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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Prime Minister Trudeau and his then-wife Margaret leave the city's Notre Dame Basilica Sunday afternoon after the christening of their 22-day old infant Justin Pierre James, Jan. 16, 1972. Tasseled shawls kept the baby hidden from photographers and the 10-degree-below-zero weather.
Eleven-month-old Justin Trudeau, urged on by his mother Margaret Trudeau, crawls up the steps of an aircraft in Ottawa Dec. 5, 1972 to meet his father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau on his return from Britain.
Pierre Trudeau is saluted by RCMP Officer as he carries son Justin to Rideau Hall in 1973. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/02/14/justin-trudeau-cries-cried-photo-loyalist-college_n_2690299.html">Justin Trudeau teared up when he was presented with a framed copy while visiting Loyalist College in 2013</a>.
Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau delivers a right hook to his older brother Justin during a play fight in 1980 at Ottawa airport as the boys await a flight with the return of their father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau. Nobody was injured. Justin was born in 1971 and Sacha in 1973 - both on Christmas day.
March 1979 photo of the Trudeau children: Michel (front), Alexandre (Sacha) and Justin (rear).
It was a big day for Dad, but a long day for the three Trudeau children. Left to right, Justin, Michel and Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau attended the swearing in ceremonies of their father Pierre Elliott Trudeau as Prime Minister March 3, 1980 at Government House.
Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau and 10 year-old son Justin walk toward a plane at CFB Ottawa on Nov. 7, 1982.
Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, left, watches as his 11-year-old son Justin swings on a chain during a tour of an old fort in the Omani town of Nizwa Dec. 2, 1983. Trudeau and Justin spent the day visiting the towns of Jebel and Nizwa 165 kilometres south of Muscat.
Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau's 11-year-old son Justin jumps off an old cannon while visiting a fort along with his father in the Omani town of Nizwa and Jebel.
Justin Trudeau and friend Mathieu Walker in the Sahara desert in October, 1994.
Justin Trudeau and friend Mathieu Walker in the Sahara desert in October, 1994.
Justin Trudeau with friends Mathieu Walker and Allen Steverman in Shanghai in 1994.
Justin Trudeau with friends Mathieu Walker (left) and Allen Steverman (centre) at the Great Wall of China in 1994.
Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau (L), his son, Alexandre (Sacha), ex-wife Margaret Kemper and son Justin weep as they leave a memorial service for their son Michel in Montreal in 1998. Michel Trudeau drowned after being swept into a lake during an avalanche in British Columbia.
Justin (left) and Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau lean out of the funeral train to show appreciation to mourners who turned out to pay their respects to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau in Dorval, Que., Monday Oct. 2, 2000. Trudeau's casket was moved from Ottawa to Montreal for a state funeral. ()
Justin Trudeau is consoled by his mother Margaret after reading the eulogy for his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau during his state funeral in Montreal, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2000.
Justin Trudeau delivers a eulogy for his late father Pierre Trudeau during the state funeral for the former prime minister at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2000. Trudeau first caught the public heartstrings in October 2000, when he delivered a moving, deeply felt eulogy for his legendary father, weaving an emotional spell from inside the cavernous Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal.
Justin Trudeau breaks down on his father's casket after reading the eulogy during the state funeral for former prime minister Pierre Trudeau Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2000 in Montreal.
Justin Trudeau gives a rose to a young girl, one of thousands of mourners who stood outside Notre-Dame Basillica in Montreal Tuesday, October 3, 2000 during a state funeral for his father, former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
An enthusiastic Justin Trudeau talks to reporters during a news conference to promote avalanche awareness in West Vancouver Thursday Jan. 25, 2001.
Justin Trudeau stands at the base of a mountain near the evidence of a controlled avalanche at Lake Louise, Alberta, Friday January 12, 2002.
Trudeau with adviser and friend Gerald Butts in July 2003 at Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories.
