Monday, January 21, 2008

Canada's Future Role In Afghanistan: Independent Panel (Manley) Report Imminent

The Independent Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan, headed by former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley, is about to release its report, probably tomorrow. The panel is expected to recommend that Canada's military engagement continue to 2011 - a course of action the National Post suggests could be suicidal for Stephen Harper's Conservative government.

In any event, it is the course of action recommended by the newly formed Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee in
its submission to the panel, which I am proud to say I co-authored. I'm less proud of my inattention to the work of helping to get the Solidarity Committee properly set up. The website is a work in progress. We haven't even issued a news release yet.

But I am certainly very proud of all those people who have committed themselves to the Solidarity Committee's basic position on the question of Canada's role in Afghanistan: "Stay. Human rights are universal. The UN wants us there. A military component is vital and necessary." I'm perhaps especially proud of my friends on the left who have committed themselves to this position, which is heretical and wildly unpopular in many leftist circles these days.

For me, the key statement in the Solidarity Committee's position is this one:

We recognize the conflict in Afghanistan as a liberation struggle, waged by the Afghan people and their allies, against oppression, against obscurantism, illiteracy, and the most brutal forms of misogyny. It is a fight for democracy, and for peace, order, and good government. It is also a struggle waged by the sovereign Government of Afghanistan, a member state of the United Nations, against illegal armed groups that seek to overturn the democratic will of the Afghan people. In Afghanistan, the great global struggle for the recognition and protection of basic human rights – universal rights - is being waged with a particular and necessary ferocity. We cannot and must not retreat from that struggle.

Across the board, the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee is fine company to be keeping. Its founding members are:

Zachary Miles Baddorf, Journalist in Vancouver; Colette Belanger, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WA) Board of Directors, Simon Bessette, LL.B candidate, University of New Brunswick; Melaney Black, CW4WA, Victoria; Natalie K Bjorklund, MD, University of Manitoba; Marc-Andre Boivin, researcher, Université du Québec à Montréal Peacekeeping research group member; John Boon, Liberal Party activist; Ken Bryant, Associate Professor, Asian Studies, University of British Columbia; Jennifer Button, CW4WA – Victoria; Iona Campagnolo, PC, CM, OBC, Former Lt. Gov., British Columbia; Dominic Cardy, NGO director, Nepal, New Brunswick New Democratic Party; Mark Collins, Canadian Embassy, Kabul, 1975-77; Natasha Cowan, McGill University, business graduate; Stewart John Cunningham, Sess. Instructor, Historical Studies, U of T Mississauga; Steven Davis, Academics for Higher Education and Development, Montreal; Judith Desautels, Supporter, CW4WA, Amnesty International; Janice Eisenhauer, Executive Director, CW4WA; Lois Edwards, CW4WA, Manitoba; Cheshmak Farhoumand-Sims, peace and gender researcher on Afghanistan; L. Chris Fox, Doctoral Candidate, University of Victoria; Paul Franks, Professor, Philosophy, University of Toronto; John Fraser, P.C., O.C., O.B.C., C.D., Q.C., LL.D. (Hon.); Terry Glavin, Author, journalist, adjunct professor, UBC; Stephen Glanzberg, law student; Sanja Golic, MA researcher (Afghanistan education); Robert Gillies, Citizen, Toronto, Ontario; Richard Gordon, MD, Professor, University of Winnipeg (Books with Wings); Robert Harlow, Novelist, British Columbia; Najia Haneefi, Former Executive director, Afghan Women's Education Centre, Kabul; Daniel King, President, Conservative McGill; Ian King, Journalist, Columnist, Vancouver; Robert D. Lane, Res. Associate, Phil. & Religion, Malaspina U College; OJ Lavoie, Environment activist, McGill University; Jill Leslie, CW4WAfghan - Victoria Chapter; Bruce Lyth, British Columbia Young Liberals, vice-president; Flora MacDonald, PC, CC, O. Ont.Chair of CARE Canada; Dave Mann, Brantford, Ontario New Democrat, Euston Canada; Mark Masongsong, Liberal Party activist; Doug McArthur, Professor of Public Policy, SFU; Jim Monk, Ontario gay rights, trade union activist; Gareth Morley, Lawyer, Victoria; Jonathon Narvey, Journalist, editor, copywriter, Vancouver; Lyle Neff, Poet, journalist, critic, Vancouver; Lauryn Oates, Vice-president, CW4WA; Tom O'Neill, Associate Professor, Social Sciences, Brock University; David A. Pariser, Professor, Art Education, Concordia University; Ben Parfitt, Journalist, researcher, Victoria; Stan Persky, Writer, philosophy instructor, Capilano College; Karim Qayumi, Afghan-Canadian community leader, Professor, Director of Excellence for Surgical Education and Innovation, Vancouver; John Richards, Professor, Public Policy Program, SFU; Ferooz Sekandarpoor, Production Manager, Ariana (Afghan) TV, Vancouver; Madeliene Tarasick, CW4WA, Kingston; Beryl Wasjman, Institute for Public Affairs – Montreal; Axel Van Den Berg, Professor, Sociology, McGill University; Morton Weinfeld, Sociology professor, McGill University; Ariana Yaftali, Afghan-Canadian, Manitoba.

