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October 18, 2007


Gus Khouri

Hang in there Joan! we WILL save this country when the time is right and give Canada back to Canadians.

Darryl Wolk

Hi Joan,

First of all thank you for your coverage during the provincial election campaign. I thought it was balanced and I think the Era Banner did a great job covering the local campaigns.

I also want to express my sympathies for the loss of your uncle. I also have two cousins who are serving in the US navy and are currently stationed in the Gulf not far from Iran.

With regards to this particular comment, I just want to post my thoughts for the record...

"Why is it when a Conservative government talks, we never hear the word ceasefire. Instead of focusing on stopping war, the plan is to beef up our military to keep the battle going."

In terms of Iraq, I was opposed to this war in 2003 and agree that it is likely the biggest disaster in the history of America's foreign policy. I also want to mention that during the war with Lebanon in the summer of 2006, I was calling for a ceasefire after day one because I felt civilians were paying a higher price than Hezbollah. I also stand firm against any kind of preemptive strike against Iran. Many Conservatives prefer a pro-peace position and polling shows that even in our own party, opposition exists with regards to the combat mission in Afghanistan. Everyone hates to see flag draped coffins coming home from the battle field.

With regards to Afghanistan, I believe it is different from the other three situations I mention above. First, the mission is supported by the United Nations and NATO as oppose to Iraq where the decision was unilateral. Second the status of human rights under the Taliban goes without saying, especially for women. It is also clear that the same regime was harboring Osama Bin Laden who used the country as a launch pad for 9/11. Third, Harper expressed support for continuing the work in Afghanistan until 2011. The panel with John Manley and a vote in parliament will determine if the combat mission itself extends past 2009. If parliament or the panel recommends we stop the combat mission, notice will be provided to our allies by April 2008 at the latest. The following four options will be looked at:

1. Continue training the Afghan army and police so Canada can begin withdrawing its forces in February 2009;

2. Focus on reconstruction and have forces from another country take over security in Kandahar;

3. Shift Canadian security and reconstruction effort to another region in Afghanistan;

4. Withdraw all Canadian military except a minimal force to protect aid workers and diplomats.

I do not think Stephen Harper is glorifying war. In fact he is dealing with a war that Liberals initially signed on to and later half of them voted to extend. I think that he wants to make sure that the 71 sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers leads to tangible results for the people of Afghanistan. I think the debate shouldn't focus on an arbitrary date to withdraw forces but instead look at ways to bring peace to Afghanistan; potentially by negotiating a spot in the government for the Taliban in exchange for them laying down their weapons and renouncing violence. If Canada and its allies all pulled out now, obviously the country would return to the same situation that existed in 2001. In that case, I think the loss of 71 soldiers would be for nothing.

Until 2009, we need to focus on nation building, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, talks with all groups that represent the population in Afghanistan and also efforts to get better cooperation from Pakistan and Iran, both of whom are allowing weapons and insurgents to cross freely across their borders with Afghanistan. There needs to be a plan on the political solution as well as the military solution. At the same time it is impossible to build schools without providing the security to make sure they do not get blown up.

With regards to the rest of the column, I completely agree. It is impossible for Liberals to spin anything other than the fact that they are acting like cowards by allowing this throne speech to pass if they disagree with it. I also agree that Dion has no backbone, and that is one of the reasons why the entire country knows that he is not a leader. Finally I think it is a disgrace how the Liberal party is allowing two good candidates in Tim and Gus to be strung along while Dion decides if he is going to appoint a woman in the riding to fill his quota. Stars in Quebec have already pulled their nomination papers and I suspect Ontario will need to fill many more ridings with candidates unless Dion makes a decision on something soon. In Newmarket-Aurora, Conservatives will be ready to hit the polls whenever an election is called.

Keep up the good work with your blog Joan. It has become a very good read.

Glenn Hubbers

Thought provoking post as usual, Joan.

With respect to the Liberals position on the throne speech, I can't disagree with you. The best I can say is that voting it down may have been playing Stephen Harpers game and he clearly wants an election so there will be plenty of opportunities coming up to vote against bad Conservative legislation and send us to the polls.

The Green Party is ready for that election at any time, as noted in Elizabeth May's reaction to the throne speech which you can see through my blog entry http://hubbers.ca/blog/2007/10/17/elizabeth-may-reacts-to-the-throne-speech/

On our role in Afghanistan, while there may have been good reasons for the world to step in and help the people of Afghanistan shed their Taliban rulers and restore the progessive society they once had, George Bush's ill-named "War On Terror" was not the right reason. I believe that the major cost for this help should have been borne by the Americans and Russians, since it was they who used Afghanistan as a pawn in their cold war and screwed it up in the first place.

All that said, the Green Party believes it would be irresponsible to abandon the people of Afghanistan now and we believe that the mission there needs to change it's focus. All of the details of our proposal are available in our Vision Green policy document which you can read at www.greenparty.ca Please refer to page 94.

As to your assessment that the Harper government is doing nothing for Canadians with respect to Climate Change, I could not agree more.

I don't entirely disagree with the Conservatives assessment of the Liberal record as abysmal, although it needs to be noted that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives fought even those half-measures that the Liberals did manage. And to continue to register that complaint with no effort to correct the situation is hypocritical to the extreme.

This is the greatest crisis facing humanity today, and we have no leadership from either of the countries two largest political parties. The Conservatives continue to find ways to do the absolute minimum whenever they can't take the do-nothing-at-all approach. You are correct in saying the Harper government should be removed from office ASAP.

We are ready to go to the polls at any time that the opposition parties finally bring down this government, and we look forward to Canadians taking an honest look at who has the best policies on these files.

Glenn Hubbers, P.Eng.
Green Party of Canada

Frank Gallagher

Attorney General 2007

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When you are in need of Justice don’t look to the SNOWMAN for he will melt before your eyes


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Joan Ransberry


Veteran reporter Joan Ransberry has seen and heard it all in the many years of covering municipal, regional, provincial and federal politics. Not afraid to blow the whistle, poke fun or venture where others won't go, her blog takes a peek at the human, the stupid and goofy side of government.


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