Saturday, November 18, 2006

Canadian Conservatives Remain Committed To Afghanistan Mission

Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor said the Conservative government hasn’t done enough to sell the public on Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. But despite souring public opinion and mounting opposition from other parties, the Conservatives won’t back down from Canada’s commitment and will make the military an election issue if it has to, O’Connor said at the final day of a NATO conference in Quebec City. “Our government is prepared to defend our commitment in Afghanistan,” O’Connor said. “Whenever the next election comes and I hope it’s a long way off, we are defend from a defence point of view and a foreign affairs point of view, our commitment in Afghanistan.”
Canadian Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor speak at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Quebec City.
O’Connor spoke to nearly 350 delegates from 26 countries in Quebec City and emphasized the need for more support from NATO countries in Afghanistan and a committed, dedicated involvement in the military mission. The defence minister faced tough questions from countries such as Estonia and Portugal, who questioned the fact the Conservatives haven’t been able to gain public support for the Afghanistan mission. His stop in Quebec City came after a public relations dash across the country designed to beef up public support for Canada’s role in Afghanistan. He made stops in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto before heading to the NATO meeting in Quebec. Since 2002, 42 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed in Afghanistan.