Mulcair -



I wouldn’t contrive a defence of Tom Mulcair, the NDP’s deputy leader, if I thought he’d said something truly lunatic. I’d be likelier to make some popcorn and enjoy the show. But I’ve heard chatter to the effect that he seems, in this interview, to be denying that Osama bin Laden was actually shot the other night outside Islamabad by U.S. forces. (This story includes some Twitter traffic along the same lines.) That would be fake-moon-landing loony — but while it would certainly be entertaining, I don’t think that’s what Mulcair is saying. (Evan Solomon missed a chance to ask the clear question — “Are you saying the Americans didn’t kill bin Laden?” — perhaps because Mulcair’s first answer opened up vistas of possible weird that Evan wasn’t quite prepared to navigate.)

As I understand it, Mulcair is accusing the White House of wanting to release as little information about what went on in that villa as possible, because it’s not clear whether the terrorist leader died in the crossfire of a firefight or was simply executed. There would be international-law implications if the latter, but I’m out of my depth in discussing those. What is clear is that the White House’s story has changed in unflattering ways. You may find it outrageous enough that he’s saying the White House would claim to have evidence it doesn’t have. I do wish there were no precedent for such a thing.

I’m pretty sure bin Laden is dead, that US soldiers did the deed, that they took photos as part of a meticulously planned operation, and that the President doesn’t want to release them for reasons I find mostly decent. I take Mulcair to be agreeing with the first two assertions and contesting the third and fourth. Your mileage may vary.



  1. Ahh but do you believe Obama saw the whole thing live in the 'situation room' at the WH?

    Because that turned out to be hokum too.

  2. "There would be international-law implications if the latter …. "

    I wonder if similar considerations are being made with the two different views that are emerging on whether waterboarding was used.

    "CIA Director Leon Panetta stomped on the White House's political script when he told Tuesday night's broadcast of NBC Nightly News that the waterboarding of jihadi detainees contributed information that led to the location and killing of Osama bin Laden.

    “We had multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation… clearly some of it came from detainees [and] they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of those detainees,” he told NBC anchor Brian Williams.

    When asked by Williams if water-boarding was part of the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Panetta simply said “that's correct.”

    Throughout the day, White House officials had pushed back at claims that water-boarding or other enhanced interrogation techniques produced the information that eventually led to Osama bin Laden." Daily Caller, May 4 2011

    • not just current White House officials pushing back on those claims either, says here that even "Rumsfeld himself has denied that torture played any role in finding bin Laden: “It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”"

      • Divergent stories are bad, wish they would have got it straight before White House went public. Conspiracy theories will always be with us but White House does not need to help flame them, which they have with their two, or more now, stories about what happened.

  3. I find it less disturbing that Mr Mulclair believes this nonsense than the fact that he has the stupidity to say it out loud. Everyone has crazy thoughts at one time or another. But if you are deputy leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, you have to know when to STFU.

    Also he made an unfortunate slip of the tongue by saying "Obama" when he meant "Osama".

    For the good of our fair Dominion I hope he grows up quickly.

    • a) we don't have a 'dominion' and

      b) while Mulcair shouldn't have said this….the entire bin Laden story is being ripped apart in the US and elsewhere.

      PS…thumb monkeys notwithstanding. LOL

      • Regarding point "a", it should be noted that although Canada is no longer considered a dominion in terms of being a self-governing territory of the British Empire, it's official name as the "Dominion of Canada" was used up until the early 1980s, and is correct in the sense that the word "dominion" functions as a synonym for kingdom, which Canada most certainly is, despite not often being referred to as such.

        Nothing is preventing the federal government from using the "Dominion of Canada" as the country's official name, as no legislation was passed barring the usage of said name. It was a more a matter of style and preference than anything else that saw more recent governments deprecate the usage of the term.

        EDIT: Interesting Wikipedia article on the subject, which includes citations of sources:


        • Sigh…'dominion' is a legal status…one we no longer have. It is not a synonym for kingdom, nor is it a matter of style and preference. It means more than a colony, less than an independent country.

          There was the dominion of India, the dominion of Australia….

