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Selinger blasts Harper for saying Fontaine murder not indicative of larger issue

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OTTAWA – Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger was seething Friday over comments made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismissing any suggestion the murder of a Manitoba teenager was indicative of a wider social ill.

Selinger didn’t even wait to be asked about the comments Friday before he launched into a short but icy response to what Harper said.

"It’s not just a crime," Selinger said. "It’s a situation that speaks to who we are as citizens and how we treat each other."

He was at least the second premier to blast Harper for statements made Thursday in which Harper dismissed a call for a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women.

"I think we should not view this as a sociological phenomenon," Harper said, when asked about an inquiry in the wake of the murder of 15-year-old Sagkeeng teenager Tina Fontaine.

He said her death is a crime and the police are the ones who will investigate. A national inquiry is not needed, he said, because there is not a single thread tying together the stories of hundreds of aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered in Canada.

"There has been a very fulsome study of this particular, of these particular things," Harper said. "They’re not all one. They’re not all one phenomenon."

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne also criticized Harper Friday, calling his statements "outrageous."

All of Canada’s premiers joined forces last summer to call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. Analyses have shown upwards of 1,000 women have met a violent fate in the last 50 years, including more than 100 in Manitoba.

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