Getting Canada out of Afghanistan

Monday, October 30, 2006

There are over 11,000 people who have already signed the NDP’s petition to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan. You could be next. Unlike most internet petitions which become filled up with fake names, this one requires your full name and address, so is more likely to be taken seriously as a real petition. From Jack Layton’s email:

Many Canadians have written to me during the last few months in support for the NDP’s position on Afghanistan. This support is greatly appreciated. I firmly believe that we are a nation of facilitators not occupiers, we are a people committed to the ideals of building bridges not burning them and we must not allow that legacy of good work to falter.

A good opposition not only opposes, but proposes. So in that spirit, I want you to know about the NDP’s made-in-Canada plan for Afghanistan. An NDP-led federal government would:

  • Give notice that Canada will withdraw from the search-and-kill combat mission in Kandahar.
  • Work with NATO partners, the Afghan government, and other affected parties to find a political solution through capacity building and a comprehensive peace process.
  • Focus Canada’s role in Afghanistan on humanitarian aid, reconstruction and development, with appropriate security measures.

In contrast to our plan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has silenced Canada’s independent voice on foreign policy. Following the previous Liberal government’s path, today’s Conservatives have turned their backs on our respected, proven peace-building and peace-keeping traditions by committing Canadian troops to the aggressive search-and-kill combat mission in southern Afghanistan which is fueling the escalation of violence. From the emails and letters I receive it is clear that everyday Canadians know that:

  • This Bush-style combat mission will not create the conditions for long-term security.
  • The mission is ill-defined, unbalanced, and without a clear exit strategy.
  • For every $1 in humanitarian aid and reconstruction, the Conservative government is spending $9 on military combat in Afghanistan.

The fact of the matter is that the discussion at hand should be about if this mission is the right role for Canada and – not – which Party supports our troops. If you have not done so already, I invite you to sign our on-line petition. Support our troops. Bring ’em home, which can be found at: http://www.ndp.ca/page/4121.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you on this troubling matter. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to pass along this email.

All the best.

Sincerely,

Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
Leader, Canada’s New Democrats

As I pointed out a while back, a huge percentage of Canadian troop deaths in Afghanistan are being caused by American “not-so-friendly” fire, which is a bit ironic considering that we’re only in Afghanistan in order to pander to the Americans — they’re kinda busy in Iraq, so want us to fight some of their other battles. For decades, Canadians have held a peacekeeper role in conflicts abroad, a position that I fully support. Being part of a fighting force in a conflict that we should not be involved with, however, is not something that I can support.

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