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under fire

Montreal Liberal MP Justin Trudeau gives an interview at his Parliament Hill office on Sept. 29, 2010.Pawel Dwulit

It has to be that famous last name that attracts the attacks. That's the only explanation for the recent spate of abuse that's been heaped on Justin Trudeau.

In the past few days he's been accused of not being Catholic enough to speak to Catholic students; he's been the subject of a PMO-led attack for supporting the long-gun registry that the Tories are about to kill and he's under the gun, now, because he said he was personally against abortion but supports a woman's right to choose.

This week, the Montreal Liberal MP tweeted about his opposition to the Harper government's legislation to scrap the registry. As part of the tweet he sent a picture of a gun he said would no longer be tracked when the registry dies.

"You really want NO way to track this gun? This is not the farmer's shotgun on a barn door. #toughoncrimeFAIL," he tweeted along with a photo of the firearm he had found on the pro-gun website

And when Mr. Trudeau tweets to his 95,000 followers, Stephen Harper's office takes notice. Officials there quickly issued a memo to their MPs and supporters, taking the Montreal MP to task for mistakenly suggesting that particular gun would not be tracked.

"This is more fear-mongering and militant disregard for the facts by the opposition," the PMO charged. "Obviously, restricted and prohibited firearms will still have to be registered."

Mr. Trudeau later told The Globe he was simply tweeting the picture of the discount-ammunition dealer sells and bills as non-restricted.

He added, too, that he won't talk about the long-gun registry "without pointing out that guns are the number one way for a woman to be killed by her spouse," citing the page 49 of a hefty Statistics Canada report on family violence.

"Unlike the PMO, I tend to like to back up my statements with actual references, research, and evidence," he said, adding that if the Conservatives have problem with the picture of the gun he circulated, they "can shift their concern to their friends at CanadaAmmo."

Mr. Trudeau has been pushing hard against the bill to abolish the long-gun registry. In addition, the Quebec government has expressed its opposition to a part of the bill that calls for the destruction of the registry data.

Next, Mr. Trudeau was criticized by the Prime Minister's parliamentary secretary for not being Catholic enough to warrant addressing students from the Catholic school board in his Ontario riding. Dean Del Mastro questioned his Liberal colleague's faith, asking on his Facebook page if there are "any tenets of the Catholic faith that Justin supports?"

This, of course, upset Mr. Trudeau. As part of his response to the Tory MP's remark, he noted that he was personally opposed to abortion but supported a woman's right to choose.

And for that comment, he is in even more trouble. "Now I'm getting guff from the other side because I said I don't like abortion. Does anyone who's ProChoice, as I am, really LIKE abortion?" Mr. Trudeau tweeted Thursday.

The son of a former Liberal prime minister, it seems, just can't get a break.