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August1991

Harper's Comment on Afghanistan: Out in Feb 2009?

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The G & M titled it: Troops won't stay unless all parties agree, PM says

But this is what the Globe reported that Harper said:

“This mission will end in February, 2009,” Mr. Harper said Friday at a rare House of Commons news conference held to mark the end of the spring sitting.

“Should Canada be involved militarily after that date, we have been clear that would have to be approved by the Canadian Parliament. From my personal perspective, I would want to see some degree of consensus around that. I don't want to send people into a mission if the opposition at home is going to undercut the dangerous work that they're doing in the field.”

...

Mr. Harper said he believes the opposition leaders, particularly Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe, are open to some form of development role being played by Canada when the soldiers return home.

“I don't think they are suggesting, based on recent comments, that we would simply abandon Afghanistan in 2009,” he said, “so I hope that some time in the next few months we will be able to get a meeting of the minds on what the appropriate next steps are.”

A month ago in Afghanistan, Mr. Harper told members of the Canadian Forces that Canada “can't set arbitrary deadlines and hope for the best. … We can't just put down our weapons and hope for peace.”

A consensus in the House does not mean a unanimous vote, and it doesn't mean all parties agree.

Here is how the CBC reported this:

"I will want to see some degree of consensus among Canadians on how we move forward on that," Harper told reporters Friday in Ottawa.

"I don't want to send people on a mission if the opposition is going to, at home, undercut the dangerous work they're doing in the field."

The 2009 deadline was set in May 2006, when the Conservatives announced a vote on a two-year extension for the mission and, a few days later, squeezed it through Parliament in a vote of 149-145.

But Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has since made it clear that his party will oppose any extension of the mission beyond February 2009.

It is wrong to say that Harper wants all party approval. But what constitues "consensus" of Canadians or in Parliament?

Does Harper mean that he expects the support of the Official Opposition? If so, is Harper setting a trap for Dion?

It was the Liberals under Chretien who initially chose to undertake this mission and this mission is under the auspices of NATO respecting our treaty obligations. To renege on this now would be a serious change to Canada's long term foreign policy.

----

I'm tempted to think that there is nothing really new here. We have always known that to extend the Afghan mission beyond February 2009 would require a vote of Parliament.

Perhaps Harper is simply reminding everyone that, in his view, it is not helpful to criticize blandly this mission.

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It is wrong to say that Harper wants all party approval. But what constitues "consensus" of Canadians or in Parliament?
Harper is signally that he is not willing to hang his party's fortunes on the issue. He might like the troops to say but he is not willing to be the only party in parliment that supports the mission.

The NDP and the BQ will never support and extension so Harper is obviously trying to force the Liberals to take a firm stand on the issue.

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Harper was merely stating the obvious - without the support of either the Liberals or BQ there can be no successful house vote on extending the mission. He may also be trying to put pressure on our "allies" to do something about the lack of support we're getting from them. I don't think saying it's someone else's turn in line and that we should rotate with the French or Germans to one of the quieter districts is reneging on our treaty obligations. Why should the goodamn Germans and Italians and French sit on their asses in the north doing nothing while we take on the hard roles? On the other hand, if someone wants to provide us with helicopter support so we don't have to keep running those dangerous convoy resupply routes - and take the casualties with them, and perhaps back us up in other ways, this might allow the Liberals to vote to extend the mission in the south. Who knows. The Liberals will vote whatever way they believe will favour them politically.

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The question is, which of Harper's statement is the truth? He told the troops they would probably be staying there beyond Feb.'09 and then he says they may not be, at least in the form of the way they are now. I say, Harper is doing it again, campaigning and lessons from the past say HE can't be trusted in what he says!! I've heard journalist who have been over there for sometime say that NATO should be out by the Feb'09 or we are going to be in the same situation the world has in Iraq! Once the US and Britain pulls out or down sizes in Iraq, the war will shift to Afghanistan and then we will be losing our soldiers in record numbers. The President is getting more angry with NATO, especially the US for their bombing that are taking out civilians and this is how the US got into trouble in Iraq , when the civilians turned against them. There is ALOT to think about and if we don't and if Harper doesn't, then he will be responsible for the troops we lose!

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We have made a committment to this mission until February, 2009. We are obligated to tell NATO of our intentions 6 months before that date - roughly September, 2008. We should give ourselves 6 months prior to that date to discuss and debate our follow-on role - that debate should start in February 2008. Instead, the opposition has been criticizing the mission and our role ever since the Conservatives came to power - even though the Liberals sent us there in the first place. This criticism displays itself in different flavours, from the NDP's "get out now - abandon NATO and Afghanistan" to the Liberals ambiguous "no more combat as of Feb. 2009"....and who really cares about the Bloc. We should support the mission until it's time to debate it - anything less disrespects our military and gives encouragement to the Talban that we are soft - kill a few more and they'll go home.

