Conservatives rip Trudeau over Castro condolence message

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Toronto, Nov 27 (IANS) Canadian Conservative Party leaders have ripped Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the condolence message he sent following the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro.

The Canadian leader, following Fidel Castro’s death on Friday night at the age of 90, said in his condolence statement on Saturday that his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, considered Castro “a friend”, EFE news reported.

“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today (Saturday) of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President,” Trudeau said.

“Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.”

Kellie Leitch, one of the members of parliament vying for the Conservative Party’s leadership, took to social media to criticise Trudeau.

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The Prime Minister should have mentioned the Castro regime’s “brutal, oppressive, and murderous” history, rather than describing him “as if reading from a storybook”, Leitch said.

Maxime Bernier, another candidate for the Conservative Party leadership, took a similar position.

“I can’t believe our PM is expressing ‘deep sorrow’ and calling (Castro a) ‘legendary revolutionary’ and ‘remarkable leader’,” Bernier said in a tweet.

Lisa Raitt, another Conservative leadership hopeful, said: “Trudeau has placed himself on the wrong side of history — against the millions of Cubans yearning for freedom. The Prime Minister should be ashamed of himself. He must retract this statement and apologise.”

Trudeau said in his condolence message that “while a controversial figure, both Castro’s supporters and detractors recognised his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante’.”

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