Coalition for Change and Afghanistan: Time to get it right

Posted: December 7, 2008 in Uncategorized

When Bob Rae was in Winnipeg yesterday he mused that Harper’s suspension of Parliament, while undemocratic, gave the Coalition a chance to talk with Canadians, listen to Canadians and to “get it right.”

I agree. Nowhere is this more important than on the question of Afghanistan. The Liberals got us into Afghanistan. The Liberals voted with the Tories (against the NDP and BQ) to keep us in Afghanistan. And the agreement signed by the Liberals and the NDP leaves this situation unaddressed.

If the Coalition for Change is truly interested in the views of Canadians, it needs to remember that a majority of Canadians opposes Canada’s military involvement in that war. We need to remind them of that.

Should the war in Afghanistan be a deal breaker for NDP participation in the Coalition? Evidently not, as far as the NDP leadership is concerned. For Paul Kellogg, writing in rabble.ca, it should be. According to Kellogg:

An anti-war party cannot stay anti-war and enter a cabinet with a pro-war party. Layton and the NDP leadership have to face up to the fact, that were the coalition to take office, the war in Afghanistan would become their war, and the deaths and injuries suffered in that conflict would be their responsibility.

I’m sympathetic to Kellogg’s point of view, but I’m not totally convinced. This coalition business might provide an opportunity to talk to Liberals about the evils of imperialism and the Liberal’s sad record of supporting it.

I suggest that Coalition supporters who oppose the war insist that their respective parties address it. Surely there are at least a few Liberals who oppose this war.

So, Antiwar Liberals, wherever you are, as long as you are in bed with the NDP, why not raise some hell about this war? How many more Canadian soldiers have to die helping the Americans rule the world? How many more Afghans do we have to kill before you awaken to complicity of your party?

Advertisements
Comments
  1. “I’m sympathetic to Kellogg’s point of view, but I’m not totally convinced. This coalition business might provide an opportunity to talk to Liberals about the evils of imperialism and the Liberal’s sad record of supporting it.”

    I’m somewhat ambivalent on this point. On the one hand, the NDP’s demand to both Liberals and Conservatives that even one more day is too long to stay in Afghanistan has clearly failed. In that sense, the NDP in cabinet at least provides an opportunity to nudge the Liberals toward withdrawing sooner rather than later.

    That said, it puts the NDP in a very awkward position to have to defend their support of and participation in a pro-war government.

  2. It would appear the NDP has resolved the contradiction by simply abandoning the anti-war position: Please tell Jack Layton most of us don’t support this war. layton.j@parl.gc.ca

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s