Flap Jack

Jack Layton, in his own words:

Given that our obligations in Afghanistan will end in 10 months, Parliament should soon debate and vote on a new deployment. Can the Prime Minister tell us when the government will inform the House of its intentions concerning our troops in Afghanistan after February 2007? What is the timetable? (link)

I will ask the Prime Minister a simple question. Will he keep his promise to Canadians to ensure that there will be a vote on any further deployments, following February 2007, in Afghanistan? (link)

Will he now agree that there shall be a debate and vote in the House regarding any future troop deployment beyond February 7 in Afghanistan? (link) (on May 9th)

A vote should be held in this House on whether or not our troops should be deployed. There are questions about our role in Afghanistan, and there should be a vote on this, as we have been requesting for weeks. (link) (May 10th)

and here’s NDP foreign affairs critic Alexa McDonough:

There are increasing numbers of Afghans who are being killed, and I think we need to have a full debate and a vote on how we can best ensure that our troops have an achievable mission and that the people of Afghanistan are best served by the contribution we make. (link)

Stephen Harper, faced with calls for a debate and vote on an extension of the Afghan mission, said this today:

Members of this house have had five years to decide what their position is on this mission. We want to be sure that our troops have the support of this Parliament going forward.

What is the motion that MPs will be voting upon?

“that this House support the government’s two-year extension of Canada’s diplomatic, development, civilian police and military personnel in Afghanistan and the provision of funding and equipment for this extension.”

and the NDP response?

Appearing on CBC, Ms. McDonough called the move “premature” and said scheduling a vote immediately on the matter was “almost unprecedented.”

“This is a kind of Rambo-style approach to what is a deadly serious issue, and I think not respectful either of Canadians wanting to be engaged in this debate because they’re struggling with it … It’s certainly not respectful of our troops and others who are in harm’s way in Kandahar.” — Alexa McDonough

The Conservative move took the members of the Opposition off guard this week. Canada’s current mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to end in February, 2007. If the motion passes, that will be extended to February, 2009.

The NDP demanded a vote and now they’re getting one. Before, they demanded a take note debate and they got one. If a vote on extending the Afghan mission was so critical to Flap-Jack et al., then why are they so upset now?

The motion is clearly worded and the NDP has been asking for a vote for a while. Now they’re calling the move “not respectful of our troops”?

It’s time for the NDP to show their cards. Are they supportive of the work that is ongoing in Afghanistan? Will they vote to “bring home the troops” as some of their constituents demand?

The Conservative Party has been unambiguous in their support for the troops and their support of the mission in Afghanistan. Now Stephen Harper is giving the NDP what they wanted (regarding a vote). Was their interest in a vote merely a method to frame the PM as undemocratic on the issue of troop deployment? Now that the Conservatives are giving Parliament a chance to be counted on the issue, the NDP is angry that Harper has done so. Is the NDP being disingenuous?

UPDATE: Staples has more