Mulcair stands behind Donnelly, after Kurdi family confusion
Published Friday, September 11, 2015 12:05PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 11, 2015 3:25PM EDT
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says he does not believe that B.C. candidate Fin Donnelly did anything wrong in how he handled the story of the family of the young Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach last week.
On Friday, Mulcair was asked why he has not asked for an apology from Donnelly, the NDP candidate for Port Moody-Coquitlam.
Last week, Donnelly told reporters that the family of Alan Kurdi had applied for refugee status in Canada last March, and that he hand-delivered a letter to Chris Alexander, the citizenship and immigration minister, asking for help, but the family heard nothing more.
Donnelly’s statements quickly made headlines around the world.
It later emerged that it was Alan Kurdi’s parents were not the subject of the application, which was instead for his uncle, Mohammed Kurdi. That application was incomplete and was sent back as it did not meet requirements for proof of refugee status.
Donnelly offered no explanation for the misunderstanding.
Mulcair says he believes Donnelly has no need to apologize as he was trying to help the whole Kurdi family.
“Look at the letter. The letter doesn’t just talk about the uncle; it talks about the whole family,” Mulcair said, referring to the letter Donnelly handed to Alexander.
“He was doing an amazing job of representing people in his riding, doing his best to save that family. That’s what MP’s do. And I couldn’t be prouder to have someone of the strength, integrity and hard work as Fin Donnelly as part of our caucus, and I am looking forward to having Fin Donnelly play a key role when we form government on Oct. 19.”
It was Kurdi's sister, Tima Kurdi, who later explained to reporters that she had submitted an application for Mohammed and planned to also apply to sponsor Alan’s father, Abdullah Kurdi. But he lost hope, she said, when Mohammed’s application was rejected.
Alan, his older brother Ghalib, and their mother all died when inflatable boats ferrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized. Abdullah survived.
On Friday, the still grieving father told a German newspaper, Die Welt, that he blames Canadian authorities for the tragedy that killed his family.
"I wanted to move (to Canada) with my family and with my brother who is currently in Germany," Kurdi told the newspaper in a telephone interview. "But they denied us permission and I don't know why."
Asked whether he blamed anyone for the tragedy, Kurdi responded: "Yes, the authorities in Canada, which rejected my application for asylum, even though there were five families who were willing to support us financially."