TORONTO – Canadian Conservative Party leaders on Saturday ripped Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the condolence message he sent following the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
The Canadian leader said in his condolence statement that his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, considered Castro “a friend.”
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.” Trudeau said in a statement. “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. 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 criticize Trudeau.
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 in a Facebook post.
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 Twitter post.
Lisa Raitt, another Conservative leadership hopeful, said in a Facebook post that “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 apologize.”
Trudeau said in his condolence message that “while a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’”