Saturday, November 13, 2010

Harper: Staying In Afghanistan & Lying About Leaving

Not often a Prime Minister flip-flops against the people he represents for the people he doesn't. In choosing to keep soldiers in Afghanistan Prime Minister Stephen Harper broke a promise to Canadians in order to make a promise to Americans.

It was just at the start of this year Stephen Harper told David Akin of Canwest News that Canada's involvement in Afghanistan post-2011 would "become a strictly civilian mission" with almost no soldiers staying, however earlier this week under pressure from the United States and other allies the Conservative Prime Minister flip-flopped announcing that 1,000 Canadian soldiers would remain in Afghanistan until 2014.

In a January 7 article Stephen Harper, committed to the Canadian people, speaking on the subject of Canadian involvement in Afghanistan after 2011, "We will not be undertaking any kind of activity that requires a significant military force protection, so it will become a strictly civilian mission.”

Harper went on to promise that,

“We will continue to maintain humanitarian and development missions, as well as important diplomatic activity in Afghanistan. But we will not be undertaking any activities that require any kind of military presence, other than the odd guard guarding an embassy.”
In just ten months after making that commitment Stephen Harper flip-flopped due to pressure from the United States and other allies. On November 10 2010 the Prime Minister announced 1,000 Canadian soldiers will be staying in Afghanistan to fill the vacancies created from the withdrawal of other countries' troops.

The details of the new Canadian military mission are still unknown, but the Conservative government is suggesting our soldiers will be training the Afghan Army and police within safe and protected areas. This however may be changed as the American government is exerting pressure for Canada to train Afghans while they are engaged in combat.

Though Stephen Harper broke a promise to Canadians to offer support for the United States in Afghanistan, Canadians need not to worry. It is widely assumed Stephen Harper will be flip-flopping back to the North side of the 49th parallel about a month before we start marking ballots.

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