Harper has always said that any extension will require a vote - perhaps that fell short of a consensus. Now he's upgrading that to a consensus. What would you have him do? Spell out exactly how many votes are required for a consensus? What excactly does "consensus" mean in terms of the current makeup of Parliament? We all know that the NDP simply want to bring all the troops home. The Bloc is not that far behind. Those parties are ideologically motivated. The Liberals will have to come to an agreement with the Conservatives based on principle - not on politics. I believe that in reality, Canada will be asked to continue to play a major role but we'll be able to negotiate a much reduced combat role - perhaps creating a 50/50 or 40/60 split between combat and safer reconstruction and training in the North - and as long as progress is being made, that might be a reasonable approach.

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Reading the polls again, eh Steve?

Being realistic.

Why push an agenda that has no chance of winning?

To win a moral victory and allow the corrupt Liberals back in power.

He is truly acting in the best interest of Canadians by stayin in power.

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Instead, the opposition has been criticizing the mission and our role ever since the Conservatives came to power - even though the Liberals sent us there in the first place. This criticism displays itself in different flavours, from the NDP's "get out now - abandon NATO and Afghanistan... We all know that the NDP simply want to bring all the troops home. The Bloc is not that far behind. Those parties are ideologically motivated.

No, actually, we ALL do not know that, as that presentation of what is going on with the NDP 's positions is incorrect.

First off, the NDP started criticizing before the CPC came to power back in 2005, with Martin at the helm. They have remained consistent for well over 2 years. In the meantime, because of both the Liberals and the CPC, there are scores of young Canadians dead and diasabled.

The New Democratic Party opposes sending more Canadian troops to Afghanistan at this time.

We appear to be drifting from our original mission there – which was to provide security in the capital region – and into a combat role side-by-side with American troops.

We must not drift into a war blindly or secretly, on the say-so of one man – Mr. Martin.

If Paul Martin wants to involve Canada directly in a war in Afghanistan, then he must spell out what our goals are, what our commitments will be, and when and how we will get out.

http://www.ndp.ca/page/2061

Last week Dawn Black, tabled The Oppositions Report on Afganistan by the NDP. And in it the NDP call for the withdrawl of the counter insurgency military personal, and end that mission. In it they support the other 2 missions of aide and reconstruction. Moreover, today NATO spoke out against the actions of the ISAF in killing the amount of civilans they have, NATO is not in agreement with US policies in Afghanistan.

On staying in Afghanistan to provide diplomacy, aide and reconstruction:

the reconstruction and development efforts that are led by Afghans and clearly separated from the counter-insurgency have been the most successful. The projects that have been overtaken by military strategy, or instrumentalized by NATO forces, have failed and/or put Afghan civilians and Canadian troops at risk...

In the view of the New Democratic Party, the military mission should be judged by its capacity to protect Afghans and decrease violence against them. Support for the establishment of a viable, law-abiding and civilian-controlled Afghan National Army should also be a central component of the mission’s effectiveness.

The diplomatic mission should be judged by its capacity to support, facilitate and catalyze efforts towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan. Specifically, the diplomatic mission should be measured by progress in building international momentum for comprehensive peace negotiations at three levels: within Afghanistan, with international players, and in the regional context. Such international momentum might take the form of a UN Security Council resolution, the appointment of a UN special envoy, and/or the establishment of a safe space for negotiations to occur...

On stopping the counter insurgency warfare and bring that portion of the military home:

In this context, the New Democratic Party believes that the safe and determined withdrawal of our troops from the counter-insurgency mission, in consultation with our allies, is now required.

The Conservative position is clear: they have an open ended commitment to whatever is requested by NATO or the United States regardless of the cost to members of the Forces and their families...

Many other NATO countries, mostly notably most of the European partners, have taken exception to the counter-insurgency mission and have shown no intention of participating.

Canada has wandered into an international conflict in the middle of Central Asia, with little control over the direction of the mission, or with much influence on its strategy...

In the meantime we should not ask the Canadian Forces to be sacrificed for a mission with no clear opportunities for success or completion.

http://www.ndp.ca/xfer/pdf/2007-06-19_Dissenting_Opinion.pdf

It is an extensive report which is full of information pertaining to all aspects of what our military is, or is not doing, in Afganistan. Plus what NATO is doing and Afghanistan and the plight of the women and children.