Stay tuned. Visit the site from time to time. Join. Open to all Canadians.


Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

I'm shocked,shocked that Blazingcatfur wasn't invited to sign up for this fine committee;) Kudo's to you all, fine stuff indeed!

2:22 PM  
Blogger TonyGuitar said...

Flora is a little error prone these days. She re-read a page during her talk on CPAC last night.

No matter. She is an excellent lady of logic and principle.

I didn*t think much of the very articulate young man who followed her with theories of moving the Canadians out of Kandahar to other towns.

He speaks brilliantly but the theory is simply stupid.

Canadians know the place and the have a feel for possible problems there.

Shifting to a new location means suffering surprises and losses.

Shifting RCMP around Canada can lead to loss of learned advantage as well. = TG

4:18 PM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Oh Terry, they don't like this at all on Rabble/Babble:

5:13 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Rabblers: Some intelligence, some craziness, but mostly the moans of the dying.

Thankyou for your notices, Blazer, no matter our differences.


6:04 PM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

"..but mostly the moans of the dying."

True, and thank you for your efforts. Humanity trumps differences every time.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Will said...

"Humanity trumps differences every time."

No it doesn't.

Idealist and fantasist.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Aw Will, Why such little faith in human kind tsk tsk? Hope is our best hope.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Wet Coaster said...

Thanks for the post Terry! And thanks for being there...a kindred spirit.

7:37 PM  
Blogger dirk buchholz said...

Terry said..."It is a fight for democracy, and for peace, order, and good government. It is also a struggle waged by the sovereign Government of Afghanistan, a member state of the United Nations, against illegal armed groups that seek to overturn the democratic will of the Afghan people. In Afghanistan, the great global struggle for the recognition and protection of basic human rights – universal rights - is being waged with a particular and necessary ferocity"....

You really believe that the government is fighting for human rights?
According to Afghan Malalai Joya an elected Afghan MP banned from Parliament for speaking her mind,I believe they call that democracy,a human right,freedom of expression.
That assertion is untrue she says..."In 2005, Joya was the youngest person to win a seat in the Afghan parliament's lower house, the Wolesi Jirga (House of the People).

....Her foes in parliament belong to the Northern Alliance, a faction of warlords and ethnic groups who have historically fought against the Taliban. She criticizes the warlords for being no better than their rivals -- "a photocopy," she says -- and claims they committed atrocities after the former Soviet Union left Afghanistan in 1992"....

and..."Canadian soldiers fighting the Taliban are unwittingly promoting U.S. foreign policy, which is propping up a corrupt government"...

and..."Instead, Canada must lend moral and material support to "freedom-loving democratic parties" that can't even afford to print party literature, and non-government organizations, with a proven track record, that can't finish key projects aimed at rebuilding the nation.

...."You can support them instead of giving billions of dollars to the pockets of this corrupt government," says Joya, whose incendiary comments about the government earlier this year got her suspended from parliament for three years.

...."Today 80 per cent of the members of parliament are warlords, drug lords and criminals ... They have deceived people around the world. They have a democratic mask on but they do not believe in it."

You say there is no military solution so then why are Cnd kids dying it's going on 7 years now since Cnd went in,nothing much has changed.
Experts say the Taliban are stronger than ever and there is just no way NATO can win and in all liklihood will pull out,the only question is when.
Sure we shed Cnd blood but so did many foreign armies.
Sorry I just don't get it.
I believe Joya is right we can help by supporting the real democratic forces inside Afghan.Not those in the government that pocket millions of aid dollars for them selves and to increase their own power.Not democracy,not freedom not womens rights etc etc.
I just don't understand how one can expect anything much to come from the warlords and former Taliban that dominate the government.
To me it seems they are all to happy to pocket aid monies so long as the foreigners & NATO remain.Soon as NATO pull out,and that will happen,they will just go back to the way they were before.Once again,the Joya's and RAWA's of Afghanistan will be left to fend for themselves in their struggle to bring real democratic change.When orgs such as RAWA criticize one has to pay attention they have been struggling since the soviet invasion days.They know their own country they know change will only come from within from the grassroots.
I find it telling when RAWA was criticizing the Soviets and war lords etc,etc the West had nothing but good word,now that RAWA is critical of the Western backed government they are shunned and ignored.
I believe That many Cnd skepticism about Western actions inside Afghan is a very reasonable.There are just to many inconsistencies and 7 years in the void between words and deeds seems wider than ever.
Anyway just some thoughts.

10:31 PM  
Blogger kurt said...

I support this effort in all respects and wish Dion and Layton would change their positions. This is a peacekeeping job. My heart breaks with each life lost, but we mustn't back down, just as we wouldn't let the RCMP back down to gangsters and petty thugs. And as Mayerthorpe proved, to the dismay of conspiracy theorists everywhere, it only takes a single, lonely crackpot to unleash terror on many.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

"The Afghan mission is a noble one"


1:29 PM  

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