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

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Layton spins yet again 
(en francais)

Welcome to the continuing saga of Jack Layton trying to justify his calls for an emergency debate on Afghanistan. The shame of this is that the MSM simply publishes his statements as fact and doesn't see fit to question anything. Has anyone in the MSM noticed his shifting justifications for the debate? I'll make it simple:

1. In the period from May to November 2005 there was not one call for debate on Afghanistan from Mr. Layton and the NDP. This period happens to coincide with the time that the NDP was propping up Paul Martin's minority government. A 'Take Note' debate held on Afghanistan was attended by two NDP MPs, neither of which was Jack Layton.

2. December 8th, 2005 - Jack Layton issues a statement during the election that infers that this is the first time the NDP has heard of a 'new' deployment to Afghanistan.

3. March 25th, 2006 - Jack Layton attempts to continue the myth that December 8th was news to the NDP and introduces another justification - the phantom "secret prisoner handover agreement".

4. March 31st, 2006 - a soldiers death in combat now seems to be justification for the debate.

This brings us to Mr. Layton's latest:
Afghanistan debate needed, Layton says
TERRY WEBER
Globe and Mail Update

"“Canadians support our soldiers over there, and their bravery, and their commitment to this country, but they also want to know that their elected representatives have thought it through,"” Mr. Layton said.

Such a debate, he said, would give Canadians more information on issues such as the cost and nature of the mission and how long Canadians can expect to remain in the war-torn country.

"These are important matters, and really should be top of mind and the first items debated in the House,"” he said.
Now the issues are 'clarification' and 'cost'. No mention of the 'secret' prisoner transfer agreement, surprise deployment or combat deaths as justification.

Layton continues to try and reframe the issue to obtain a favourable image for his party. NDP Defence Critic Bill Blaikie was quite clear in the November debate:
This is certainly not peacekeeping. It might be called peace building, but it is more like war fighting. It is more like fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda and trying to maintain that state which has been established in the wake of the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban regime through the military activities of a coalition of the willing, of which Canada was a part. I do not think we have paid sufficient attention to the departure or the significance of the change in the role of the Canadian military that our activity in Afghanistan represents.
Hon. Bill Blaikie (Elmwood—Transcona, NDP)
Quite simply, Jack Layton and the NDP dropped the ball in their opposition to the current Afghanistan deployment. From May to December of 2005 they remained virtually silent on the issue. There didn't seem to be an concerns of cost regarding the mission when the NDP was negotiating the extra $4.5 billion in spending from Paul Martin's minority government.

If there are any lingering issues regarding clarity about this mission, now would be a good time for Mr. Layton to step forward and acknowledge his part in fostering confusion.

The Conservative Party was on record as supporting this deployment. They focused their efforts during the last session on ensuring that the troops being deployed were doing so with the required equipment to fulfill their role.

The NDP's continuing calls for an 'emergency debate' on Afghanistan are nothing more than an attempt to cover up their own inaction on the issue during the past Parliament.

The first Question Period of the 39th Parliament begins tomorrow. If Jack Layton truly wants answers his two first questions should be regarding cost and time of deployment. They are valid questions and I would expect the Defence Minister to do his utmost to answer them. My guess is that his question will be something along the lines of "Why won't the government have a debate?". For once I hope I'm wrong, but I won't exactly be holding my breath.

An emergency debate is not required on Afghanistan, especially when the sole purpose seems to be to salve the conscience of the NDP for their past failings.

Paul Synnott at 7:00 AM    | en francais | Go to Top|


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