The NDP and Afghanistan


I received a reply from Stephane Dion, Liberal Leader of the Opposition in the House Of Commons, 26 April, 2007. I had written to express my opposition to the Canadian combat role in Afghanistan.

In part, his reply stated that ” [u]nder [his] leadership. a Liberal government would retain the current number of Canadian troops until 2009 to honour the international obligation undertaken by Prime Minister Harper, but would review the current mission and reserve the option of re-deploying Canada’s combat task force to other under-resourced and critical foundations in Afghanistan…”

Typical Liberal fence sittting. Either the combat mission is wrong or it’s the right thing. The NDP has consistently opposed this war as being simply the wrong mission for Canadaian troops. This quote is the prime reason the NDP could not vote with the Liberals. The NDP introduced a motion of their own on 26 April, 2007 and a vote will be held on Monday, 30 April. The Liberals will likely vote with the Conservatives, thus showing their similarities to a party too much in tune with the Bush war-mongers.

Here is the NDP position:

Wed 25 Apr 2007 |

NDP tables opposition motion for safe and immediate withdrawal from Afghan combat role

OTTAWA – The NDP tabled a motion today to put an end to the counter-insurgency Afghanistan mission that the Liberals, Conservatives and Bloc Québécois want to last until 2009.

“The NDP motion, to be debated Thursday and voted on Monday, calls for an immediate safe and secure withdrawal of our troops from the counter-insurgency mission and to focus our assistance, not through counter-insurgency but through development and aid,” said NDP leader Jack Layton. “Both Liberals and Conservatives admit that the conflict in Afghanistan won’t be won militarily. We believe that two more years of participating in the wrong mission for Canada is two years too long.”

The NDP motion is consistent with the party’s position since the counter-insurgency mission began, unlike Liberal leader Stéphane Dion’s recent flip-flop on the issue.

“One year ago, Stéphane Dion voted against extending the mission in Afghanistan, on Tuesday he voted to extend it until 2009,” said Layton. “NDP MPs take their responsibility as Parliamentarians very seriously when we put young women and men in harm’s way. The question for the Liberals is simple: If the mission is wrong for Canada, why are they asking our brave men and women to participate in it two more years?”

The NDP’s motion re-iterates the NDP’s support for Canadian troops and calls on Canada to focus its efforts in assisting the people of Afghanistan by re-doubling its commitment to reconstruction and development.

What they’re saying

“The Liberals are saying the same thing that the Conservatives said last year. They have not called for the troops to be brought home. They are supporting the mission extension that Canadians oppose.”
Christine Jones, Co-Chair Canadian Peace Alliance

“What was Stéphane Dion thinking? The Liberal motion was uncritical of the military mission and supported its continuance unchanged, yet called for the government to notify NATO that our troops would be withdrawn from the combat mission in Kandahar when the current commitment ends in February 2009. There is something wrong inside the Liberal leadership to have so politically mishandled this motion.”
Steven Staples, Director Rideau Institute on International Affairs

“The motion proposed by the Liberal Party of Canada, asking the government to commit to withdrawing Canadian troops from Afghanistan in February 2009 and to immediately notify NATO, is nothing but a diversionary tactic […] a commitment of this kind, made two years in advance, will have no impact […] they are merely playing politics […] And we must not forget that it was the previous Liberal government that set Canadian’s foreign policy in this militaristic direction.” (translation)
Collectif Échec à la guerre

The wording of the motion:

(1) all Members of this House, whatever their disagreements about the mission in Afghanistan, support the courageous men and women of the Canadian Forces; (2) the government has admitted that the situation in Afghanistan can not be won militarily; (3) the current counter-insurgency mission is not the right mission for Canada; (4) the government has neither defined what ‘victory’ would be, nor developed an exit strategy from this counter-insurgency mission; therefore this House condemns this government and calls for it to immediately notify NATO of our intention to begin withdrawing Canadian Forces now in a safe and secure manner from the counter-insurgency mission in Afghanistan; and calls for Canada to focus its efforts to assist the people of Afghanistan on a diplomatic solution, and re-double its commitment to reconstruction and development.

© 2007 New Democratic Party of Canada, all rights reserved. Authorized by the registered agent for Canada’s NDP.

1 Comment

Filed under Afghanistan, Human Rights, NDP, Paul Chislett, Peace YES!, Politics, Terrorism, War is NOT the answer

One response to “The NDP and Afghanistan

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