Skip to comments.Latest deaths illustrates 'the evil' Canadians are fighting in Afghanistan, PM
Posted on 09/19/2006 1:28:28 PM PDT by GMMAC
Latest deaths illustrates 'the evil'
Canadians are fighting in Afghanistan, PM says
CanWest News Service; Ottawa Citizen
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
OTTAWA - The suicide bombing deaths of four Canadian soldiers Monday while trying to give candy to Afghan children illustrates the "evil" they are fighting and the nobility of their cause, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.
"Nothing more than this incident illustrates the evil that they are fighting and the goodwill and the nobleness of the cause that they are taking to the Afghan people," Harper told the Commons as his government confronted its toughest political challenge defending and explaining Canada's war in Afghanistan amid rising casualty rates as the House on Monday resumed for the fall session.
With fresh news of Canada's four latest fatalities, the opposition parties leapt on the government's conduct of its NATO struggle in Afghanistan to further their own domestic battles how best to position themselves for a possible spring election. A second soldier's identity was made public Tuesday. Cpl. Glen Arnold, 2 Field Ambulance, CFB Petawawa, Ont. was one of the four soldiers killed on Monday.
Harper and his cabinet brushed aside an NDP call for a troop pullout, saying all parties should support Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.
House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken also rejected a request by the Bloc Quebecois for an emergency debate on Canadian foreign policy.
As the death toll of Canadians killed in Afghanistan rose to 36 including one diplomat bitter words flew across the Commons about the future of the mission.
"It is time to support our troops by bringing them home. The only question is: when?" charged NDP defence critic Dawn Black.
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor shot back: "Only they and the Taliban want us out of Afghanistan.
''The absolute worst thing we could do is pull our troops and bring them back home, to leave the Taliban to have Afghanistan. It is only a little while that the Taliban were there, where they were carrying out a murderous regime of punishments on women, and no children going to school."
Visiting Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer questioned what the governments of Canada, the U.S., Europe and his own country would do if NATO pulled out of Afghanistan and another 9/11-style attack ensued.
"What would we say to the people of our countries? That we surrendered, that we had walked away, that we hadn't had the courage to stay the coursethat we had run away and then civilians subsequently died through acts of terror, that's what we would say," Downer said Monday during a stop in Halifax to meet Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay.
But opposition parties continued to push the government for a full accounting of what is going wrong with the NATO efforts to quell the Taliban insurgency in south Afghanistan.
"The reality is that the government has failed on its development package. It has failed on telling the Canadian public how it is training Afghan security forces and it has failed in dealing with the insurgency from Pakistan," said Liberal foreign affairs critic Keith Martin.
O'Connor said the Taliban insurgency can only be put down through a combined effort of military security, improving governance and through development assistance.
"The Taliban can only be defeated when all three operations are in synchronization and that is what we are doing."
Meanwhile, the Liberals are calling on O'Connor to appear before the Commons defence committee to explain the escalating nature of the Afghan conflict before he heads off to a key meeting at the end of the month of NATO defence ministers in Slovenia.
O'Connor said he will live up to a promise he made in May to give the Commons an update on the progress of the Afghan mission, but he did not say when.
O'Connor's office also brushed aside a question about whether he would testify before the defence committee, saying he had received no formal request.
Canadian casualties in Afghanistan have skyrocketed this year with 29 of the country's 37 deaths occurring since January, shortly before Harper's Conservatives won the last federal election.
Former Liberal defence minister Bill Graham, now the head of the official opposition, recalled Monday how he tried to warn Canadians about the dangers of the new mission in the Kandahar region, but admitted it has turned into "a much more challenging mission" than many may have envisioned.
"What has happened in the interim is that the nature of the opposition in Kandahar has, partly perhaps because of influence by tactics adopted in Iraq, become much more difficult to contain than originally thought," Graham said.
Harper was forced to address the rising casualty rate in a series of television interviews he gave Monday evening.
Harper told the CTV News program Mike Duffy Live that he feels "bad that the Canadian population, last November and forward, hasn't fully understood the dangers we're undertaking there." Harper was referring the time period that coincided with the fall of the previous Liberal government and the winter election campaign that diverted the attention of most Canadians from the Afghan mission.
Harper acknowledged the range of deaths this year, including from direct combat to accidents.
"It's a tough mission. But the men and women of the Canadian Forces sign on for tough missions if they know they can do good in the world. That's what they're doing," he said. "They have the absolutely unwavering support of their government."
In another interview on CBC TV Harper added: ''I think we are making progress but there are some difficult times ahead.''
© CanWest News Service 2006
I believe the word he was looking for is "nobility".
Cool logo, I like it!
Leave it to conversatives to come up with something cool!
I's nice to see, finally, some real Canadians. I always knew they were there, somewhere, and its great to see them back in power repeatedly shaming the opposition in public.
Didn't the last PM raise holy hell when there was a friendly fire incident?
It is nice to have an ally act like one.
The QA session is the only feature of a Parliamentary system that I really miss here.
Evil Canadians giving children candy?
Despite the idiocy of the BQ and the Liberals' purchased seats in Quebec, I've herad quite a sea change in my relatives' politics.
Many of them now own their own businesses or have done very well as professionals. They are also tired of the high taxes, the asinine national health care system (most buy additional insurance or purchase private health care if needed) and the endless impediments to entrepreneurship.
So I think it's a mistake for the Conservatives to write-off Quebec: find a few charismatic Quebec businessmen (or women) to run and I think we'd all be pleasantly suprised. Personal independence (and even gun rights, and traditions of hunting and fishing) mean a lot to many more Quebecois than you would guess from hearing the PC stifled debates of the elites. Many of them have also outgrown the infantile politics of victimisation of the BQ, and have been greatly disenchanted by the corruption of the Liberals and the BQ.
I just hope Sarko wins the election in France.