Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday May 20, 2006
Our troops: The Liberal message
On a day a female Canadian soldier was killed taking a courageous stand in Afghanistan, the Liberals that sent her there didn’t have the guts to make a stand in the House of Commons.
The Liberals refused as a party to support or oppose an extension of the mission by two years and allowed MPs to vote their conscience or lack of it. It was a calculating, cowardly move that gives the party room to wiggle in the future depending on how the winds of war shape public opinion.
The Bloc Quebecois and New Democratic Party voted against extending the mission, and while that sends a deflating message to the troops abroad, the stance of both parties was at least principled and firm. The Conservatives voted in favour of extending the mission and 24 Liberals, including interim leader Bill Graham and leadership hopefuls Michael Ignatieff and Scott Brison, joined them. The motion to extend the mission passed by a margin of 149-145.
Not only did the Liberals fail to take a position on this vital issue but several Grits, including former prime minister Paul Martin, didn’t even bother to show up for the vote. When Prime Minister Stephen Harper rose in Parliament to argue in favour of the extension, only 26 of 102 Liberals MPs were there to hear him. Martin led the Liberal party when it sent our troops to Afghanistan without a parliamentary vote. (Source: Windsor Star)