Thursday, May 18, 2006


Why did the Liberal Party even consent to having that ridiculous sham of a vote to happen, anyway?

"There had to be unanimous consent for the debate and the vote to happen. And I don't know why the Liberal Party provided unanimous consent for Stephen Harper's political maneuver, which is what it effectively was."
- David Herle, making sense on Politics earlier


At 5/19/2006 8:32 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because the Liberals are a rudderless ship, and nobody is effectively managaing their strategy in the house. Paul Martin hired some of the very best and experienced and knowledgable people with expertise on parliamentary procedures to guide his minority government thru things. His team has been dismantled. Nobody with that kind of experience or expertise has been re-hired in the interim.

At 5/19/2006 9:42 a.m., Blogger Jim said...

It was a damned if they did, damned if they didn't scenario.

Had the Liberals opposed the vote and the motion, the Conservatives would have shrugged their shoulders, said the Libs were being obstructionist because they didn't want to debate on a mission they committed troops to, and the Cons would committed troops for an additional year anyway.

In the end, it would have been "bad Liberals" again.

Man, you know, this is enough to make a guy cynical on politics ...

At 5/19/2006 1:50 p.m., Blogger Jim said...

Had the Liberals opposed the vote and the motion, the Conservatives would have shrugged their shoulders, said the Libs were being obstructionist because they didn't want to debate on a mission they committed troops to, and the Cons would committed troops for an additional year anyway.

Is it weird that I just made a comment about the Conservatives as if I was an unbiased observer ...

At 5/19/2006 1:56 p.m., Anonymous imspartacus said...

Yes, this another lesson of the benefits of being in power. The Tories get to write the script whether we play ball or not. He will now cast aspertions that the Liberals are 'divided' or 'unable to decide' on our military commitment in Afghanistan. He will then let Layton paint the liberals as 'pro-war' and 'Harper-enablers'... But I say we need to gather our collective breath and fire back. Fire back at Harpor's disrespect for the military to not engage them in the decision, in effect leaving them in the lurch while a faux debate on Afghanistan whirled about. Harpor's disrespect for members of parliament, by asking them to decide on Canadian Forces' assignment while at the same time saying 'I'm going to do it anyways'. Stand up and make it clear that We are proud of our fighting soldiers, we signed on to the mission in the first place. But to have their mission used as a Political ploy to demean the discussion and neuter the debate, while providing no cost estimates, no renewed mission statements and no exit strategies -- Harpor is reading from the hawk Bushies script. Canada is not the aggressor, but trying to be part of the rebuilder. Harpor, who denounced anyone who disagreed with his policy as 'cut and run'ner, is not a politician but a dictator with too many toys at his feet. It's time to take him down a notch.

At 5/20/2006 6:35 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brison rationale behind his vote on Afghanistan can be found in Saturday's National Post. Sounds reasonable to me....

Why I voted to support our Mission in Afghanistan
by Scott Brison

I am fortunate to live in a country that has allowed me to become an elected Member of Parliament and a Cabinet Minister. In the Taliban-led Afghanistan, I would be thrown in prison or executed for being gay. The same fundamental human rights that we enjoy in Canada are no less important than the rights of the people of Afghanistan. We have a responsibility to defend those rights, at home and abroad. Those rights should be the basis of a values-based, principled Canadian foreign policy. Our country must be willing to stand up for the values that we espouse. I don’t take these rights for granted.

Following her death on Wednesday, Captain Nichola Goddard’s husband said, “We shouldn’t tuck our tails behind our legs and run … We’ve kind of got our foot in the door now to start making a difference. I think we need to follow through and carry on with the mission.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Naturally, the Taliban is becoming more aggressive, because they are fundamentally opposed to the democratization and stabilization of Afghanistan. They are fundamentally opposed to the rights of women to be treated as persons, let alone to be able to vote and get elected, as they did recently. These rights all vanish with a premature withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan. The Taliban are men who throw bombs into schools, killing and maiming young girls because they don’t believe women deserve an education. As sure as the Taliban stand shoulder to shoulder with the forces of international terrorism, we must stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies against them.

