Canadians oppose Afghan mission extension

chinookkandaharA recent poll by EKOS Research has determined that Canadians oppose the idea of extending Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan by a more than two to one margin (Jane Taber, “Canadians shut door on Afghan combat mission,” Globe and Mail, 8 April 2010). The poll also shows that a plurality of Canadians continue to oppose the current Canadian mission.

EKOS asked the following questions about Afghanistan:

Do you oppose or support Canadian military participation in Afghanistan?

Canada’s military mission in Aghanistan is scheduled to last until July 2011. U.S. Secretary of State Hilary [sic] Clinton recently suggested that Canada should extend it’s [sic] role in Afghanistan. Do you oppose or support Canada extending its mission in Afghanistan?

According to the poll, 49% of Canadians oppose the current mission, 36% support it, and 14% neither oppose nor support it. Opposition is strongest in Quebec (62% opposed and 21% in support) and weakest in Alberta (36% opposed and 50% in support).

By contrast, opposition to extending the mission is strong in all parts of the country, with 60% of Canadians opposing extension, 28% supporting extension, and 12% neither supporting nor opposing it. Even Alberta opposes extending the mission by 53% to 37%.

The Harper government has stated on numerous occasions that it will not extend Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan beyond its scheduled 2011 end.

Nonetheless, Defence Minister Peter MacKay seemed to open the door a crack to the possibility of maintaining some form of post-2011 military (or perhaps civilian) training mission in Afghanistan when speaking with reporters on Thursday (Ethan Baron, “MacKay cryptic about Canada’s post-2011 role in Afghanistan,” Canwest News Service, 8 April 2010).

Photo by MCpl Craig Wiggins

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