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

Friday, May 19, 2006

Spin Cycle: Polaris and CP News - Part Two 
(en francais)

Much as I expected when I blogged yesterday's Spin Cycle, the left-wing Polaris Institute's report, Boots on the Ground: Canadian Military Operations in Afghanistan and UN Peacekeeping Missions. By Bill Robinson, May 17, 2006.(pdf) was used by various opposition members in Wednesday's Afghanistan debate.

Take one disingenuous and misleading report, add a Polaris press release CP news story repeated in various quarters and suitable quotes from MPs in the house - what do you get?

More misleading information in the public realm about our Forces and the mission in Afghanistan. Note how the NDP is already falling back on the old tried and true 'let's spend those billions of dollars elsewhere'. Thirty years of that mantra from successive governments, with vigorous support from the NDP, is what got the military in the condition it's in today.

Makes me wonder why we pay for a research bureau for the NDP and Liberals. Is fact checking a lost art in Ottawa, or do we just assume everything published by the Polaris Institute is a non-partisan, balanced fact?

From Dawn Black, the NDP Defence critic:
Hansard 17:25

We are also very concerned about the cost of this mission. By the time the current mission is complete in February 2007, it will have likely cost Canadians in excess of $5 billion. The Polaris Institute has estimated that a two year extension or a new mission would cost an additional $2 billion to $3 billion.

"We could provide a huge amount of reconstruction and humanitarian aid for $7 billion, not just in Afghanistan but also elsewhere. As I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, military force is a blunt, dangerous and expensive instrument. For $7 billion it is incumbent upon us as guardians of the public purse to confirm that there is no alternative to the counter-insurgency approach and to ensure that this is the right mission."

Denis Coderre, Liberal:

Hansard 18:20

"I am very proud that we are in Afghanistan, but we are told that the past four years have already cost us $4.1 billion. I am willing to make this investment and to see Canada continuing to work and provide support in this area. However, it seems only logical to also ask whether we have the tools we need to succeed."

Bonnie Brown, Liberal:

Hansard 18:30

"Talking about affordable, on the prudent use of financial resources, we know that we have already spent over $4 billion in Afghanistan since we first went there on our various missions. During the same period we spent only $214 million on UN operations. We know we have 2,300 troops in Afghanistan and only 59 abroad in UN operations."

I'm always extremely nervous when I hear the NDP saying things like the $7 billion could be better spent elsewhere. After a resurgence in support for the military, it didn't take too long for that familiar refrain to start appearing. The forces have experienced 35 years of "spend the money elsewhere" and can't afford anymore.

Paul Synnott at 2:41 a.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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