Politics

'That is simply not true': Trudeau goes after Harper for misleading attack at debate

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper faced a smackdown after he went after Liberals and the NDP during Thursday night's debate, accusing the other parties of aiming to cancel income splitting for seniors, a tax benefit measure his government introduced in 2007.

Harper faces backlash after accusing rival parties of gunning to scrap pensioners' income splitting

Liberal leader says it's misleading for Stephen Harper to say that opposition parties are opposed to income splitting for pensioners 0:41

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper faced a smackdown after he went after Liberals and the NDP during Thursday night's debate, accusing the other parties of aiming to cancel income splitting for seniors, a tax benefit measure his government introduced in 2007.

"We brought in income splitting for our pensioners, something the other parties oppose," Harper said.

"Mr. Harper, that is simply not true," replied Trudeau, sparking a backlash against Harper's debate performance that galvanized the other three party leaders participating in the debate and provoked a response on social media.

"You're putting that in misleading attack ads and none of the other parties have talked about touching it, and I'm including Mr. Mulcair on income splitting," he went on, defending NDP Leader Tom Mulcair as well as himself. 

Mulcair and Trudeau have both vowed to scrap the centrepiece of the Conservatives' family tax benefit package: allowing couples with young children to split their income for tax purposes.

But, there's been no evidence they'd kill it for pensioners.

Harper went on to say Trudeau is "philosophically" against income splitting.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May also jumped in to question Harper's economic statistics.

"Mr. Prime Minister, you're cherry-picking your data," she said.

The series of exchanges prompted a wave of Twitter reaction.

Others noted that Harper was repeatedly called out by party leaders for misleading attacks on numerous topics. 

But there were some who thought the frank, "That's not true," response was getting old. 

While Mulcair escaped largely unscathed in the "cherry picking" reaction online, he did not escape the Twitterverse altogether.