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In the view of the New Democratic Party, the military mission should be judged by its capacity to protect Afghans and decrease violence against them. Support for the establishment of a viable, law-abiding and civilian-controlled Afghan National Army should also be a central component of the mission’s effectiveness.
The fundamental problem of the NDP position, and this inconsistency is not lost on most voters, the NDP social positions supporting gays and women's rights require sometimes the use of force.

The NDP is all in favour of using police force to stop spousal abuse in Canada but it seems unwilling to use force to stop far more atrocious abuse in places like Afghanistan.

Harper has always said that any extension will require a vote - perhaps that fell short of a consensus. Now he's upgrading that to a consensus. What would you have him do? Spell out exactly how many votes are required for a consensus? What excactly does "consensus" mean in terms of the current makeup of Parliament? We all know that the NDP simply want to bring all the troops home. The Bloc is not that far behind. Those parties are ideologically motivated. The Liberals will have to come to an agreement with the Conservatives based on principle - not on politics. I believe that in reality, Canada will be asked to continue to play a major role but we'll be able to negotiate a much reduced combat role - perhaps creating a 50/50 or 40/60 split between combat and safer reconstruction and training in the North - and as long as progress is being made, that might be a reasonable approach.
I largely agree with your analysis, kiss.

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I think he's laying a trap for Dion. The campaign promise of unilateral disengagement worked wonders for McGovern, and in a conscript war. Imagine how well it will work for Dion in a volunteer army war?

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I think he's laying a trap for Dion. The campaign promise of unilateral disengagement worked wonders for McGovern, and in a conscript war. Imagine how well it will work for Dion in a volunteer army war?

This isn't the United States.

Even Tory support for the war according to the polls is waning.

http://www.edmontonsun.com/Comment/2007/06...286049-sun.html

Recent public opinion polls conducted by SES Research for Sun Media suggest Canadians in the majority have low expectations of achieving great things in Afghanistan, a high intolerance for body bags, and a growing desire to see our troops withdraw from combat duty by early 2009 as scheduled.

SES pollster Nik Nanos concludes that "Afghanistan has become a political quagmire for Stephen Harper; there is no easy way out.

"For most Canadians, it is really starting to sink in that Canada's objectives may not be achievable, so why are we making the ultimate sacrifices there?"

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I think he's laying a trap for Dion. The campaign promise of unilateral disengagement worked wonders for McGovern, and in a conscript war. Imagine how well it will work for Dion in a volunteer army war?

This isn't the United States.

Even Tory support for the war according to the polls is waning.

http://www.edmontonsun.com/Comment/2007/06...286049-sun.html

Recent public opinion polls conducted by SES Research for Sun Media suggest Canadians in the majority have low expectations of achieving great things in Afghanistan, a high intolerance for body bags, and a growing desire to see our troops withdraw from combat duty by early 2009 as scheduled.

SES pollster Nik Nanos concludes that "Afghanistan has become a political quagmire for Stephen Harper; there is no easy way out.

"For most Canadians, it is really starting to sink in that Canada's objectives may not be achievable, so why are we making the ultimate sacrifices there?"

None of these Canadians are seeing what's going on here, only the angle from the dimwitted Canadian press... They have not seen all the new construction, Khandahar skyline is dotted with cranes. Micro-loans, big thing here, really helping people. No, they just get the angle from the weak kneed dimwits who had us surrender even before we got here. Doing worthwhile things is HARD people, Vimy was HARD, Passchandale was HARD, Normandy was HARD!!! Having a country, and defending it is HARD!!!!

But what do I know, guess I wait for catchme's next post to see how things are here.......

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Why push an agenda that has no chance of winning?

To win a moral victory and allow the corrupt Liberals back in power.

I know. It really is silly to have principles and stuff when they don't get you elected. Election at all costs. Why? To feed party cronies or what?

He is truly acting in the best interest of Canadians by stayin in power.

What difference does it make when that requires being exactly like the Liberals we are suppose to fear?

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None of these Canadians are seeing what's going on here, only the angle from the dimwitted Canadian press... They have not seen all the new construction, Khandahar skyline is dotted with cranes. Micro-loans, big thing here, really helping people. No, they just get the angle from the weak kneed dimwits who had us surrender even before we got here. Doing worthwhile things is HARD people, Vimy was HARD, Passchandale was HARD, Normandy was HARD!!! Having a country, and defending it is HARD!!!!

But what do I know, guess I wait for catchme's next post to see how things are here.......

The blame for not communicating what is happening in Afghanistan rests solely with the Tories.