          • See Wikipedia article above, which includes sources. Canada can still be referred to as the Dominion of Canada, and this name was actually used by the federal government to register a tartan in 2008:

            Quote from

            For instance, in 2008 the Canadian government registered the Maple Leaf Tartan with the Scottish Tartan Authority under the name Dominion of Canada.[42]

          • See above. Your argument is based on the self-governing dominion idea of the British Empire. I'm referring to the name of Canada, which could just as easily have been styled the "Kingdom of Canada" if certain factors had not intervened. Nothing is preventing the federal government from using this name, and indeed it did in 2008, as I noted above. Dominion can also be used as a synonym for kingdom, as the second definition present in my Oxford dictionary states.

            Sorry Emily, but the federal government's recent usage (2008) trumps whatever ill feelings you harbour towards the term.

          • We can call ourselves anything we want….The Colony of Canada, the Empire of Canada, or Brigadoon for that matter….which would be more accurate….LOL

            But we no longer have the legal status of dominion….we moved up from that.

          • I already stated that Canada is no longer a dominion in the self-governing territory of the British Empire sense of the term in my first post. Try reading my posts fully next time – you could save yourself a lot of embarrassment. All I was arguing is that "Dominion" remains an official title of Canada, as the following Canadian Encylcopaedia article entry states (last sentence):

            Dominion refers primarily to Dominion of Canada (CONSTITUTION ACT, 1867, preamble and s3). The FATHERS OF CONFEDERATION wanted to call "the new nation" the Kingdom of Canada. The British Government feared this would offend the Americans, whom, after the stresses of the American Civil War, it was most anxious not to antagonize. It insisted on a different title. Sir Leonard TILLEY suggested "dominion": "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth" (Psalm 72:8). The Fathers said it was intended to give dignity to the federation, and as a tribute to the monarchical principle. The word came to be applied to the federal government and Parliament, and under the CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982, "Dominion" remains Canada's official title.

            Author EUGENE A. FORSEY


          • They could 'suggest' all they wanted…but at the time we were neither kingdom nor dominion….we just chose to elevate ourselves to that status…much to the amusement of the crown.

            We eventually became a dominion legally…and then once we patriated the constitution we moved beyond that.

            We are no longer a dominion legally….no matter how much you torture your tangent.

          • Ugh, you're a lost cause. I'm referring to the NAME, not the British Empire unit of government. I'm starting to think you're being deliberately obtuse in order to obscure the fact that you lost an argument (guess what – it's not working). Since I'm not sure you'll understand the nuance of that last statement, here is the short version:

            I'm right, and you're wrong.

          • Sorry dearie, but we are no longer a dominion.

            'Defenders of the title Dominion—including monarchists who see signs of creeping republicanism in Canada—take comfort in the fact that the Constitution Act, 1982 does not mention and therefore does not remove the title, and that a constitutional amendment is required to change it.'

            I take it you are one of those 'monarchists' impervious to change. LOL

          • Yes I am a monarchist, and I am proud of it. For the last time, I'm not referring to this kingdom's political status. I am referring to its NAME – its official title. The NAME "Dominion of Canada" was used a recently as 2008 by the federal government to register a tartan (the Wikipedia entry I provided above has sources stating as much), and the Canadian Encyclopaedia entry excerpt I posted above states the following:

            "…and under the CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982, "Dominion" remains Canada's official title."

            So yes, our country can still be called the "Dominion of Canada", even if this name is not as common as it used to be.

          • NAME was already covered. Pay attention.

            Some still read the BNA Act passage as specifying this phrase – rather than Canada alone – as the name. The term Dominion of Canada does not appear in the 1867 act nor in the Constitution Act, 1982 but does appear in the Constitution Act, 1871, other contemporaneous texts, and subsequent bills. References to the Dominion of Canada in later acts, such as the Statute of Westminster, do not clarify the point because all nouns were formally capitalised in British legislative style. Indeed, in the original text of the BNA Act, "One" and "Name" were also capitalised.

            And no, 'dominion' was never mentioned in the 82 constitution act

            You really should read these things more closely.

          • Yes, the NAME was already covered, IN MY FIRST POST. You're the one who went on some bizarre escapade involving the political status of this nation. Your close-reading skills are in need of some serious improvement.

            The Canadian Encyclopaedia (which I hold in much higher esteem than you – sorry) states that the Constitution Act of 1982 keeps "Dominion" as Canada's official title. That's good enough for me :)

          • I'm sorry, but we haven't legally been a 'dominion' since Trudeau patriated the constitution.

            And no, it's not even mentioned in the Constitution Act. Which, by the way, you can read online.

