Friday, September 18, 2009

Tory secret agenda on Afghanistan?

This doubles as nomination news:

Former ambassador to Afghanistan Chris Alexander will run for the Tories in Ajax-Pickering, apparently after declining to run for the Liberals over disagreeing with the party stance on Afghanistan.

As recently as six weeks ago Canada's former ambassador to Afghanistan met with Mr. Ignatieff for what party sources said were talks about a Liberal candidacy – a conversation culminating with Mr. Ignatieff stating the party would not budge from its support for ending Canada's combat role in Afghanistan in 2011.

...He said he at no time demanded the Liberals change their policy on ending Canada's combat role as a condition for running for them. He said he would not challenge a decision made by Parliament. The 2011 deadline was approved both by the Liberals and the Conservatives.
Mr. Alexander has said there should not be a deadline for terminating combat operations and there should be more international troops on the ground.

So here is the thing. He said he won't run for the Liberals because he is against the Liberal policy of ending the combat role in 2011....which is a policy also shared by the Conservatives, at least in theory. Did the Harper Tories cut a deal on a crucial policy issue to land their first star candidate? Are the Conservatives planning on re-thinking the combat mission if re-elected?


Anonymous said...

He probably wanted a comfy riding and the Liberals said no.

Patrick Ross said...

Unfortunately, Peter MacKay hasn't said much about Canada's military role in Afghanistan after 2011, except that there will be a role. Not necessarily a combat role in Khandahar, but a role of some kind.

I wouldn't want to see Canadian humanitarian workers left in Afghanistan without Canadian troops there to protect them.

Whatever MacKay is planning for Canada's post-2011 role, I'd agree that the onus is on him to start talking, and very soon.

Then again -- "Hidden agenda?" Don't be silly. Or at least switch to rhetoric that isn't so embarassingly beyond its best-before date.