We have a self-interest as a country to help foster democracy in Afghanistan. Any premature withdrawal from Afghanistan would result in a failed state. The country would once again become a birthing ground for terrorism and a global hub for the drug trade. September 11th wasn’t just an attack on the United States, it was an attack on the modern world. Canada cannot extricate itself from the modern world, nor should it.

We also have an interest and a responsibility to help foster democracy in Afghanistan because we are a fortunate country. Like a fortunate person should do more for others in his community, we should do more for less fortunate citizens of the world. If Canada doesn’t have a role to play in Afghanistan as part of a multilateral mission, then Canada doesn’t have a role anywhere.

I was part of a government that sent troops to Afghanistan 12 months ago this week. While the conditions have changed, the objectives have not. Canada’s interest and responsibility in combating terrorism and the international drug trade are just as important today as they were then. The basic fundamental human rights, equality and democratic governance are just as important now as they were then.

We must not forget that we are not the only country engaged in the fight for democracy and human rights in Afghanistan. Were Canada to withdraw, we would not only be letting down our soldiers, but also those of the 35 other countries that are part of the mission, not to mention the people in Afghanistan.

We faced a cynical and flawed motion from the Conservative government. While it may have been politically expedient to embarrass Stephen Harper by defeating the motion, it’s clear that the next day’s headline in the New York Times and in newspapers around the world would not have been “Canadian parliament votes against cynical government motion”, but instead: “Canada withdraws support for mission in Afghanistan”.

With his rushed vote, Stephen Harper played politics with the lives and mission of Canadian soldiers, as well as jeopardizing Canada’s reputation in the world. A vote against the Harper government’s cynicism would have been interpreted broadly as a vote against the mission, and would have damaged both soldier morale and Canada’s international reputation. But let’s be clear, the positive vote should be seen strictly as a show of support for Canadian troops. The need remains for full briefings and the opportunity for Parliament to continue to consider the question. Mr. Harper should show respect to all Parliamentarians and ensure that there are regular meetings of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees to receive continuous high-level briefings from the government and senior Defence and diplomatic officials. As a responsible opposition member, I will continue to hold the government to account, in expectation that we will review our engagement in Afghanistan if circumstances change.

At 5/20/2006 11:02 p.m., Blogger lecentre said...

I'd say it happened because they, and the others in opposition demanded it.
Cherniak at his blog said that they asked for a debate, not a vote... then wondered if he was splitting hairs.
I'll let you answer that one.

At 5/22/2006 3:40 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Liberals had nowhere to go with this "vote." It was a set-up in which I think Graham did an admirable job by allowing his party to vote his or her conscience. The wording of the question and the spin given by the Tories (support for the mission did not equal support for the extension) painted them into a corner: Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
This was hammered home when Harper said they could vote, but he would do what he wished anyway.
Graham could count on the Bloc and the NDP to put up a good fight, and a fair number of his own party to keep Harper's party in check.
The close vote better send a strong message to Harper that most Canadians nor their representatives in Parliament will put up with such disingenuous tactics. It is very clear that Canadians support our troops, though many want to make sure Canada knows what it is fighting for, complete with details about time and costs, with regular updates. More information and a serious debate on the issue should be forthcoming. I am expecting ALL parties to work towards that goal.
Canadians deserve to know far more about it's international engagements and the costs than just hearing about deaths of our youth on foreign soil, and witnessing the grim reminders from telescopes of sidelined media.
So far, I think this is the closest Harper has come to being truly democratic. Perhaps he will learn from this experience; and I hope Canadians are brought back into the loop on our goals in Afghanistan and a frank and honest discussion about our ability and plans to meet them.
The people need the information to make informed decisions, and time.
If I hear our Prime Minister accusing almost half of Canadians as "cutting and running" once more, well I will just have to assume he has divisive plans and is toxic to Canada.


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