Thu 2 Aug 2007
A continued presence in Afghanistan is very unlikely to win the federal Conservative government new converts, but it could very well cause the Conservatives to lose the next election. So the status quo is probably not an option for the government.
A cynic – or a student of public opinion – might have predicted that Canada’s Afghanistan mission was politically doomed from the start.
Since Lester Pearson was awarded the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize, Canadians have had a 50-year love affair with their self-image as “honest brokers,” “a middle power,” and (the most prized and emotionally charged of all) “peacekeepers.” Launching a combat mission in a country that posed neither a tangible threat nor opportunity for Canada and Canadians simply did not resonate with that self-image – indeed, the very act of fighting affronts our notion of Canada as “the peaceable kingdom.”