Justin Trudeau carves through a gate during a celebrity slalom race in Mont Tremblant, Que. Friday, Dec. 12, 2003. Trudeau was taking part in a 24-hour ski-a-thon for charity organized by Jacques Villeneuve and Villeneuve's manager Craig Pollock.
Justin Trudeau spoke to students as Sisler High School about the benefits of joining the Katimavik Project on March 9, 2004
Justin Trudeau, son of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, leaves with his new bride Sophie Gregoire in his father's 1959 Mercedes 300 SEL after their marriage ceremony in Montreal Saturday, May 28, 2005.
Sophie Gregoire waves to the crowd as she arrives for her wedding to Justin Trudeau, son of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, in Montreal Saturday, May 28, 2005.
Then-leadership candidate Stéphane Dion crosses paths with Justin Trudeau, a supporter of Gerard Kennedy, at the Liberal Leadership Convention on Nov. 30, 2006 in Montreal. The day after he won the leadership, Dion told Trudeau he needed his help and urged him to run.
Former prime minister Jean Chretien meets Justin Trudeau at the Liberal leadership convention, Friday, Dec. 1, 2006, in Montreal.
Justin Trudeau poses in London, Ont., on Tuesday, June 5, 2007 with a group of youth who participated in the Katimavik national youth service program that he has been actively involved in. The funny faces came from a request by a parent taking a photograph.
Justin Trudeau raises his arms in victory after being voted in as the Liberal representative in Montreal's Papineau riding, on April 29, 2007.
Justin Trudeau, then Liberal candidate for the riding of Papineau, on the campaign trail with his mother, Margaret, in Montreal on Sept. 23, 2008. Trudeau snatched the riding from the Bloc Québécois by 1,189 votes.
Liberal Justin Trudeau, then a candidate in the riding of Papineau, on the campaign trail in Montreal, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2008 with his mother, Margaret.
Then-Liberal Leader Stephane Dion chats with Justin Trudeau in Vancouver before boarding the campaign plane to fly to Ontario, Oct. 7, 2008.
Justin Trudeau apologizes for swearing at Environment Minister Peter Kent in the House of Commons Dec. 14, 2011.
Justin Trudeau poses in this official photo for his boxing match with Senator Patrick Brazeau.
Senator Patrick Brazeau, right, and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau take part in a weigh-in for a upcoming boxing match Wednesday March 28, 2012.
Senator Patrick Brazeau, right, and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau take part in a weigh-in for a upcoming boxing match Wednesday March 28, 2012, in Ottawa.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, left, fights Senator Patrick Brazeau during charity boxing match for cancer research Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Ottawa.
Senator Patrick Brazeau, right, and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau take part in a charity boxing match for cancer research Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Ottawa .
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau celebrates after he defeated Senator Patrick Brazeau during charity boxing match for cancer research Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Ottawa .
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau kisses his wife Sophie Grégoire after winning a boxing match against Senator Patrick Brazeau on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in Ottawa.
Liberal MPs, including Justin Trudeau, look on as Senator Patrick Brazeau holds a Liberal hockey sweater on Parliament Hill Ottawa, Monday April 2, 2012.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau trims the end of Senator Patrick Brazeau's pony tail out of respect in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill Ottawa, Monday April 2, 2012.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau announces he will seek the leadership of the party at a news conference, Tuesday, October 2, 2012 in Montreal.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau waves to the crowd of supporters as he holds his son Xavier and his wife Sophie Gregoire holds their daughter Ella-Grace after announcing he will seek the leadership of the party Tuesday, October 2, 2012 in Montreal.
Justin Trudeau, right, chats to his chief advisor Gerald Butts after taking part in the the Liberal leadership debate in Mississauga, Ont., on Saturday, February 16, 2013.
Marc Garneau, left, and Justin Trudeau take part in the Liberal leadership debate in Mississauga, Ont., on Feb. 16, 2013.