Prime Minister Ignatieff -

Prime Minister Ignatieff


From his scrum yesterday, the Liberal leader explains why we’re staying in Afghanistan for another three years.

Let’s get back to first principles.  Why are we taking this decision?  Because the only reason Canada is there is to help Afghanistan defend itself.  What is not credible about the Bloc and the NDP is they say we don’t want to abandon Afghanistan.  We want to make sure that Afghanistan is secure and safe.  But they’re not willing to do anything that the Afghans actually want which is to train their army to be able to defend the country.  We think this is a tough decision but it’s the right decision as a matter of principle …

We feel that this is a position that actually meets the national interest because the deal here is you can’t have the Bloc and the NDP coming out there and saying let’s just walk away from Afghanistan and leave them a lot of fine words.  At the end of the day, this is about Canada.  And when Canada is asked by its allies and when Canada is asked by the Afghan people get us ready to defend ourselves, I think Canada should respond as we are responding, as the government has responded

I think there’s no honest way to talk to the Canadian people except by being honest about risk. I think the risk is substantially diminished from a combat role.  Our soldiers will not be walking up the lanes in Kandahar risking putting their feet on IEDs.  That is over.  That will stop.  But the honest thing to say to Canadians is that there’s always risk when you’re in an area where there has been fighting and violence and war.  And it’s only honest to tell Canadians that. But I can honestly say that we’ve looked at the risks and we believe the risks are substantially reduced and that we can accomplish this mission with safety to our forces.