There's an unwritten rule in politics that when a tragedy occurs, opposition parties withhold their judgement and/or criticisms of the government.
They do that out of respect to the victims' families and so to ensure that the immediate focus is on recovery and clean-up efforts.
Both the Liberals and New Democrats did just that two weeks ago during the floods in Alberta.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, however, has deviated from this tongue-biting convention.
On Saturday — just hours after the deadly train derailment and subsequent fires in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec — Mulcair said it was "another case where government cost cutting in the wrong area."
"We are seeing more and more petroleum products being transported by rail, and there are attendant dangers involved in that. And at the same time, the Conservative government is cutting transport safety in Canada, cutting back the budgets in that area," Mulcair said according to CTV News.
"When we have a discussion about these things in the coming months or years let’s remember this day. We are watching a magnificent little village being burned to the ground by toxic products that were being transported through it."
On Sunday evening, PMO Director of Communications Andrew MacDougall took to Twitter to voice his displeasure at the opposition leaders' comments.
RE: http://t.co/RfFhm5Pbf9 The people of Lac Megantic have experienced an unspeakable tragedy and we do not yet know its cause. 1/2
— Andrew MacDougall (@PMO_MacDougall) July 8, 2013
It is grossly inappropriate for Mr. Mulcair to put politics ahead of the people of Lac Megantic. (2/2) — Andrew MacDougall (@PMO_MacDougall) July 8, 2013
Former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae also weighed-in.
Tom Mulcair blaming Harper for the tragedy at Lac Megantic is a new low. And as you know, I'm no fan of Mr Harper's politics. #cdnpoli
— Bob Rae (@BobRae48) July 7, 2013
Journalists and pundits even got involved in the pile-on.
Mulcair trying to tie Harper to Rail Disaster showed once again he's the Anti-Layton-Missing the Human Touch — Charles Adler (@charlesadler) July 8, 2013
Holy Christ. This takes opportunism to new levels: Mulcair slams Harper over Lac-Megantic, blames rail cost-cutting http://t.co/yKRu264IH7
— Andrew Coyne (@acoyne) July 7, 2013
Were Mulcair's comments untimely and inappropriate?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)
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