Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege and an honour to speak in this debate today.
I do have a question for my hon. colleague across the way. This kind of reminds me of a lot of the rhetoric that we heard on the budget. I am happy to hear the member say he is going to support the extension of the mission to 2011. It has taken a while, but the opposition has finally come to its senses and has recognized that this is the logical and right thing to do. I am glad to hear those members are supporting this. Although my colleague is trying to invent a few reasons as to why he is opposed to it, at the end of the day he is still going to support it.
Could the member tell me, in his opinion, why the members of the NDP and the members of the Bloc are basically opposed to anything and everything? Maybe that is why they will never form a government. They talk about pulling our troops out of Afghanistan and sending them to Darfur, where not even the people we would be trying to help really and truly want them. That government does not want our troops there and it has said that even peacekeepers will be slaughtered. Why do those members continue down that road?
I would like to hear the member speak a bit more about the safety, et cetera, of the compound in Afghanistan. I have talked to numerous soldiers who have come back from there. If that member has not done so, I suggest that he do. With all due respect, I take their comments above even those of my Prime Minister and my defence minister, because those soldiers have been there. They have “seen that, done that”, as the old saying goes. We have to talk to these people.
Let me get back to my question about the compound. If we do not protect and secure the area around it, our young men and women are going to be like sitting ducks. Why does the member not seem to realize that security is not necessarily combat? I would like him to comment on the fact that we have not lost a soldier in Afghanistan to actual hand to hand combat in over a year, although I am not sure of the exact date. I think that says something. It is a different kind of warfare in Afghanistan. I would like to hear the member's comments.