Liberals taking Rideau Institute advice on Afghanistan?

April 18, 2007 at 9:11 pm 2 comments

You may recall, on Friday last week I sent a letter to all of the opposition party leaders asking them to use their upcoming opposition day motions to prompt a debate on the military mission in Afghanistan. The NDP called for an emergency debate on Monday, but it was rejected unfortunately by the speaker.

Today, Mr. Denis Coderre of the Liberal Party introduced a motion that is expected to be debated tomorrow, Thursday, April 19, 2007. The motion calls for the conclusion of Canadian combat operations in Southern Afghanistan at the end of the current commitment in February, 2009, and to notify NATO of this decision immediately.

We welcome Mr. Coderre’s motion, but we also have several concerns about the motion as it stands, and I am available to discuss them further.

Pertinent to this debate is the very sobering findings in the UN Secretary General’s report to the UN released only a few weeks ago. A Rideau Institute summary and link is here, and we have sent this information to all Members of Parliament.

Mr. Coderre’s motion, as it appears on the order paper, reads as follows:

April 17, 2007 — Mr. Coderre (Bourassa) — That, (1) whereas all Members of this House, whatever their disagreements may be about the mission in Afghanistan, support the courageous men and women of the Canadian Forces; (2) whereas in May 2006, the government extended Canada’s military commitment in Southern Afghanistan to February 2009; (3) whereas it is incumbent upon Canada to provide adequate notice to the other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of our intentions beyond that date; (4) whereas by February 2009, Canada’s military mission in Southern Afghanistan will represent one of the largest and longest military commitments in Canadian history; and (5) whereas Canada’s commitment to the reconstruction and security of Afghanistan is not limited to our combat operations in Southern Afghanistan; this House call upon the government to confirm that Canada’s existing military deployment in Afghanistan will continue until February 2009, at which time Canadian combat operations in Southern Afghanistan will conclude; and call upon the government to notify NATO of this decision immediately.


Entry filed under: Steven Staples.

Revealed: the Military’s Draft Counterinsurgency Operations Manual Afghanistan motion “a setback for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peggy Mason  |  April 19, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Those that say development cannot take place in Afghanistan without security are right.

    But the REAL issue is HOW to bring enough security to Southern Afghanistan so that meaningful development can take place.

    One thing is sure – the current war fighting strategy is failing utterly – it is bringing less, not more, security to ordinary Afghans and, as a result, more and more are turning to the Taliban as their only hope for a stable environment.

    The Liberal motion therefore should call for:

    – the end of any and all Canadian military commitments to Afghanistan NO LATER than February 2009
    – an IMMEDIATE change in the military strategy being followed under our current military commitment from warfighting to the Dutch defensive approach as an interim step while a new overarching political strategy can be developed under UN leadership; and
    – Canadian leadership in building support for the UN peacebuilding role under a respected international figure such as former UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhadir Brahimi
    – increased Canadian commitments to Afghanistan in the form of development assistance and police training beyond 2009 (as resources are freed up with the end of our military commitment).

    President Karzai has been trying for some time to open a political negotiation and local ISAF and US commanders have been doing the same. This piecemeal effort must be replaced by a comprehensive negotiation under UN leadership, focusing not only on the internal political process in Afghanistan but encompassing all the neigbouring countries – Pakistan, India, Iran – that must be part of the solution.

    The entire history of civil wars since the end of the Cold war demonstrates that this is the only effective way to end the conflict. Political problems are at the heart of the Afghan conflict and these problems must be addressed. Only then can the extremists and spoilers be dealt with because everyone else will be on the inside of the political process. Only then, can the military mission focus on stabilizing the environment and providing real security for ordinary Åfghans.

    The approach to conflict resolution that I have described above was widely accepted by the international community until the attacks on the USA on September llth 2001. Then the USA tried another approach – regime change through military force. And the world has seen the spectacular failure of this utterly misguided approach in Iraq. Well the current ISAF mission in Southern Afghanistan, under USA pressure, has turned into “Iraq lite”, with the NATO-led forces seeking, through combat, to shore up a deeply unpopular central government.

    While General Hillier was busy declaring that UN peacekeeping was dead, it was evolving into a sophisticated robust mechanism to support an equally sophisticated overarching political strategy for building a sustainable peace in countries like Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In none of these cases is it an easy or short-term or risk-free process, but at least the trend in every case is towards more, not less, security.

    The British spent many, many years fighting the IRA by military means and vowing they would never negotiate with terrorists who only had the support of a tiny percentage of the population.

    In the end, they negotiated a political settlement. There is no other way.

  • […] 25th, 2007 All of the news media is reporting the result of last night’s vote on the Liberal motion on Afghanistan: It was defeated with 150 opposed and 134 in […]


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