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article imageCanada's NDP Deputy Leader questions bin Laden photo existence

By Andrew Moran     May 5, 2011 in Politics
Montreal - Canada's New Democratic Party is now the official Opposition party in the House of Commons after a historic federal election Monday. But the party's Deputy Leader is now in hot water after he questioned the existence of photos of Osama bin Laden.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has made the headline news quite a bit this week. It was earlier reported that Mulcair would take care of newly elected Member of Parliament Ruth Ellen Brosseau’s Berthier-Maskinonge riding in Quebec until she learns how to speak French.
Despite his goodwill for the party, Mulcair may be in hot water with other members of his party, Canadian voters and the United States government.
In an interview with CBC Television Wednesday, Mulcair questioned the existence of the photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse, according to the Globe and Mail. The Deputy Leader’s comments come after President Barack Obama refused to release the photos.
“I don't think from what I've heard that those pictures exist,” said Mulcair during an interview with CBC’s Power and Politics. “I think that if there is something that went on there, it requires a full analysis, and we have to understand whether or not there was an action where there was an action in self-defence or whether it was something that is more in the style of a direct killing. And that has to do with American law and international law as well.”
On Thursday morning, Mulcair retracted his comments on CBC Montreal’s Daybreak. The New Democrat veteran blamed his “meandering” remarks on election “fatigue.”
“I take full responsibility for the meandering nature of that back and forth,” said Mulcair. “I'll put that on the account of a certain fatigue and our joy at our victory the other night.”
Meanwhile, his NDP colleagues are attempting to distance themselves from Mucair’s doubts.
NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar issued a statement that said his party has no doubts that the photos are real and that they completely believe the U.S. President’s accounts of bin Laden’s death, reports CTV News.
“We have no reason to doubt the veracity of President Obama's statement,” said Dewar. “As (NDP leader) Jack Layton said the other day, we are happy the U.S. tracked down Osama bin Laden. The public's right to know must be balanced with public safety concerns.”
Digital Journal sought comment from Trinity-Spadina NDP MP Olivia Chow, but there has been no reply as of yet.
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