'They need to know that their Parliament is behind them' - Macleans.ca

‘They need to know that their Parliament is behind them’


As futile as it may be to hold Mr. Harper’s past pronouncements as a guide to present and future action, here is what the Prime Minister said four years ago when he sought to extend the nation’s commitment in Afghanistan by two years.

Mr. Speaker, as members of the House know, we made a pledge during the last election campaign to put international treaties and military engagements to a vote in this chamber. If we made this promise, it was because before we send diplomats, relief workers and soldiers on dangerous missions abroad, it is important to be able to tell them that Canada’s parliamentarians believe in their objectives and support what they are doing…

Despite the fact that members of three of four parties in the House have consistently voiced support for a mission in Afghanistan, Canadians on the ground in Kabul, Kandahar and in the PRT have never received a clear mandate from this Parliament. That is not fair to the brave men and women who wear the maple leaf. They need to know that their Parliament is behind them.

Mr. Harper also specifically addressed what his government would do if Parliament voted against extending the engagement.

I think I also need to be clear, given the events over the last 24 hours or so, of what the consequences would be if there were a No vote. Let me be clear on this. This would be a surprise to this government. In debates in this chamber up until last month and in private meetings until very recently, we had every reason to believe that three of four parties, which have consistently supported this action, would continue to do so.

Should that turn out not to be the case, this government is not in a position to simply walk away or to run away. What the government will do, if we do not get a clear mandate, the clear will of Parliament to extend for two years and beyond, is proceed cautiously with a one year extension. We cannot walk away quickly. We will proceed with another year and if we need further efforts or a further mandate to go ahead into the future, we will go so alone and we will go to the Canadian people to get that mandate.


‘They need to know that their Parliament is behind them’

  1. "They need to know that their Parliament is behind them."

    Until they come home, 24 years old and missing a couple of limbs. Then we'll just give them $250,000, and hope to hell their local Lions club helps them put a ramp in at the house. We'll still be behind them. Way, way behind, and fading in the rearview…

  2. Ask you Liberal friends why they wanted the $250,000 lump sum. Could it be that they do not support the military and wanted to save money on the backs of those coming back wounded and/or killed?

  3. It is futile. And after the consensus, we can't even predict based on political advantage.

  4. I'd prefer to hold the government responsible for explaining its policy and program decisions. Any opposition party that supports them *also* has some explaining to do; but this is a secondary concern.

  5. Hey, you, yeah you, where have you been in the last five years. Stuck in 2005 are ya. Well a lot has changed since. And Harper is quite adept at killing and has killed any Liberal plan in the first two years of being in the PMO, from the national child care program, to Atom Canada, Kyoto, the Kelowna accord, and a host of other Liberal policies and programs. SO why wasn't this "250,000 Lump Sum" plan killed. Since the Harper Thugs soooo stand up for our soldiers, huh? Answer that.
    Why? Because Harper voted and agreed on it himself as PM…it is his people that said better they come home dead than alive…because it costs less…

    Con Reform Harper thugs like yourself just hate accountability.

  6. Here is some O/T late breaking news: G-20 Endorses New Reserve Rules for Banks

    So just where does this leave our Dear Leader who scored such a major victory at the Toronto-G20-Police-Picnic when he led the world to reject these socialist controls?

  7. "Ask you Liberal friends why they wanted the $250,000 lump sum"

    Yep. Blame the former government for this very bad program. Agreed.

    Now stop the partisan bitching, and tell the ones who can fix this RIGHT NOW to fix it.

  8. Yeah, behind them. Pushing.

  9. What Harper did in 2008 was grotesque. He asked members of the house to vote on extending a mission while only the governement had the information, mostly secret, necessary to make the decision.

    For once, it would appear that Mr. Harper has learned something.

  10. Chretien and Martin didn't seek Parliament's consent when deploying troops to Afghanistan/Kandahar.

    I think Harper did the right thing in 2008 by asking for a vote, while his most recent actions, and those of Chretien/Martin, are less honourable.

    It would be nice if the troops knew that Parliament was behind them. However, it seems it's merely just a "nicety" and not an absolute necessity.

    As an aside, I support Harper's recent decision to extend a non-combat role in Afstan. I imagine many Tory and Liberal MPs agree, which is why it's surprising that Chretien, Martin and now Harper won't or didn't seek Parliament's consent. Such votes are guaranteed to pass, given that Afstan has become a joint Tory-Liberal effort.

