Canada’s Afghan mission to end in 2009?

Lawrence Martin thinks he detects a shift in the position of the Government of Canada. From the print edition of yesterday’s Globe and Mail:

At a press conference Friday, Stephen Harper declared he would seek an all-party consensus before extending the combat mission in Afghanistan. Make no mistake: These were code words for the end of our war mission. [Because the opposition parties will never agree to extend the mission.] He was essentially saying that in a year and a half, other North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners can take their turn at the combat role. Canada will refocus on its humanitarian role.

It’s one of the smarter things the Prime Minister has done in a while — and it will win him public favour. According to polls, two-thirds of Canadians want the combat role to end in February, 2009. But Mr. Harper and Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor had been stubbornly suggesting that the fighting could go on for years. …

On the matter of war, the Canadian people have demonstrated good judgment. In signalling to Jean Chrétien’s government that they did not wish to join the invasion of Iraq, they made the right call. Mr. Harper and his Conservative flock were leaning the other way. In Afghanistan, a similar scenario looked to be taking shape. The public, the Liberals and the other opposition parties wanted to adhere to the 2009 deadline. Not so the Harperites. …

Canadians aren’t quitters. They don’t want an immediate withdrawal. But they feel that by 2009, they will have done their part.

Will any of our NATO partners step forward to do their part? I doubt it. We’ve made overtures before, without finding any takers.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. unitedcats
    Jun 26, 2007 @ 22:27:56

    Sad thing is, volunteering to help out in Afghanistan was a clever move at the time, because it got Canada out of Iraq. Putting the warlords back in power who lost Afghanistan to the Taliban in the first place pretty much doomed the whole mission from the get go. Canada didn’t make this mess, and they’ve certainly done more than their fair share. —Doug


  2. Bill
    Jun 27, 2007 @ 10:08:40

    So if the opposition parties want to force a non-confidence vote they have a year and a half to do so, before the Harper government claims this as a conservative victory.

    The claim in 2009 will be we finished the job and left as planned, not we felt so much pressure we were forced to step back.

    And given that government BS is usually accepted by the masses, the conservatives will be seen as having won the day. So, Dion and cohort should get their collective butts in gear and force an election.


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