            But I hope you enjoyed the wedding. LOL

          • Well, the Federal Government used the name "Dominion of Canada" as recently as 2008, so it's obviously not wrong to use this name. And, the editors of the Canadian Encyclopaedia seem to think that there is something in the multiple documents of the Constitution which keeps "Dominion" as this country's official title. They're the experts, and (like I said) that's good enough for me.

          • Yes dear…also covered in the source I gave you. And no, the Canadian Encyclopedia is not sacred writ. We aren't a 'dominion' and haven't been since Trudeau patriated the constitution.

          • This country can still be called the "Dominion of Canada"- nothing in the Constitution states otherwise, and the Federal Government has used the term in recent years. It's not incorrect to use "Dominion" as part of Canada's official name – that's all I was ever stating.

            Oh, and even if the Canadian Encyclopaedia is not sacred, I'm confident the authors and editors of said work are much more intelligent than you, so I'll stick with their interpretation of this country's name and official title.

          • Like I said…we can call ourselves anything we want…but legally we are not a dominion.

            PS…the encyclopedia didn't write it…Eugene Forsey did. A devout monarchist, dead since 1991

            This argument was over before you began it…

          • Indeed, the Federal Government could use whatever name it wanted, but it was accepted practice to use "Dominion of Canada" as an official title for decades, given its historic associations and it connections to monarchism, and the Constitution allows this. That's all I was ever arguing – that Mr Anderson's reference to Canada as a Dominion is correct if he is using the term "dominion" in relation to the country's official title.

            And even if Mr Forsey is a dead monarchist, his opinion on Canada's official title is obviously accepted by the editors of the Encyclopaedia, and therefore validates my usage of the Encyclopaedia article as a source.

          • You need to learn to ignore Emily, the same way she ignores the truth.

          • Dude, you are arguing with an idiot – Emily. Just stop.

          • You're right, Jack and Rick – poor form on my part. My own argumentative streak is a little wider than I'd like it to be.

          • You conservatives resort to name-calling when you can't win an argument. No wonder you worship a clan of mediaeval bullies who live in a castle.

            At least you support welfare for the Windsors… that's a good start for your sensitive side.

    • Geez guys give the dominion thing a rest. I was trying to be funny. You've siezed on this and ignored everything else I said.

      I wonder if this is how Thomas Mulclair feels.

      • Well, good, Jay, at least you take credit for intentional meandering!

  4. the President doesn't want to release them for reasons I find mostly decent

    Paul I'm curious…how do you contrast the decision to hold back this photo, but to release all the other Abu Ghraib and the more recent photos from Afghanistan? What makes holding this particular one back reasonable but not the others? Or did you find it "unreasonable" to have released those?

    • I think releasing bin Laden's photo would amount to gloating. Releasing the Abu Ghraib photos amounted to confession. Again, your mileage may vary.

      • Fair enough, I can buy that. Thanks.

        • And I believe the photos were first revealed by the press – 60 Minutes?

  5. Mulcair clearly just didn't know that the Whitehouse had confirmed that such a picture did, in fact, exist. This wasn't the subject of the interview–NDP MPs from Quebec–so there wouldn't have been any reason for him to have been up on the story. He guy's probably been pretty busy in the last couple of days.

    Furthermore, Mulcair goes as far as to say that (a) if there were such a picture and the US was covering it up that would be suspicious, but (b) if they're just not releasing it he's sure that it IS for reasons of decency and (c) it probably wouldn't tell us much about how bin Laden was shot anyway.

    As with Jack Layton's comments about (not) re-opening the consitution and about how the Bank of Canada should keep interest rates low (while stating in the same interview that that's not up to him and that the Bank of Canada is an independent agency), this is just another example of people twisting NDP leaders' comments to fit a convenient but unsupported narrative that the NDP is somehow not up to the pressure they're now going to be under as the govrenment in waiting. It's BS.

  6. Paul I had arrived at the same conclusion about Mulcair; but like Jay above I think it's lunacy to stand up in front of reporters and speculate about such things. The US is not just a key ally, but THE key ally.

    • No, it's just one of many allies….but we are not required to lie for any of them

    • Given the choice between speaking up in defense of our ally or being concerned about international law, Mulcair appears to have picked the second. I doubt that is at all inconsistent for him or for the NDP and given his position in opposition rather than in government, this is certainly a statement he can afford to make.

