Justin Trudeau's latest defender against Tory attacks would make even a schoolboy blush: his mom.
“Someone is bullying my Justin and that makes me mad,” Margaret Trudeau told a crowd this week to raucous applause, reports the North Bay Nipissing News.
The mother of the rookie Liberal leader was speaking on mental health awareness when the conversation turned to attack ads and supposed bullying in Canadian politics.
And the former wife of Pierre Trudeau was unable to resist a jab at the current prime minister.
“If Stephen Harper took off his shirt in public, I’m not sure he’d raise any money for charity,” she quipped.
Though the Grit leader has vowed to take the high road, only releasing an ad of his own where he says "Canadians deserve better” than the attacks, it must seem Tories are coming for him on all sides these days.
On Wednesday, Conservative backbencher Roxanne James used a private members statement in the House to celebrate the return of the Toronto Maple Leafs to the NHL playoffs. Her speech quickly took a turn, though, when she began to slam Trudeau for running the charity group Katimavik “into the ground.”
James said she looked forward to commercial breaks during Leafs games when she could “learn more about how the Liberal leader is just in over his head.”
But while James may be delighting in the Conservative onslaught on Trudeau, it seems other Tories are less enthusiastic.
At least eight Tory backbenchers have gone on record to say they won’t be mailing Conservative pamphlets to their constituents that, similar to the TV ads, attack Trudeau as little more than a famous name.
Unlike the commercials, the mail-outs are funded by taxpayers through House of Commons budgets.
"I don't participate in criticizing anybody else. I like to talk about me," said Ontario MP Larry Miller. "I don't like negative advertising, I don't use it, and that old saying — I control what I can control. I've voiced my opinion on it, I don't like it.”
Daryl Kramp, another Ontario Tory, told a radio station in his riding he too is uncomfortable with direction Conservatives are headed.
“The day it becomes personal that’s the day I’m not involved with that,” he said.
The Toronto Star reported on Wednesday that several Conservatives have privately expressed to Trudeau that they are uneasy with the mail attack.
“Already a number of Conservatives have mentioned to me privately that they’re not particularly appreciative of it and they don’t intend to use them,” Trudeau said.
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