NDP tables its own Afghanistan motion

Confusion seems to be widespread amongst progressives today with the media reports saying that “The NDP voted with the Conservatives” to defeat the Liberal motion on Afghanistan.  This story is still unfolding – today the NDP put forward its own motion for debate on Thursday.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 25, 2007

THE WRONG MISSION IN 2009 IS THE WRONG MISSION IN 2007: NDP NDP tables opposition motion for safe and immediate withdrawal from Afghan combat role

OTTAWA – The NDP tabled a motion today to put an end to the counter-insurgency Afghanistan mission that the Liberals, Conservatives and Bloc Québécois want to last until 2009.

“The NDP motion, to be debated Thursday and voted on Monday, calls for an immediate safe and secure withdrawal of our troops from the counter-insurgency mission and to focus our assistance, not through counter-insurgency but through development and aid,” said NDP Leader Jack Layton.  “Both Liberals and Conservatives admit that the conflict in Afghanistan won’t be won militarily. We believe that two more years of participating in the wrong mission for Canada is two years too long.”

The NDP motion is consistent with the party’s position since the counter-insurgency mission began, unlike Liberal leader Stéphane Dion’s recent flip-flop on the issue.

“One year ago, Stéphane Dion voted against extending the mission in Afghanistan, on Tuesday he voted to extend it until 2009,” said Layton. “NDP MPs take their responsibility as parliamentarians very seriously when we put young women and men in harm’s way. The question for the Liberals is simple:
If the mission is wrong for Canada, why are they asking our brave men and women to participate in it for two more years?”

The NDP’s motion reiterates the NDP’s support for Canadian troops and calls on Canada to focus its efforts in assisting the people of Afghanistan by re-doubling its commitment to reconstruction and development.

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The wording of the motion:

(1) all Members of this House, whatever their disagreements about the mission in Afghanistan, support the courageous men and women of the Canadian Forces; (2) the government has admitted that the situation in Afghanistan can not be won militarily; (3) the current counter-insurgency mission is not the right mission for Canada; (4) the government has neither defined what ‘victory’ would be, nor developed an exit strategy from this counter-insurgency mission; therefore this House condemns this government and calls for it to immediately notify NATO of our intention to begin withdrawing Canadian Forces now in a safe and secure manner from the counter-insurgency mission in Afghanistan; and calls for Canada to focus its efforts to assist the people of Afghanistan on a diplomatic solution, and re-double its commitment to reconstruction and development.

Steve

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