Will Parliament decide? - Macleans.ca

Will Parliament decide?


Philippe Lagasse questions the potential precedent of putting the future of the Afghan mission to another vote in Parliament. Though government commitments on this subject matter are obviously theoretical in nature, there have been at least vague insinuations of responsibility made.

In October 2008, both the Defence Minister and the parliamentary secretary to the Foreign Affairs Minister indicated a role for Parliament in the discussion. In June 2010, the Defence Minister, while waving the red herring of the previous motion on the mission in Afghanistan, was rather resolute on the subject of parliamentary will: “We have to respect Parliament and the motion is clear. We can’t be fighting for democracy in Afghanistan and ignore it at home … The expressions of interest in a role for Canada beyond 2011 from Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Rae and others are of great interest. But until such time as that motion reads differently, we will respect that motion.”

More recently, while drawing out a loophole on training that had previously been denied to have existed, the Prime Minister’s Office put the onus almost entirely on parliament’s special committee on Afghanistan. That committee filed a report in June that called for the “Parliament and government of Canada enter into an intensive and constructive discussion as soon as possible about Canada’s work in Afghanistan and the region for the post July 2011 period.” “A final decision on this questions,” the committee suggested,” should be reached before the end of 2010.”