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Trudeau in debut blasts tariffs on 'little red wagons'

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

New Liberal leader Justin Trudeau blasted a tax on iconic "little red wagons" in his first scrimmage with Canada's prime minister on Monday, while Tory ads slammed the 41-year-old's political inexperience.

"When middle-class Canadians go into a store to buy a tricycle, to buy school supplies, to buy a little red wagon for their kids, they will pay more because of a tax in this government's budget," Trudeau said.

"So now that the PM knows what's in his budget, will he show good judgment, admit it's a tax and repeal this tax on middle-class Canadians," he said, calling new import tariffs levied against a litany of consumer goods unveiled last month "wrong-headed."

The question marked Trudeau's debut in the House of Commons as Liberal leader. The former school teacher and eldest son of late prime minister Pierre Trudeau was elected by a landslide at a party convention on Sunday.

In his reply, Harper congratulated Trudeau on becoming the opposition party's leader, then listed "enormous" tax reductions brought in by his Conservatives since 2006.

Meanwhile, the Tories unleashed a slew of attack ads seeking to discredit Trudeau before he even finished his first full day on the job.

One spot highlighted Trudeau's boyish features and previous work as a camp counsellor, a rafting instructor and a drama teacher, paired with the tagline: "Does he have the experience to be prime minister?"

Another shows him taking off his shirt and doing a striptease at a charity event, while an announcer suggests that he is in "way over his head."

In 2011, the Liberals won just 35 out of 308 seats in parliament. The party that had held power for most of the last century was relegated to the political margins as the country's number three grouping in the last election.

Trudeau was elected to the House of Commons in 2008 and re-elected in 2011. Liberals hope his youth and famous name can revitalize the party in time to challenge the Conservatives in the next election, likely in 2015.

amc/mdl

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130415/trudeau-debut-blasts-tariffs-little-red-wagons