through the letters "PC" and the words "Vote responsibly."

Tory campaign manager Susan Elliott says that campaign prompted her party to fight back.

"We've been concerned about their messaging on this issue right from the beginning but we felt that the coasters took it one step too far," she said.

The Wildrose Party believes fear is prompting the Tories to strike back in the weeks before the start of the provincial election.

"The ad is essentially accusing another opposition leader of killing people, of being in favour of killing people," said Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson. 

"I'm all for having policy discussions but this makes the Republicans down in the States look like angels. This is just disgusting politics. 

The radio ads will start running in Calgary on Thursday. The Tories won't say how much they're spending on the campaign.

The Wildrose Party launched a series of attack ads against Redford after she was sworn-in as Alberta premier last fall.