  11. If we made this promise, it was because before we send diplomats, relief workers and soldiers on dangerous missions abroad, it is important to be able to tell them that Canada's parliamentarians believe in their objectives and support what they are doing…

    You see trainers anwhere on that list Wherry?Why don't you support our diplomats,relief workers and soldiers…?

  12. Isn't that a bit of a reach? It's as likely there just isn't the political imperitive [ for the CPC] right now to threaten them with Parliamentry approval.

  13. When our MPs were asked to vote on extending the mission in 2008 they were asked to vote on something they were denied information to. It is plain wrong and dishonorable to vote on sending young soldiers to, and spending billions of dollars on, a war when you know you don't have access to the information necessary to make a decision. Clearly, the decision to send troops is a government's decision, one for which the opposition has the duty to hold the government responsible.

    By the way, Mulroney did not call for a vote before sending troops to the Gulf in 1990, neither did Chrétien or Martin, as you point out. What Harper did in 2008 was grotesque. Parliament can debate the role of our troupes in Afghanistan as much as it wants. They have opposition days that can be used for that purpose, and I hope they will do so. I trust that our Governor General, the only person who can legitimately speak on behalf of all Canadians, will convey the message to our soldiers that Canadians support them.

  14. And Harper is quite adept at killing and has killed any Liberal plan in the first two years of being in the PMO, from the national child care program, to Atom Canada, Kyoto, the Kelowna accord, and a host of other Liberal policies and programs.

    Hmmm… a so-called "former Conservative" listing all those wonderful Liberal plans killed by the "Con Reform thugs".

    You're not fooling anyone, buddy.

  15. The issue is this. Harper lied to Canadians because he wanted short term political gain. Canadians believed him. Because Canadians never believed that a Canadian Prime Minister in this day and age would stoop so low as to use a war and our brave troops as political fodder.

    If Harper had any balls or brains, he would of left the dialogue open. Gauged NATO. Gauged the political will at home and then pushed for whatever decision.

    As tough as it may be. But cowards don't perform with such integrity. They don't have the balls.

    HARPER DID NOT. He did not want this debate to take place. He knew all along that a CANADIAN MILITARY PRESENCE was to follow through.

    He lied to Canadians, to the troops and their families on the graves of our war dead.
    This is not leadership.
    This is negotiating in bad faith with the very Canadians that placed him in the PMO.
    And negotiating in bad faith is something Stephen "I make the rules" Harper is now known for not only in domestic politics but internationally.

    This Prime Minister must go.

  16. Good post, Loraine, you made me re-think.

  17. A FORMER PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE….and I call it as I see it…with honesty…unlike certain people who call themselves "conservatives" these days…I have no love for Reform Party NCC thugs that are destroying our democracy and out international reputation….and if you have noticed you idiot…I have not disagreed with any of those Liberal plans being turfed…but when the likes of this Prime Minister lies to our Troops and their Families?

    I draw the line.

    Now, what do you have to say…on your worthless contribution

  18. "They need to know that their Parliament is behind them."

    Because somebody has to stand in front.

  19. Go back to the Globe & Mail comment boards and spew your venom there, you bilious partisan hack.

  20. If I recall he said the point about going to the people for a mandate in scrum and it was one of his best.

    Oh Harper. So much potential…

  21. Threaten them with parliamentary approval? Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I recall Harper said he would make the final decision no matter the result of the vote.

  22. It's also difficult to maintain the fiction that parliament doesn't work because of opposition obstructionism when you throw out a motion you know they'll all back you on.

  23. Hit a nerve have we? I guess the Harper thugs are paying some decent overtime these days for the likes of you to troll…how's Kory Tenecyke doing these days…you're supervisor?

  24. I'm speaking to you ANON

  25. Give that to me again? Because I'm missing something here in the reading of your point. What are you saying?

  26. Classic dimwitted troll. He keeps changing his name (all caps, of course), babbling about "EVIL Reform NCC CON thugs", and matching wits with partisan cretins on the other side who rant about "EVIL commie LIEberal crooks".

    He's probably one of those trolls who got banned from the G&M comment boards. Let's hope this idiot gets bored and leaves.

  27. Okay, my post was a bit fuzzy, wasn't it?

    . I'm wondering if the PM wants to avoid showing voters that the liberals might actually work WITH him on something like this. It makes it harder to say stuff like "The opposition is blocking legislation" when they, you know, cooperate of stuff.

