Mr. Speaker, the member for Halifax should wait until 7 o'clock tonight because what we are debating today is this: “That the House take note of the on-going national discussion about Canada's role in Afghanistan”. I realize they are related.
She talked about members of the military responding to the call of duty. Yes, they do. I can tell members that the hundreds of military members I have talked to also have a very clear assessment of the NDP's position on this. I could repeat it, but it would be using decidedly unparliamentary language so I will not.
The member talked about having NATO leave and having the UN come in. Who the heck does she think the 39 members of ISAF are? Who the heck does she think the 60 members who signed the Afghanistan Compact are, if not members of the United Nations?
She also displays a complete lack of understanding of what NATO does besides military operations.
She talks about military-only operations. Nobody has ever suggested that this is a military-only mission. What she is talking about by taking out NATO and taking out protection is that she in effect would be committing to massacre thousands of aid workers from the UN who would go in there without security. No responsible government is going to do that, and certainly not ours.
She talks about the 1:10 ratio of aid to war fighting. Again, she fails to understand or fails to acknowledge that a very large proportion of that number of 10 is made up of Canadian soldiers carrying out aid operations and reconstruction operations such as rebuilding and so on. The NDP members completely disregard that because it does not fit their socialist ideology.
However, I have a question for the member. She talked about the conflict in Afghanistan being between the Afghan people and regional players and said that if we take the side of the Afghan people we somehow are being biased. Does she honestly believe that the Afghan people, the democratic government of Afghanistan, is on an equal footing with a terrorist organization such as the Taliban, which has brutalized that country and brutalized those people for so many years? If that is what she honestly believes, then the assessment of the military members I have talked to is, regrettably, accurate.