If they hang the "Gone Fishin'" sign up like last summer, there is really no way for people to know what is happening. They start to form their opinions based on what they do see.

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None of these Canadians are seeing what's going on here, only the angle from the dimwitted Canadian press... They have not seen all the new construction, Khandahar skyline is dotted with cranes. Micro-loans, big thing here, really helping people. No, they just get the angle from the weak kneed dimwits who had us surrender even before we got here. Doing worthwhile things is HARD people, Vimy was HARD, Passchandale was HARD, Normandy was HARD!!! Having a country, and defending it is HARD!!!!

But what do I know, guess I wait for catchme's next post to see how things are here.......

The blame for not communicating what is happening in Afghanistan rests solely with the Tories.

If they hang the "Gone Fishin'" sign up like last summer, there is really no way for people to know what is happening. They start to form their opinions based on what they do see.

Hi Jdobb,

I don't think the Tories control the CTV or CBC folks here. They might like too, but they don't.:):) These guys spend most of thier time looking for negitive stories, dirt. I eat with them... ;) Micro-loans, new buildings, busy markets, traffic jams, they don't sell commercial slots....

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I don't think the Tories control the CTV or CBC folks here. They might like too, but they don't.:):) These guys spend most of thier time looking for negitive stories, dirt. I eat with them... ;) Micro-loans, new buildings, busy markets, traffic jams, they don't sell commercial slots....

I'm not specifically referring to the stories that the media are reporting. I am talking about communication from the prime minister and ministers on what is happening in Afghanistan. When the PMO said next to nothing last summer, the media set the agenda when it came to how Afghanistan was viewed.

Hope the media doesn't make you choke on your soup, weaponeer. lol Almost no one likes how they report a story. It rarely seems like they get the whole thing.

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Hope the media doesn't make you choke on your soup, weaponeer. lol Almost no one likes how they report a story. It rarely seems like they get the whole thing.

Exactly why few of us have any respect for the so-called professional journalists.

Most go to school (or don't) to take an intelligent press release and dumb it down for the average man. Few actually think. Less even investigate anymore.

The respectable press is limited to a few select opinion peice writers... there isn't anything left in the media to respect in terms of news reporting anymore.

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The respectable press is limited to a few select opinion peice writers... there isn't anything left in the media to respect in terms of news reporting anymore.

It's a business. If as an owner, you can't shape the news the way you want to, what's the point of owning it?

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Weaponeer

None of these Canadians are seeing what's going on here, only the angle from the dimwitted Canadian press... They have not seen all the new construction, Khandahar skyline is dotted with cranes. Micro-loans, big thing here, really helping people. No, they just get the angle from the weak kneed dimwits who had us surrender even before we got here. Doing worthwhile things is HARD people, Vimy was HARD, Passchandale was HARD, Normandy was HARD!!! Having a country, and defending it is HARD!!!!

Got any proof of that? I would like to see pics and progress from Afghanistan. Where are they then? I recall my Uncle was there for a few months back in 2004-5, He said all he saw were tents. That is what his pictures showed as well. This was Kandahar. Might be different now, but let's see those cranes in action.!!

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In the view of the New Democratic Party, the military mission should be judged by its capacity to protect Afghans and decrease violence against them. Support for the establishment of a viable, law-abiding and civilian-controlled Afghan National Army should also be a central component of the mission’s effectiveness.
The fundamental problem of the NDP position, and this inconsistency is not lost on most voters, the NDP social positions supporting gays and women's rights require sometimes the use of force.

The NDP is all in favour of using police force to stop spousal abuse in Canada but it seems unwilling to use force to stop far more atrocious abuse in places like Afghanistan.

Oh come on, that summation is absolutely nonsensical. It was even a good sstrawman that you created to kick down. We were not in Afghanistan to make sure women were treated correctly, and in fact the ISAF has now killed so many innocent women that such a comment is exposed for the ridiculous nature of it, that it is, it it hadn't been from the moment you posted it..

The NDP has not been inconsistent in anyway shape or form, they have been quite clear stop the combat warfare, start aide and reconstruction, actually reading the Report would be a good thing, eh?

Here is the link again.

http://www.ndp.ca/page/5462

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The NDP has not been inconsistent in anyway shape or form, they have been quite clear stop the combat warfare, start aide and reconstruction, actually reading the Report would be a good thing, eh?

Here is the link again.

http://www.ndp.ca/page/5462

So you want them to build roads? Fine. They were building a road, it seems to me, a major road which would help the populace, and were immediately attacked.

Now, according to the NDP, what they were supposed to do then was run away, correct? Because if you don't run away, then it becomes ---- a combat mission --- and we can't have that, now can we?

