Canadian Politician, Thomas Mulcair: Shooter was a criminal, not a terrorist.
The shooter in last week's deadly attack in Ottawa was a criminal, but not a terrorist — according to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
"I don't think we have enough evidence to use that word," Mulcair said at the end of an emotional party caucus meeting Wednesday, one week after Michael Zehaf Bibeau opened fire on a soldier and then on security guards just outside the government and Opposition caucus meeting rooms.
"When you look at the history of the individual involved, you see a criminal act, of course," he added.
"But . . . I think that we're not in the presence of a terrorist act in the sense that we would understand it."
Mulcair's comments were met with immediate condemnation from Conservatives and the leader of the Liberal party.
"The RCMP was clear, these were acts of terrorism, (so) these were acts of terrorism," said Justin Trudeau.
"It's ridiculous," added Conservative MP Peter Kent.
"It was clearly an act of terror (based on) his background and motivation. RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson's remarks about his motivation I think are very clear."
The remark re-emphasized a stark ideological divide in the House of Commons about how to react to the deaths of two Canadian soldiers last week.
Mulcair said it's obvious that Zehaf Bibeau had mental issues, and that his actions in killing a soldier at the National War Memorial and firing on security on Parliament Hill were reprehensible.
But Mulcair said the latest information about the lone shooter indicates he should be defined merely as a criminal.
He later seemingly clarified his comments in the House of Commons, referring to the differences between a criminal act carried out by someone with a history of mental issues and an act of terror carried out by an "organized" individual or group.
Still, Wednesday's message was a carry-over from earlier in the week, when Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney warned that, while the government doesn't want to over-react to last week's events, it's time to stop "under-reacting" to the threat of terrorism.
Canada's Criminal Code defines terrorism as an act committed "in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause" with the intention of intimidating the public.
MPs of all stripes were reflective Wednesday on the events of a week ago as they attended their regularly-scheduled party meetings with some saying they were having a difficult day recalling the mayhem.
The NDP brought a counsellor into the party's caucus room, just in case anyone wanted to talk about the trauma they experienced.