Saturday, February 09, 2008

Um, Raphael? What the f...?

First, we need a brief historical refresher:

'Consensus' needed to extend Afghan mission: PM
Last Updated: Friday, June 22, 2007 | 2:25 PM ET
CBC News

The Conservative government will not extend Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan beyond February 2009 without a consensus in Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday.

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

And I think we all know how that "consensus" thing worked out:

Tories seek to extend Afghan mission to 2011 in confidence motion
Last Updated: Friday, February 8, 2008 | 1:18 PM NT
CBC News

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.

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, well ... let's let Blogging Tory Raphael Alexander take it from there:

I watched Peter Van Loan give his press conference on CBC Newsworld today, and when asked by a reporter whether the government supports an "open-ended" mission, he replied that talks with Mr.Stephane Dion specifically pointed to a definitive extension of two years. This means that any rhetoric involving an "open-ended" mission should cease, as the government is using a definitive date of February 2011 for the new withdrawal [or reassessment].

And when the Stephen Harper Party of Canada makes a promise, you can take that baby to the bank, right, Raph? Raph?


Red Tory said...

Personally, I think the NATO countries would be better if they just admitted this conflict is, in fact, “open-ended” and stop fooling around with these ridiculous two year mandates. They’re nothing but a pathetic sop to “democracy” but in no way reflect the actual nature or long-term scope of the engagement. In other words, they’re a fundamentally dishonest deception and a complete fraud on the people of the various countries involved. The U.S. and its allies have already been fighting in Afghanistan for longer than WWII lasted for goodness sake and despite all of the lives lost and the billions spent, the progress made to date has been pretty shoddy at best. Afghanistan is still the third poorest nation in the world, it’s not secure by any means, the Taliban doesn’t seem to have been beaten down in any significant way and the prospects for “victory” or success are dubious at best. Maybe if they actually admitted that this will take 25-30 years and set out what the investments of money/manpower will accordingly needed for such an enduring venture, people would have a proper choice about what’s actually involved instead of taking this “small-bore” approach of limping along from year to year and from one limited mandate to the next…

issachar said...

Where's the contradiction between promising not to extend the mission without parliamentary consensus and now making the extension a confidence issue?

The fact is that the mission will not be extended unless they get a majority vote authorizing that in parliament, and if you check the dictionary a majority vote in favour meets the definition of a consensus. Consensus can also mean "harmony in agreement", but I really don't think anyone expects harmony in parliament on this issue considering that the NDP and Block positions are irreconciliable with the Conservatives.

The Conservatives are being confrontational on this, and they've decided that this is something so important that they're willing to lose the government over it. If you think about it though, a confidence issue should be an important one with clear dividing lines. I think the mission extension meets that definition easily.

Personally I hope the Liberals vote to extend the mission. I heard a Liberal MP, (I never caught who it was), talking on the CBC about the Liberal position on Afghanistan a few months ago. He said that the Liberals weren't opposed to the combat operations but were opposed to doing them without more NATO troops. I think that's an excellent position and I think the Liberals should therefore sign on to the Manley report recommendations. It's the right thing to do.

issachar said...

Oh, and by saying the Conservatives are being confrontational I'm referring to making it a confidence issue.

Peter Van Loan calling Mark Holland an agent for the Taliban intelligence agency isn't confrontational, it's offensive, rude, and an embarrassment to parliament. That he's the Government House Leader and not some kooky backbencher only makes it worse.