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NDP defence critic sent us comment saying pro-war charge is false

Canadian Dimension Blog received a comment from John Shafer late last week. “To enter this coalition the New Democratic Party has abandoned it’s principled opposition to Canada’s participation in the US led Terror War in Afghanistan,” John wrote. NDP defence critic Dawn Black picked up the comment and sent a reply of her own:

To say the party has “abandoned” its opposition to the mission is an unfortunate inaccuracy.

Mulcair’s statement was clear. The New Democrats won’t make the mission or its end date a point of disagreement with the Liberals during the duration of the coalition agreement.

The Coalition agreement is focused entirely on dealing with the economic crisis, by providing the stimulus the Harper government isn’t willing to provide.

New Democrats are opposed to the war in Afghanistan. We have been vocal critics of the mission and continue to demand government accountability on this mis-guided mission.

To suggest New Democrat MPs or the party have changed their position on the war or be “silent” on it is false.


Dawn Black, MP New Democrat National Defence Critic

First, I’d like to thank Ms. Black for taking the time to comment on the blog. I’d also like to thank Black for her work on the Afghanistan occupation. Black’s access to information requests and consequent media fallout have helped shed some light on the reality of the situation in Afghanistan.

Here, I will pick up where John Shafer left off. Black writes that “the New Democrats won’t make the mission or its end date a point of disagreement with the Liberals during the duration of the coalition agreement” (my italics).

Mulcair told me himself that the hope is to have the coalition last for two budget cycles, which would effectively mean the “mission” or its end date will not be “a point of disagreement” with the Liberals until 2010. That seems like a fairly significant change in position within the NDP.

Two budget cycles also means the NDP will have to work with the Liberals on the Afghanistan occupation under an Obama administration. Pressure is already coming from the U.S. to “stay the course.”

Not only that, Michael Ignatieff is still a strong supporter of the occupation of Afghanistan, if I’m not mistaken? Surely the NDP will have a tough time on avoiding a “point of disagreement” on Afghanistan under Iggy.

The coalition is still the most viable option in my eyes, even if supporting it is nothing more than a gesture in preparation for an election, but its kinks must continue to be worked out publicly before the MPs return to Ottawa.

Is John Shafer’s outrage well founded or not?

See Why Obama is Bad for Canada

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