NDP deputy leader doubts bin Laden photos exist

Thomas Mulcair, the deputy leader of the NDP, says he doubts the U.S. has photos of Osama bin Laden's body.

Party's foreign affairs critic says NDP does not question Obama's account

NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair speaks to reporters during a post-election news conference in Montreal on Tuesday. Mulcair says he doesn't believe photos exist of Osama bin Laden's body. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

The deputy leader of Canada's new Official Opposition party says he doubts the U.S. has photos of Osama bin Laden's body.

Thomas Mulcair, who stands in for NDP Leader Jack Layton in the House of Commons when he is away, told CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon that he doesn't believe photos exist of bin Laden following his killing by U.S. forces on Sunday in Pakistan.

"I don't think, from what I've heard, that those pictures exist and if they do I'll leave that up to the American military," he told host Evan Solomon.

"If they've got pictures of a cadaver then there's probably more going on than we suspect in what happened there," Mulcair said.

Mulcair also said the killing requires "a full analysis" on whether it was self-defence or a direct killing because "that has to do with American law and international law as well."

"I think that if the Americans have taken pictures in that circumstance, it won't be able to prove very much as to whether Mr. [bin Laden] was holding a weapon," he said.

Chris Alexander, newly elected Conservative MP and former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan, said there's no reason to doubt U.S. President Barack Obama's account of what happened.

"We've heard lots of people who are denying the facts in this case," Alexander said.

"It's an insult to everyone's intelligence to propagate that kind of conspiracy. We have seen the president of the United States ... give a very compelling account of what this mission was about, what the result was. I don't think anyone has any reason to doubt the veracity of that."

NDP foreign affairs critic weighs in

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said the party does not doubt the U.S. government has photos.

"We have no reason to doubt the veracity of President Obama’s statement," Dewar wrote in an emailed statement.

"I understand that the U.S. government has photos, but decided not to release them as they do not want them used as trophies. This is a legitimate concern. We agree these types of photos shouldn’t be used as propaganda tools.

"As in all cases, the public’s right to know must be balanced with public safety concerns."

Obama announced Sunday night that American forces had killed bin Laden after months of careful tracking. The U.S. government has photos but said it has decided not to release them because they're so inflammatory.

"There are sensitivities here in terms of the appropriateness of releasing photos of Osama bin Laden," White House press secretary Jay Carney told a press briefing Tuesday.

"It's fair to say that it's a gruesome photograph."