NDP deputy leader doubts U.S. has bin Laden photos
NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair speaks to reporters during a post-election news conference in Montreal, Tuesday, May 3, 2011. (Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Thursday, May 5, 2011 6:55AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 4:40AM EDT
OTTAWA - The first burst of controversy from the next crop of MPs came not from a raw NDP rookie but from the party's experienced deputy leader who said he doesn't believe the United States has photos of Osama bin Laden's body.
Thomas Mulcair struck a conspiracy theory note Wednesday when he told CBC TV that U.S. President Barack Obama's version of the death of the terrorist mastermind is incomplete, if not untrue.
Obama said he has seen photos of bin Laden's corpse but releasing those photos would be akin to peddling gruesome trophies. Mulcair was doubtful.
"I don't think from what I've heard that those pictures exist," Mulcair said during an appearance on 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."
The New Democrats worked fast to distance themselves from Mulclair's comments.
A statement from NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar said the party fully believed Obama's version of events.
"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."
Dewar added that the New Democrats agree with U.S. government's decision not to release the photos showing bin Laden's death.
"The public's right to know must be balanced with public safety concerns," he said.
The U.S. says bin Laden was shot dead on Sunday by American commandos during a raid on a compound in Pakistan.
Some family members of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks thought it important to document bin Laden's death, as did some skeptics in the Arab world who doubted his demise in the absence of convincing evidence.