So you want them to build roads and schools, but only if the Taliban says okay? And if anyone shoots at them they're to run away? Is that basically NDP policy?

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None of these Canadians are seeing what's going on here, only the angle from the dimwitted Canadian press... They have not seen all the new construction, Khandahar skyline is dotted with cranes. Micro-loans, big thing here, really helping people. No, they just get the angle from the weak kneed dimwits who had us surrender even before we got here. Doing worthwhile things is HARD people, Vimy was HARD, Passchandale was HARD, Normandy was HARD!!! Having a country, and defending it is HARD!!!!

But what do I know, guess I wait for catchme's next post to see how things are here.......

The blame for not communicating what is happening in Afghanistan rests solely with the Tories.

If they hang the "Gone Fishin'" sign up like last summer, there is really no way for people to know what is happening. They start to form their opinions based on what they do see.

I guess it depends which "press" you are talking about! I, for one, will believe the journalist who is over there like Arthur Kent and his website www.skyreporter.com whose website tells us exactly whats going on alot more than the black out pages that MckAY is producing! You can ask him any question on Afghanistan and the war, NATO, the people. You can also read questions the Afghanis ask him too!

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Here is the link again.

http://www.ndp.ca/page/5462

I first read the resume linked above but now I read quickly through the NDP's report itself. It says:

While the primary victims of insecurity in Afghanistan are Afghans themselves, and this insecurity is undermining the rebuilding of Afghan society, it is our conviction that the current military-focused counter-insurgency strategy will not solve Afghanistan’s security problems.

Afghans need a resolution to the war and sustained support to peacefully rebuild their society, not more warriors. Rather than fighting the growing insurgency with weapons, Canada should work for practical solutions to end the violence.

Well, I agree. The Afghans need a resolution to the war. But what practical solutions does the NDP suggest? The NDP suggests that we withdraw our troops.

I have nothing against pacificists as long as it is clear what the consequences of pacifism are.

The NDP report has the gall to call for the withdrawal of our troops and then to state:

Afghan women are not being adequately protected or supported by the international military presence in their country. Women’s rights have not been made a central priority by either the new Afghan government, or the broader

international community in Afghanistan.

If our troops withdraw, Afghan women won't be given any priority at all.

----

You can't argue for the individual's freedom to choose - which is at the heart of the NDP's positions on gay rights and feminism - and then not be willing to defend that freedom. The whole idea of a women's shelter is that it provides a safe place.

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What 'mission' is being referred to here?

As I understand it, Canada has committed to a combat role until February 2009 in Afghanistan.

I was not aware that the presence of Candian troops in Afghanistan overall had any end date.

And I agree with whomever surmised that Harpers statements contain nothing new, just a reiteration of previous commitments and comments.

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None of these Canadians are seeing what's going on here, only the angle from the dimwitted Canadian press... They have not seen all the new construction, Khandahar skyline is dotted with cranes. Micro-loans, big thing here, really helping people. No, they just get the angle from the weak kneed dimwits who had us surrender even before we got here. Doing worthwhile things is HARD people, Vimy was HARD, Passchandale was HARD, Normandy was HARD!!! Having a country, and defending it is HARD!!!!

But what do I know, guess I wait for catchme's next post to see how things are here.......

The blame for not communicating what is happening in Afghanistan rests solely with the Tories.

If they hang the "Gone Fishin'" sign up like last summer, there is really no way for people to know what is happening. They start to form their opinions based on what they do see.

I guess it depends which "press" you are talking about! I, for one, will believe the journalist who is over there like Arthur Kent and his website www.skyreporter.com whose website tells us exactly whats going on alot more than the black out pages that MckAY is producing! You can ask him any question on Afghanistan and the war, NATO, the people. You can also read questions the Afghanis ask him too!

Topaz,

No I am sorry, he does not know what is going on, just like the rest of the media he know's about 10 -20%. We are in a war, that means secrets. We do not and cannot tell the media about combat ops, they assume things, speculate but they do not know, sorry.

They are not in on the decision meetings, ops planning sessions. They do not get a daily and hourly SITREP. They are not in on it, sorry. I was involved in something the last few days that won't be reported, most likely ever, OPSEC/COMSEC. We cannot talk about the details, we tell the media/Canadian peole, we've told the enemy.....

When something works we keep it close hold, if something fails we keep that close hold as well. You don't want the enemy to see what is working and not working either.

I WW2 the generals and politicians were not talking to the media about D-Day until after it happened.... even then the FULL story has only really come out lately.....

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