First, it was a shame and travesty that Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not attend the debate. He can find time to go for a photo-op to Afghanistan, but when it comes time to articulate our reasons for being there he is missing in action. If he is so passionately committed to our troops why is he not present in the first debate as PM to state that?
As expected, the Cons copied the Republican speechbook with phrases such as 'staying the course', 'supporting the troops', 'freedom and liberty to Afghans' while the Liberals just echoed ditto. It was actually the NDP and surprisingly the BQ that asked the tough questions, but got no answers.
I had a bit of a chuckle when Ignatieff spoke about his concerns over Canadian troops handing over detainees to the Americans and the fear of their torture. Asides that, these were specific questions to which I was looking for answers, but did not get them from this debate:
- What are the specific (military) goals of this mission?
- What happens if the Taliban decide to hit Canada in retaliation? Are there any plans to protect mainland Canada from their terro rism?
- What happens on February 2007 when the mission ends? Will there be a debate on any extension? Will there be a debate on the nature of a new mission?
- How are we protecting and enabling our soldiers currently over there to do their duties?
Unfortunately the whole debate was a show of optics from all concerned. The ones who asked the important questions, in my view, were the NDP, Michael Ignatieff, Ujjal Dosanjh and a couple of other Liberals. The Cons, the governing party, contributed nothing beyond rhetoric to this debate.
Tags: Canada Afghanistan