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

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Liberals on Afghanistan 
(en francais)

After reading Paul Stanway's article in yesterday's Edmonton Sun, "Calls for mission debate hypocritical", I thought it might be worthwhile to hunt down the Hansard for November 15th and see what our Liberal friends had to say about the Canadian deployment to Kandahar.

Stanway is right - Jack Layton didn't deem the debate important enough to show up. Now that the troops have been deployed and are engaged in carrying out their mission, he seems to have had a change of heart. Oh yeah, that other thing too. Since he's no longer propping up the Liberals a debate and unprecedented vote is now appropriate.

38th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION
EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 150


CONTENTS
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Canada's military mission in Afghanistan
(House in committee of the whole on Government Business No. 21, Mr. Chuck Strahl in the chair)

The tragedy of September 11, 2001, proved to Canadians that we are vulnerable to the threats of terrorism and the spillover effect from failed and failing states. In today's increasingly interdependent world, domestic security is closely linked to events happening outside our borders. That is why the Government of Canada has made a commitment to respond to a potential threat to Canadian security before it reaches our shores. That is why we are in Afghanistan.
Mr. Anthony Rota (Nipissing—Timiskaming, Lib.)

There is no question that important progress has been made. Afghanistan is on the road to recovery. The challenge now is to ensure momentum continues. We will work with Afghanistan and our international partners to consolidate and build on the achievements of the last four years.

An example of this is the recent deployment of Canada's provincial reconstruction team to Kandahar. In order to respond to the multifaceted and complex nature of reinforcing the authority and building the capacity of the Afghan government in Kandahar, the provincial reconstruction team brings together Canadian Forces personnel, civilian police, diplomats and aid workers in an innovative and integrated Canadian effort of the three Ds of diplomacy, defence and development.

With the provincial reconstruction team and the February 2006 deployment of a 1,500 strong task force and brigade headquarters, Canada has positioned itself to play a leadership role in southern Afghanistan and provide an enabling environment for Afghanistan's institutional and economic development.
Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)


I am not saying we are going to be in Afghanistan anything like 10 years, but I hope the hon. member would agree with me that we must remain there long enough at least allow President Karzai's government to have control over the situation in that own country. If we do not pacify that region and if we do not deal with that particular region, the chances of stabilization in Afghanistan will never take place. That is obviously the strategic reason that caused us to go there and we will discuss that further in the debate tonight.
Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

There are additional risks in Kandahar. They all knew it. They were trained superbly. I personally found their standing orders a little on the aggressive side from my Canadian perspective here as a member of Parliament; I do not have to live with the kinds of risks that our soldiers do. But those standing orders seem to work and they appear to be working very well.

In closing, let me say that those soldiers carry with them our hopes and aspirations as Canadians. I want to say that we are not going to let the terrorists take away the freedom that the Afghans have now. We are not going to do that. Even more than that, looking here from Canada, we can never let the terrorists take away the freedom that we have as Canadians here and the freedoms that we expect here and abroad.
Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.)


I come back to what I said at the start. It all begins with defence. Going there and providing some stability is essential. Once there is stability, development can occur and progress follows. In Afghanistan the difference it makes can be seen. I think the three Ds happen all at once in places all over in Afghanistan, wherever our forces have been.
Mr. Anthony Rota (Nipissing—Timiskaming, Lib.)

This is a critical time when we actually have to maintain a sustained effort and support the work for the long term so that it becomes a permanent part of Afghan life. This is where it is most important. I find sometimes we move out of situations a little too soon. We think we have accomplished peace because we have stopped either the killing or the violence in the short term but that does not give the long term stability that is needed. I could mention a couple of other places where I have been where that may have happened.

I would encourage us all to keep focused on the long term because that is where the results and the gains will be made.
Hon. Maria Minna (Beaches—East York, Lib.)


The hon. member knows full well the inability of citizens and civilians in areas that have failed or are failing to get access to basic health care and basic services. If our military were not there with other coalition forces, would the people in Afghanistan, particularly in areas outside the major centres, have access to basic medical care and basic nutrition that is essential for them to survive, for their children to have proper nutrition so they can think and go to school, and for women to have children with normal birth weights as opposed to low birth weight infants and high infant mortality and morbidity statistics?

Is not the reason that our forces are there is to provide security on the ground so the people of Afghanistan will be able to build a structure and they will be able to take charge of their country in a secure environment and be able to provide the basic needs that any stable country requires?
Hon. Keith Martin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)


Tonight, as we all go home to sleep in our safe beds without major worries, our soldiers will be going to bed in Kandahar and other peacekeeping missions around the world not knowing whether they will rise in the morning.

As civilians, we cannot imagine the type of pressure this must put on these young men and women who are fighting for us. We may wonder why, when we talk to veterans, they do not talk much about the situation. We could not possibly understand. We, who have touched with the tip of our finger quicksand, cannot possibly understand the feeling of soldiers who have been immersed up to their necks for days on end and on the verge of losing everything.
Hon. Larry Bagnell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)

Paul Synnott at 8:35 AM    | en francais | Go to Top|


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