PM unveils compromise motion on Afghan mission



The Harper government has unveiled a new motion to end the Canadian mission in the volatile Kandahar region of Afghanistan by 2011 -bridging the gap between previous Conservative and Liberal motions.

The motion adopts wording from a Liberal amendment, though the Tories have the military leaving six months later than in the Liberal proposal.

It also says the mission will focus on training and reconstruction, as the Liberals have demanded.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke about the motion at the Conference of Defence Associations in Ottawa Thursday morning.

"This motion confirms our commitment (in Afghanistan) is not open-ended," Harper said.

He said that the motion addressed many of the Liberals' concerns and should garner the majority needed to pass through the House of Commons.

If the Liberals accept the new wording and agree to support the motion, it will remove one of several possible triggers for a spring election.

Harper has said the vote on extending the Afghan mission, to be held next month, will be a matter of confidence.

Originally, the Tories called for the combat mission in the dangerous Kandahar region to be extended to the end of 2011, assuming NATO met their demands for additional troops and equipment. The motion did not rule out any further extensions of the mission.

Dion countered last week with a lengthy Liberal amendment calling for a new mission to begin next February, focused on reconstruction and the training of Afghan forces rather than hunting Taliban insurgents. The amendment also called for an end to the mission by February 2011 and for complete withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan by July 2011.

The Liberal amendment also required that NATO agrees to rotate the leadership of the combat role in Kandahar to another country. If that does not happen, the Liberals say, Canada should withdraw all of its troops next February.



Both the Bloc Quebecois and NDP are adamantly opposed to any extension of the mission, currently scheduled to end next February.

During his speech Thursday, Harper also promised "stable and predictable" funding for the military in the future, on top of previous promises of new equipment.

He said that the military's automatic budget increase from would be going up from 1.5 per cent per year to two per cent starting in 2011.

Let me get this straight... the 'compromise' is to put our troops under the jurisdiction of a different NATO partner?

Way to strike one For Great Justice, Dion.
Quote: Originally Posted by tehoweView Post

Let me get this straight... the 'compromise' is to put our troops under the jurisdiction of a different NATO partner?

Way to strike one For Great Justice, Dion.

Not exactly. Canadians are leading the combat role in Kandahar currently, and one of the demands is for NATO to rotate another country to replace us and become the leading combat force, because we've been doing it since we got there.

If they (NATO) does not rotate in another country or force to take over while we switch to construction and training, etc.... then we will continue with our original pull out date of Feb 2009, rather then the new 2011 date if they do.

In other words, they either rotate in another force to replace us, they switch us over to reconstruction and training, they send in more forces to meet the demands, they supply us with Helicopters and UAV's for our troops, etc. and we stay until 2011..... or they don't and we bugger off next year.
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