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

Friday, March 31, 2006

Enough is enough 
(en francais)

After I read this article yesterday, I spent most of the evening composing a reply in my head. I just couldn't quite settle on the words. Most times I was too angry and that bled through in my attempts. Trying to be rational in my approach didn't help much either.
A soldier comes home
But both the Bloc Quebecois and NDP said this latest death underscores the need for a full parliamentary debate on Canada's role in Afghanistan.
I was very happy this morning to come across Connie Woodcock's Toronto Sun piece. Connie takes us on a nostalgic tour of the Diefenbunker in Carp Ontario and then deftly brings us back to the present and reality. Her approach is somewhat calmer than what I had been contemplating, and for that reason, probably more effective.
Down in the 'Diefenbunker'
The Cold War, it occurred to me down in the bunker's dimly lit depths, wasn't so bad after all. No Canadian soldier died because of it. We've lost lots of soldiers over the years during peacekeeping missions -- in Cyprus, on the Golan Heights, in the former Yugoslavia -- and yet, until recently, we paid no attention. Ever heard of the Medac pocket? Probably not, but our soldiers witnessed bloody horrors there that we were never even told about at the time. Many Canadians suffer the delusion that peacekeeping is a nicer, safer, more honourable occupation than a soldier's normal job -- killing people.

But it hasn't been much protection for our forces.

More than 120 have been killed keeping the peace since the 1950s. We lost more than 20 in the former Yugoslavia alone --but if you remember hearing of even one, I'd be surprised. Now we're in a real war, the modern kind, that may drag on for years and soldiers are dying again. But things have changed -- for the first time in decades, our government is 100% behind its forces, and let's hope Canadians are too, for Afghanistan is a demonstration of the good we can do in a dangerous world.

All the above aside, I'm still left with the question - If Jack Layton and the NDP consider the current mission in Afghanistan to be so deserving of an emergency debate, then where were they in the period before the last government fell?

We've just spent one of the longest elections in Canadian history listening to the NDP tell us that they were the only ones to 'make Parliament work' in the last session, bringing in the "NDP budget". Their whole election strategy was based on the premise that they held the balance of power in the last parliament and Canadians needed to make sure that that was the case in this parliament.

If Jack Layton truly did wield this power, why did he not use it to force an emergency debate on Afghanistan BEFORE the troops actually deployed? From May to the fall of the government in November the NDP was virtually silent on the issue. While Jack Layton was busy extracting $4 billion in concessions from Paul Martin he couldn't spare the time to demand a debate that would cost nothing but time?

While the average Canadian can be excused for being confused about the details of the current Afghanistan mission, there's no excuse for MPs to claim the same.

Jack Layton misleads Canadians

Jack Layton and the NDP exposed

The time for debate on the current mission has long since past. The use of every soldiers injury or death to try and make the case for a debate you could have accomplished easily last year is nothing more than political partisanship at it's very worst.

We're there and we're committed. The mission has defined timelines.

If you wish a debate on extending those commitments, changing the goals of future missions, changing the Prime Minister's power to deploy forces or even the foreign policy that forms the basis of our deployments, those are all valid points and worthwhile debates. A knock down, gut-wrenching, no holds bar debate on the FUTURE role of Canada in Afghanistan, and elsewhere for that matter, is definitely called for. Leave nothing unsaid and let Canadians have no doubt where you stand.

You had your chance to debate this mission and the reasons for or against it, you chose not to use that chance.

Stop using our troops honourable and valiant service to score cheap political points.

Paul Synnott at 6:50 a.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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