Monday, February 19, 2007

Tories plans extension on Afghanistan; document indicates ... good grief

Tories planning on Afghanistan extension: NDP
Feb. 19 2007 5:14 News

The NDP has released a document indicating the Conservative government is planning to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan until at least May 2011.

Dawn Black, the party's defence critic, obtained the document through the federal access to information law.

The document lays out troop and command rotations for Joint Task Force Afghanistan.

"I think that's serious planning, and if that's the case, it should come before the House of Commons," Black told reporters after Parliament's question period on Monday.

In the spring of 2006, Black noted the Conservatives had a short period of debate before holding a vote on extending the current mission to 2009.

"If plans are afoot to extend it to 2011, that deserves to have a very thorough, high-level, informed debate within Parliament before a decision is made."

In question period, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said: "I have answered this question a number of times. The member is confusing the military internal plan which is based upon the Afghanistan compact and government direction. If she reads the plan in detail, she will notice that the military acknowledge that they are committed to the end of February 2009, however, they plan beyond those dates because the Afghan compact goes until 2011."

"The government has said that we are committed to the end of February 2009. No further decision has been made. The government, when it finds it appropriate, will make the decision on what happens if and when the events occur after 2009," he added.

The document indicates that Canada's three largest regiments -- the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), the Petawawa, Ont.-based Royal Canadian Regiment and the Val Cartier, Que.-based Royal 22nd Regiment (Van Doos) -- will rotate through Afghanistan two more times by 2011.

PPLCI has served two tours so far in southern Afghanistan.

The Royal Canadian Regiment just finished a rotation, and the Van Doos have just started one.

"There's been no sign-off on that, but at the very least, the military is putting together a plan to keep Canada's soldiers in Afghanistan through 2011," CTV's David Akin told Newsnet.


Joshua Kubinec said...

I think that this has been known for quite some time now, has it not?