The Progressive Conservatives are banking that lapsed supporters of the party will not want to break up with Ontario-born heartthrob Ryan Gosling.
Embedded in the party’s latest fundraising appeal is a GIF of the actor from the 2013 movie Gangster Squad.
“It’s been a while. Are you still with me?” reads the email blast signed by Doug Ford, the premier and PC leader.
Clicking the purple “yes” button takes recipients to an “I’m with Doug!” page.
“Ontario has a leader for the people. Doug Ford and the Ontario PCs are cleaning up Kathleen Wynne’s mess. Add your name if you’re with Doug!” it reads, referring to Wynne, the former Liberal premier Ford defeated last June.
But clicking the red “no” buttons leads to a decidedly different direction on a page entitled “Change your Ontario PC Party email preferences.”
Underneath is a black-and-white GIF of Gosling, who was born in London, Ontario, and grew up in Cornwall.
“Don’t go,” the actor is saying to an off-screen Emma Stone.
“We know we email you a lot, but here’s the truth,” reads the message from the Tories below.
“It costs us $2 to call a supporter, $1 to pay for postage to mail a supporter, but it’s free to send an email,” the message continues.
“Kathleen Wynne changed the rules to fundraise. While we supported eliminating corporate and union donations, the game has changed and emailing our supporters has become the most cost-effective method to communicate with people like you.”
In 2016, following a Star exposé of Liberal fundraising practices, Wynne banned corporate and union donations, lowered maximum contribution amounts, and introduced a per-vote public subsidy of parties.
Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie