From the left: Stephane Dion, Opposition Leader, Liberal Party of Canada; Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Bloc Québécois, and Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. (Photos: http://webinfo.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament)
Six more dead in Afghanistan. Canadians are dying, Afghan civilians are being bombed by Americans in their own homes…….and we are there to help them? The mess in Afghanistan is an American problem and where are they? Oh, yeah – bringing democracy to Iraq.
Wrong is wrong and these men could end the combat role of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan – now. Not in 2009 as Mr. Dion insists. Mr. Harper, with a majority, would have Canadian troops there indefinitely. Yet, together the opposition holds the balance of power in a minority government headed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
To quote Mr Layton in today’s Globe and Mail, he “… said Canada should pull out all its troops now and not wait until 2009. “The strategy we’re following is wrong; we should take our troops out,” Mr. Layton said, asserting that NATO’s presence in Afghanistan is only serving to increase civilian backing for the Taliban.””
Mr. Dion, however, in the same article, “… refused to consider an immediate pullout, saying that Canada should stick to its international commitments…”
Mr. Dion is simply wrong. I wrote a letter to Mr. Dion to express why I thought he is wrong. I called for a compromise position to be sought, not because I am wishy-washy, but because I know that egos are involved here and no party leader wants to be seen as “backing down”. I truly believe Canadians are willing to appreciate a politician who could admit a mistake has been made. Canadians could warm to politicians that are able to park their egos and say a mistake has been made. Americans, for instance, are starving to hear that from many Democrats who backed George Bush’s illegal war.
So, while I didn’t suggest a timetable, I certainly believe we could be out of there by the end of this year spare the lives of the next wave of troops, scheduled to deploy in Afghanistan. For what it is worth here is the letter:
July 5, 2007
Hon. Stéphane Dion
House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario
Dear Mr. Dion,
The Canadian combat operations in Afghanistan are clearly in a shambles. To allow our men and women to simply get blown up while riding in anything from armoured vehicles to light “four wheelers”, while nothing really changes in the country, is tantamount to a dereliction of duty on the part of all politicians.
Jack Layton and the NDP have called for the immediate removal of Canadian troops from a combat role. Is it because they can’t stomach battle? Is it because Canadians and the NDP are “weak”? I think not. It is because the NDP knows that the war in Afghanistan is a sham that your party was involved in, to appease the war criminals in the White House. You have an historic chance to change this. Many Canadians would welcome a politician who could say that this (or any policy) was a mistake and we have to fix it.
You can change this dreadful situation by working with the NDP to find a compromise position between a pull out now and a pullout in 2009. The position of the NDP is the honourable one because they are saying no more deaths now while you are saying; we can sacrifice more lives for George Bush’s criminal “war on terror”.
I ask that you immediately engage in discussions with Mr. Layton and Gilles Duceppe, come to a meaningful compromise, and then have Parliament recalled. You are wrong to say there will be no unanimity in the House of Commons. You have chosen to have no unanimity, and by so doing you are condemning Canadians to more deaths and sorrow – while getting nothing done in Afghanistan.
Surely to God, you have more in common with the NDP and the Bloc, than with that “brain trust” in Mr. Harper’s caucus. Please endeavour to work with the other opposition parties, and force the arrogant and bull-headed Mr. Harper to recognize that as a minority leader, he is on the wrong side of public opinion on this issue.
cc: Jack Layton; Gilles Duceppe, Dr. Valerie Zawilski, Dawn Black, D. Marleau, R. Bonin.