Canadian Military Extension In Afghanistan Could Trigger Election
Afghanistan is a country in turmoil, and it seems setting Canadian soldiers on that hard soil has brought the unrest back to Canada. Prime Minister Harper confirmed today that the conservatives plan to put forward a confidence motion which would extend Canada's military aid in Afghanistan past the planned 2009 pull out.
With the current minority government and recent issues with Canada's ongoing role in Afghanistan, everything from the death of 57 Canadian soldiers so far, prisoner abuse after being transferred, to name just a few, this motion could easily trigger a federal election by spring.
The Conservative government confirmed Friday it will introduce a confidence motion to extend Canada's combat role in Afghanistan past February 2009, a move that could trigger a federal election.
"We believe the mission in Afghanistan should continue. It is why the motion seeking to continue the military mission will be a matter of confidence," Government House leader Peter Van Loan said Friday.
The motion, which calls for an extension to the mission for two years to February 2011, will be voted on in March. It will be partially based on the review of the Afghan mission prepared by a panel led by former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley.
A Liberal gamble: Stéphane Dion says he doesn't want to fight an election over Afghanistan. Neither does Stephen Harper. Does that mean it won't happen? Students of history will know that the last tsar of Russia didn't intend to go to war with Germany in 1914 but when he ordered a full mobilization, against all advice, the Kaiser responded with a declaration of war for which Russia was grossly unprepared. You can almost imagine the scene as Tsar Nicholas vacillated over his country's course of action: "Do you think it is easy to make priorities?" Mr. Dion may yet miscalculate and send the country sliding toward an election. He may even decide that Afghanistan is a potential vote winner for the Liberals. That is certainly Mr. Harper's impression and there are genuine fears in government circles that the Liberals could indeed pick up support if they run a campaign in opposition to extending the current mission.
text of the motion
Government Motion - Seeking to Continue the Mission in Afghanistan
That, whereas the House recognizes the important contribution and
sacrifice of Canadian Forces and Canadian civilian personnel as part of
the UN mandated, NATO-led mission deployed in Afghanistan at the
request of the democratically elected government of Afghanistan;
whereas, as set out in the speech from the throne, the House does
not believe that Canada should simply abandon the people of Afghanistan
after February 2009; that Canada should build on its accomplishments
and shift to accelerate the training of the Afghan army and police so
that the government of Afghanistan can defend its own sovereignty and
ensure that progress in Afghanistan is not lost and that our
international commitments and reputation are upheld;[/q]