No Surprise Here - Canadian Commons votes to extend Afghan mission to 2011

McJ's picture

Canadian PM Stephen Harper will have good news when he attends a Nato Leader's Summit in Bucharest, Romania this April. On Thursday, after 30 hours of debate over a period of five days, the Canadian Government voted by a 197 -77 margin to extend the Afghan mission to 2011.
From the Vancouver Sun

OTTAWA -- As a chorus of protest rang out from Parliament's public galleries, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly Thursday night to extend Canada's military mission in Afghanistan to 2011.

Though the result was never in doubt, the outburst of more than two dozen anti-war protesters chanting, "End it, don't extend it," from the public galleries added a poignant dramatic twist as they were peacefully escorted out by security guards.

Both the minority Conservative government and the Liberal opposition heralded the vote as a historic compromise that set aside partisan politics and advanced Canada's international interest, as they easily passed the motion by a 197-77 margin.

...The NDP and Bloc Quebecois opposed the motion but lacked the numbers in the Commons that would have toppled the government and plunged the country into a federal election.

Apparently, the cost of our excellent adventure wasn't much of a concern to the MP's who were busy discussing the "high political ideal of why we are in Afghanistan". Considerations of costs didn't enter into the debate until it's waning hours when "MPs began to consider the question of financial cost, with published reports that the war was $1 billion over budget".
From The Canadian Press

...Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, head of the Senate security and defence committee, says MPs paid too much attention to the high political ideal of why we are in Afghanistan.

They often failed to ask substantive questions, he said, such what the ramifications might be on both the federal treasury and a military that increasingly relies on reservists and equipment under stress from continuous combat.

"This war is going to take a lot more money than this government is prepared to admit," said Kenny.

...It was only in the waning hours of debate that MPs began to consider the question of financial cost, with published reports that the war was $1 billion over budget. The Defence Department countered that the figures were only projections until 2009 and that estimated costs beyond that had not been made final.

...Thursday's vote ended the most extensive and wide-ranging debate in Canada's Parliament since it began sending soldiers to Afghanistan. Contrary to the compressed 48-hour debate that preceded the last vote in Parliament in May 2006, this current round unfolded over five days beginning on Feb. 25. The May 2006 vote extended the mission by two years to February 2009 by a slim 149-145 margin.

This 'historic' debate couldn't have been of much interest to the "20 Liberals [that] didn't show up, including such notables as chronic absentee and former prime minister Paul Martin, whose government made the initial call to deploy troops to the Kandahar danger zone" but then as noted "the result was never in doubt".

The vote is good news for Harper who now has "the clear political mandate he wanted heading into a meeting of NATO leaders in Bucharest, Romania, early next month". And thanks to the "historic compromise" of the governing Conservatives and the opposition Liberals, Canadians won't be going to an election over our continuing mission in Afghanistan.

From the National Post

Before this mission's next end date in December, 2011, another 12,500 soldiers will decamp from their families in bases across Canada, some doing a second or third rotation, and head into war.

If current casualty rates continue, more than 150 will not return -- a horrifying one-in-80 chance of dying for their home country and a foreign one with a history of chronic conflict and unbeaten insurgency.

...Far from pulling out of combat and leaving Canadian troops armed with shovels and good intentions, the decision essentially endorses the status quo with a preferred emphasis on training and humanitarian work.

So just in case the Taliban are reading this, let me translate: Bomb or shoot at Canadian troops and our soldiers will shoot back, aiming to kill, for at least another three years.


admin's picture

wow 2011?

2011 sounds so futuristic. This is just sad. "a horrifying one-in-80 chance of dying for their home country and a foreign one with a history of chronic conflict and unbeaten insurgency"

Well on a happy note it looks like z might be joining us over here!
Welcome to the race z hello or goodbye


McJ's picture

Did you check out the links

Did you check out the links that Luke Powell left on WP's site. He has a spectactular collection of photographs, most from Afghanistan. He also has this essay regarding the Canadian mission' in Afghanistan, posted on his site. It was very good. He concludes with this:

It has been four years since I spoke with General Leslie about Canadian participation in ISAF. Obviously he and his men did not find a way out of going to Afghanistan and are doing the best they can there now. When we spoke in 2003 we were only talking of Canada’s joining ISAF to serve as peacekeepers in Kabul, but soon they would join in the military subjugation of Zabol, Konar, Nangarhar, Kandahar, and Helmand Provinces. That is just asking for casualties. In fact those have long been among the most likely places on this planet for a group of foreign soldiers to find a fight if they come looking for one, and most of the many foreigners to die there in the last two centuries were defending a weak, puppet government installed by a Western government that would be undone by this same debacle.

I hope Z will take up your suggestion and post to a blog. If we can get a few people posting maybe we can get this site rockin & rolling. rockin out party time! rolling on the floor laughing
There is just so much potential here, to do some good things!

"They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they put you in jail. Steal a lot and then they make you king" ~~Bob Dylan~~

z-z-Z's picture


How the sub-prime mortgage fraud fiasco - the billion dollar bailout with taxpayer funds for bankers and investment bankers - and the Eliot Spitzer naughty/naughty penis media frenzy story - are all tied together with a big huge red bow.


Eliot’s Mess

The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked

By Greg Palast
Reporting for Air America Radio’s Clout

March 14th, 2008

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there’s a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush’s man Bernanke was using ours.

This week, Bernanke’s Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.

Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.

Who are they kidding? Spitzer’s lynching and the bankers’ enriching are intimately tied.

How? Follow the money.

The press has swallowed Wall Street’s line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn’t afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That’s blaming the victim.

Here’s what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the ‘sub-prime’ mortgage and its variants including loans with teeny “introductory” interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called ‘Countrywide’ became America’s top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chunk of these ‘sub-prime.’

Here’s how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 monthly payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain’t worth a can of spam and the Grinnings are told to scram - because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the “discount” they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. The Grinnings move into their Toyota.

Much more at link,..

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