The Public Safety Minister made the move after interim Liberal leader Bob Rae rose in the House of Commons and admitted that Grit staffer Adam Carroll was behind the @Vikileaks30 Twitter account, which released personal information about Toews' divorce. The account was opened in retaliation for the Tories' online surveillance Bill C-30 and for Toews argument that those who opposed the bill were with the child pornographers.
Toews tweeted at at Trudeau "When did you learn this was a Liberal staffer? What did you do to stop this personal attack?"
Trudeau responded with a cutoff sentence, "Welcome to twitter, Vic. Im sorry I pointed out where people could see your personal."
The Liberal MP for Papineau soon finished his thought. "What a time to mislaunch an unfinished tweet. I'm sorry for my part in this, Vic. Now let's move on to real issues. Like electoral fraud."
Trudeau's response, and reference to ongoing allegations that the Conservatives were involved in misleading robocalls during the last federal election, prompted a quick retort from Toews. "You discovered Vikileaks quickly for an innocent bystander. Again, when did u first know it was your party's staffer?"
Trudeau was among the first users on Twitter to begin tweeting about the Vikileaks account in mid-February. While Trudeau did condemn the release of personal information at the time, he also linked directly to the @Vikileaks30 account where Toews' personal information could be viewed. The account was deleted earlier this month after an Ottawa Citizen report linked Vikileaks to a computer within the House of Commons.
Trudeau also joined in the #TellVicEverything hashtag and sent out a tweet joking that his entire staff despises the musician Paul Simon, in reference to the Citizen story linking the Vikileaks IP address to a user editing a Simon fan site.
The exchange between Trudeau and Toews came after one of the most dramatic days on Parliament Hill in recent memory.
First there was a feeding frenzy in Question Period over the robocall scandal, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper deflecting accusations of Tory involvement in misleading calls by demanding the opposition parties hand over any evidence in their possession to Elections Canada. NDP MP Charlie Angus rose and called the affair "the most comprehensive election fraud in Canadian history."
Then Liberal leader Bob Rae took the floor and revealed unexpectedly that a Liberal staffer was behind Vikileaks.
"I want to apologize unreservedly to the minister," Rae said.
Toews said he accepted Rae's apology, but that Liberal MPs actively encouraged use of the account, perhaps in reference to Trudeau.
The Public Safety Minister has been attacked on the Internet for weeks over the Conservative online surveillance bill. Anonymous has released numerous videos threatening to release personal information on him, Twitter users have relentlessly joked about him and, according to the Toews, his office has been flooded with phone calls and email.
The response is likely a reflection of the fact that, according to a recent poll by Angus-Reid, the majority of Canadians are against Bill C-30 and the sweeping powers it hands to police and other authorities.
But now that the bill has been sent to committee early for revision, Toews seems to have the opportunity to go on the offensive. And if his tweets to Trudeau last night are any indication, that's exactly what he's going to do.