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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Bizarre claim in Sheila Copps article 
(en francais)

Unless the 'previous cabinet' she's referring to was Jean Chretien's and not Paul Martin's or she's the victim of some pretty dreadful editing, this claim is just bizarre.

Is she trying to say that the nature and scope of this mission has been changed by Prime Minister Harper and his cabinet? Either that, or she's accusing Paul Martin of changing the mission after receiving cabinet approval.

No matter how you slice it, the current deployment was authorized by the Liberal Government of Paul Martin, propped up by Jack Layton and the NDP. The statement is ambiguous and misleading.
Debatable Decision
Wed, March 15, 2006

On the other hand, taking over the U.S. mission in Kandahar represents new risks that were not present when the original mission was approved by the previous Liberal cabinet.

Maybe Sheila missed Bill Graham's appearance to a joint Defence/Foreign Affairs committe in May of 2005.
Speaking Notes for the Honourable Bill Graham, P.C., M.P. Minister of National Defence at a joint session of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Ottawa, Ontario - May 16, 2005

As an example of this comprehensive approach, I am pleased to advise the committee this morning that Canada is now preparing to assume a leadership role in paving the way for a secure, democratic and self-sustaining Afghanistan.

To that end, we will be expanding the scope of our military commitment in that country.

First, we will extend the mandate of our reconnaissance squadron already in Kabul until late this year. In doing so, we will be continuing to provide the International Security Assistance Force with valuable intelligence and situational awareness capabilities and we will help facilitate the Afghan election process.

Second, we will be deploying a Provincial Reconstruction Team to the city of Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan, for a period of about eighteen months beginning in August of this year.

This team will bring together approximately 250 Canadian military personnel, civilian police, diplomats, and aid workers to provide an integrated ‘3-D’ effort to reinforce the authority of the Afghan government in, and around, Kandahar and to assist in the stabilization of the region. This PRT will conduct security patrols, assist local reconstruction efforts, report on governance issues, and to facilitate reforms to the security sector.

Finally, in early 2006, we will be deploying an army task force of about 700 Canadian Forces members and a brigade headquarters of approximately 300 military personnel to Kandahar for a period of between nine and twelve months. These forces will conduct operations to strengthen the security situation in the country. They will also play a key role in completing the transition from Coalition to NATO leadership in Afghanistan.

We are still working out some of the specific details of our new contribution to Afghanistan with our allies and partners and other government departments. But, colleagues, this is a significant new commitment to Afghanistan and to the international campaign against terrorism. And it demonstrates, in a real and meaningful way, our willingness to play a leadership role in the world – the goal set out in our international policy statement.
Camp Julien was officially closed and handed over to the Afghans in November of 2005 as the Canadians finalized their shift to Kandahar and prepared for the deployment in 2006.

A concise military backgrounder can be found here:

Canadian Forces Operations in Afghanistan
- BG–06.003 - February 28, 2006

The current mission is a UN sanctioned (pdf), NATO led effort.

Hair-splitting on the atomic level would have to be employed along with a judicious helping of pretzel logic to somehow justify Copps' statement. More likely, this is part of a popular theme these days, the attempt to paint Stephen Harper as some sort of George Bush lackey or George Bush lite. While the statement is only one small part of an article that I would classify as relatively positive in most respects towards Harper, it's insinuation is too great to let slide.

WE Speak at 5:32 a.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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