  28. Just being facetious. The last flip flop came about apparently because of the need to take Afganistan off the table during the election [ thus it went to parliament] This time there appears to be no pressing need for Harper to seek Parliamentary consent – i doubt it has much to do with himlearning something – at least he'll never tell us if it was.

  29. I know you don't want to be reminded of the bad decisions made by the former government but I had to put up with 13 years of do nothing government and I am not about to forget it anytime soon and neither will many Canadians I suspect.

    I am sure the current government will fix the problem but lets see how the Libs and the NDP react when they are asked to pass legislation. Will they tie it up in committee forever or will they do the right thing and pass it quickly? Inquiring minds want to know.

  30. It seems to me that the Liberals could have forced this to great political advantage if they had sided with the NO side.
    Yet even though it was not politically advantageous, they've supported the extension for some time now.

    yep. That's called standing on principle

  31. So your version of non-support is to accept the fact that, along with a host of other 'important planks to your platform ie more police on our streets etc' you gladly take delay, prorogation, blind ignorance and non-culpability by your just-as-guilty glut of spineless stooges for leaving our soldiers in the lurch?
    Kinda like Harper, who voted for all the cuts in the 1993-95 budgets and only wanted them to go deeper — yes, including the ones to the military — but can now stand up and ape 'we're not going to make deep cuts like the Liberals did when they balanced the budget!' I guess that's probable because Harper and Flaherty wouldn't know a balanced budget if it jumped up and goosed their high knees…

  32. "They need to know that their Parliament is behind them."?

    No, they do not.

    With all due respect, those who would argue this line need to remember that our military are there (or they are not there) to do (or to not do) what we as a country tell them to do (or not do.)

    The military is behind the political decisions that their country makes. Not the other way around.

  33. Agreed – well put. Your post helped clarify my position, which was really with regards to the executive powers of the PM. While I do not support this war, I do not consider Harper's decision as a destruction of democracy. Our system has a means of keeping things in check.

  34. Well, that certainly wasn't the case during Viet Nam. The increased unpopularity of the war at home was very demoralizing to the troops.

  35. The enemy is not the Taliban, or even Harper. It's Obama's proxy in the office of opposition leader, who want to feed training troops to Karzai's corruption machine.

    What do you think is going to happen over the next four years?

    The disappointment is the growing clarity that Mr. Ignatieff is the U.S. State Department's proxy-vote in the Canadian opposition.

    Mr. Ignatieff wishes to guarantee the Taliban the pleasure of infiltrating 'training' missions, gathering methods, operations and personnel, intel; and/or blowing themselves up.

  36. Or in other words.. "BUT MOOOMMMM.. THEY DID IT FIRST!"

    Most of us grow out of that by Jr. High.

  37. He's out in the country side promoting Canada's great leap forward.. don't bother him.

  38. I doubt he's terribly worried. In case you haven't noticed, his (remaining) supporters all have a rather extreme case of myopia. It's highly unlikely they'd notice anything not put on a 10%er..

  39. I guess I shouldn't be surprised any longer that there's barely a peep on here about Iggy's troubles on Afghanistan. Why ruin a perfectly good opportunity to be knee-jerk in one direction only, right?

    On that topic, which of course won't get discussed here, I'm surprised at how many Liberals are willing to completely abandon our efforts in Afghanistan. I can understand this kind of attitude from the NDP and the Bloc. But the Liberals? Maybe not today's version, I guess.

  40. And if the politicians has listened to the people and ended the war earlier, there would have been a whole lot less dead people on either side and it wouldn't have affected American interests one whit.

    The problem wasn't that people weren't supporting the soldiers; it was that the government kept the soldiers fighting an unnecessary foreign war long after public support for that war had disappeared.

  41. What troubles? Ignatieff has been calling for an extended training mission. Sure some libs are unhappy about that, but then again other libs take the view the training mission makes sense [ i'm in the later camp]You're surprised that liberals hold different or even divergent opinions…why? It's still a big tent party – just not as big as it was.

  42. Are you suggesting wars should only be fought if they have public support?

  43. At least this blog has long since departed from any notion of offering balance, or real analysis of events, content instead to engage in pure partisan liberal sniping.

    "Futile" to rely on Harper's stated course of action.

    Not, take with a grain of salt, given the changing nature of our world, or any other variant.

    No. Pure futility. Everything he says is to be taken as false. Everything.

    So says our ever balanced blog author.

    Alrighty then.

  44. Is that a rebuttal?