We learned today that there is not to be a debate on the extension of the Afghanistan mission. We also learned today that the Liberal leadership is not likely to oppose this non-debate. But, we also learned that some LPC critics are confusing parties, because we're not the NDP. Why people are angrier and surprised at the idea of Liberals supporting the Afghanistan extension, rather than the fact that they're not bringing about debate, just goes to show that no one really pays attention to politics any more.
As I've said before, I'm not against keeping our troops there. I'd probably be open to a future combat and/or peacekeeping role further down the line, after a few years of rest. So my issue isn't with the decision itself, just how it was made.
The idea that some sort of shady backroom deal was cut may not be accurate, but clearly, the Liberal leadership is not willing to oppose Harper on this. I can understand the political need for both parties, because it avoids heavy speculation and lets the issue drop. Instead of creating a maelstrom, it's a small brush fire they have to deal with now. They're most likely legally allowed to do so, so whatever.
But it should be clear by now that this issue isn't something to be taken lightly. I may support this extension, but there is quite a few people out there that don't. They do have a right to have their concerns heard, their ideas for change or compromise known, and then we see what Parliament can do. Maybe they don't do anything different, maybe some new program comes out, but at least we had a debate, and we figured out the best way going forward. That's how things should be done, yet they're not.
I don't fall for the "Iggy should oppose because he's the Opposition leader" crud that quite a few are claiming. It's stupidity. This is something that the Liberals have always supported, and given the gravitas and the legacies associated with this issue, they're not likely to flip-flop on it. So enough of this. We were going to support an extended training mission no matter what, barring some sort of huge debacle that was unlikely to happen.
There is a point to be made about the Liberal leadership going behind the caucus' back to make this decision. That's completely valid in my opinion, and we should have had a discussion among the caucus, the party members, and whomever else is critically important to have behind you. But let's face it - we're not seeing open revolt here, and so far I've seen only one unconfirmed quote from an anonymous MP about it. The national media is just looking for something to explode this issue, whether its real or not. We don't know whose discussed what in the Party, and possibly we should wait a minute or two before we draw battle lines.
Anyways, the point is that the issue of supporting the extension itself should not be in contention, because the likelihood of the Liberals supporting has always been very high. We're kind of a hawkish party, folks. It's been our nature for a long while now. If you don't like it, jump over to the NDP and see what idealism is really all about.
But regardless, even if the entire thing was already confirmed, we should have debated this issue. We should have consulted everyone. If we're going to make some backroom deal, involve every player in Parliament, so we can get the best deal possible for our country and our soldiers. We didn't do that, and I feel that we not only let down our democratic principles, we've let down our soldiers, our citizens, and our party members. That's the issue here, even one more important than whether or not you oppose this war. Because if we can't even debate on the matter, what good will your support or opposition even be?