      I suspect this may be something we'll have to get used to, and at this point I actually find it to be refreshing and a nice contrast to what we'll surely get out of the PMO.

      • hear hear!

    • I find it sad that political spin and strategy have become so ingrained in our collective psyche they someone might actually fault a man for stating his honest opinion. Personally, I'd like to return to the pre-Harper era, when candidates and MPs were allowed to freely speak their mind, and their constituents were free to vote for them or not based on an accurate read of their lunacy.

      • I am not sure this mythic time ever existed. Mulroney was known to have said never to disagree with the US in public.

  7. Ha ha, so Mr. Wells describes for Mr. Mulclair WTF he meant to say – how considerate of you

    • Agreed. Paul, the story you've linked to quotes NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar saying he doesn't doubt the exitence of the photos, and doubting those photos' existence is the narrowest possible interpretation of Mulcair's words. If what Mulcair says is reasonable, is Dewar being unduly creduluous?

      • Sorry, that should be "existence" of course.

        • Expect a lot of that over the next couple of years from the Ottawa media – "Well, what he/she meant to say……."

    • I do try to be considerate. Don't you?

    • Is the Angry Arab one of our new NDP MPs?


        As'ad AbuKhalil, born March 16, 1960. From Tyre, Lebanon, grew up in Beirut. Received his BA and MA from American University of Beirut in pol sc. Came to US in 1983 and received his PhD in comparative government from Georgetown University. Taught at Tufts University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Colorado College, and Randolph-Macon Woman's College. Served as a Scholar-in-Residence at Middle East Institute in Washington DC. He served as free-lance Middle East consultant for NBC News and ABC News, an experience that only served to increase his disdain for maintream US media. He is now professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley. His favorite food is fried eggplants.

  8. The US press is reporting it as Mr. Wells describes it – that Mulcair doesn't believe the US administration's statements about having pictures. But they also make it sound like he doesn't have any actual information, that it is just speculation on his part. That is what makes him look ridiculous – accusing the Obama administration without anything to back up his accusations.

    • The interpretation I'm getting here is that what he's 'really saying' is that they can't have the photos, because if they did they'd be gloating.

      In a nutshell, Mr. Mulcair believes the American administration lacks the decency to hold back any photos they have, so they must not have them at all.

  9. His comments are proof positive that he was drummed out of the Charest government for good reasons. Harper will have lots of fun at the expense of the dippers.

  10. That's generous of you Paul.

    Personally I just assumed that Mulcair was tired of answering questions about "les poteaux", that is the rest of his new Quebec caucus mates, and wanted to change the conversation.

    I'm glad to see everyone is so accommodating of Tom's desires.

  11. One thing Mulcair is right about : the Canadian banks are earning excess profits , $21.8 Billion in all , of which $11 Billion was paid out in executive bonuses , while at the same time overcharging their credit customers and underpaying for savings accounts and GIC's .

    Otherwise known as a Kleptopcracy .

    • Wrong … because most of those Billion$$$ were distributed as bonuses to bank managers and workers such as the bank tellers. Yes the executives got a lot, but they worked their way up the bank ladders to reach their positions and are deserving too.

  12. All I can say it is going to be a fun four years as the NDP keeps sticking its collective feet in its collective mouths over four years. A government in waiting I don't think so.
    Rather than being the official opposition Layton is going to spend all his time fighting fires created by his kiddie MPs and the looney left in his party i.e. Libby Davies. It will be fun to watch.

  13. President Obama's initial statement was "after a firefight, Bin Laden was killed". Which seems different from "during a firefight, Bin Laden was killed". I don't want to see the photo, and I don't doubt that Bin Laden is dead. It is possible the manner of his death is not very flattering to the US.

  14. I wondered who would step up to become the official NDP apologist.

    Mr. Wells you are looking at a busy 4 years.

  15. If a Liberal (pre-2011) or a CPC made the same comment there would be demands for party discipline to step in and address such a huge mistake.

    Which of the other quality 57 Quebec NDP MPs will be appoint the deputy leader????

  16. As the government-in-waiting, prominent and experienced members of Jack's party should be prepared to take questions on world affairs without launching an international incident. But Layton's primary goal in this campaign wasn't to become PM or even leader of the official opposition; it was to finish the job that Harper started of destroying the Liberals. The unintended consequences of Layton's cleverness has left Harper in complete and absolute control of everything for 4 years. It will become increasingly obvious, even to Jack eventually, that the official opposition is now irrelevant except when they blow themselves up with careless public comments. Meanwhile, Harper is gleefully contemplating how his guys will initiate all those young amateurs with little or no chance of winning that Layton recruited – more unintended consequences.

  17. I hate to tell you this Canada, but this guy Mulcair is actually one of the "good" Dippers elected as our official opposition. Wait, just wait untll you get a chance to see some of the other beauties now getting $160,000 a year from the taxpayers of Canada.

  18. I don't believe the majority of Canadians really care how this went down. Most I believe will say he murdered thousands of people including our fellow citizens. He was an international criminal terrorist and now he's dead and I don't care how. Good for the Americans and good for us too.
    The left will always weep and whine, while playing hug-a-thug. Frig 'em – we don't care.

  19. Regardless, this "targeted assassination" is just a "lesser evil" in defence of American democracy and hegemony. A great Canadian intellectual approves of this implementation of his thesis on global realpolitik.

  20. Oh, so when he said that they didn't have any photos, what he really meant was something else entirely?

    Glad that's cleared up. Can you put out an NDP to English dictionary so we can understand what these clowns mean the next time they start talking?

  21. Mulcair was interviewed earlier today, specifically so he could be asked about what he meant and to clarify his position. He takes responsibility for the confusion, and confirms that Wells pretty much had it right.

    Why are people here in such a rush to write both Wells and Mulcair off? I'd really love to know, because it makes absolutely no sense to me.

  22. From the internet:

    Thomas "UFO" Mulcair (as in, unidentified-flying-Osama).

  23. I don't think Obama has pictures of his children.

    Yes, Mulcair is an idiot.

  24. That's rather why Canadian banks are internationally well-regarded and why they are part of a good investment strategy.

    Why in the world would you want them to do poorly?

  25. Harper's latest attack campaign has begun already. Get to know your new Conbots.

  26. Come on. Every party recruits young amateurs for ridings they don't perceive they have a chance of winning. I had a young Roto-Rooter employee as my Reform candidate in East Vancouver once. I say two things about it.

    First, the fact that they were willing to put their names forward for something they believe in — and not expect to get any power out of it — makes them 10 times more likable to me than most of the people who sit in the house.

    And two, as someone who has been to university as a mature student and seen some of the impressively-together 19-year-olds one finds roaming the campuses, I will say don't discount an MP due to age or lack of experience. You'll be the one that comes off looking ignorant.

    • Nothing in my comment disparages those young amateur politicians. The point is that they WERE elected and are now at the mercy of Harper's goon squad… not the best way to start out in the big leagues.

  27. Actually we should be afdraid. America has displayed an incompetence that is really unmatched since the time of Carter. Now thats a shame. THey had a thing going there, now, through ennui and apathy and the other deadly sins of a diluted moral and cultural mixture they've lost it. SHam. Rome did it. Japan, Germany CHina..all did it in their time. Failed, were displaced and regained some measure of civility. Now A,erica is falling. Sad thing is, we are linked to the oliphant.

    Oh well.

    Got to get to Nicaragua. Hear they have excellent health care and if you are resident you get it paid for.

  28. That is what it takes to play the game and in fact be one of those who win election. You thihk they had a success story going in real life?? HAHAHA

  29. Meandering is my middle name. Jay Meandering Anderson.

    Which is why I would make a lousy politician. A good politician has to always have part of his consciousness standing off to the side, monitoring himself, constantly asking "am I staying on message?"

    Love him or hate him, Harper does this. And Layton does it even better, because he does it while appearing not to. Ignatieff never learned how, and that's why he is back doing something he is good at.

  30. Both of you are off! Haven't you heard – it's no longer "Dominion", the name has changed to "Metro".

    Considering the stupidity of this argument, I just want to make clear that I have never been employed by this particular grocery chain, though I most certainly have been a shopper!

  31. The NDP is full of people who believe that 9-11 was orchestrated by George W. Bush. Time to face facts, people. The NDP is full of lunatics. Mulcair is one.

  32. I'm sorry, but we haven't legally been a 'dominion' since Trudeau patriated the constitution.

    Dear Lord, is that ANOTHER thing we need to go piss on his grave for? They really gotta set up a beer tent near that place.