The Coles Notes on last night's Afghanistan vote: The NDP is opposed to the ill-defined mission in Kandahar. They were in November 2005 when Paul Martin began it and that hasn't changed. They could not vote for a Liberal motion that endorsed that mission until 2009. It's as simple as that.
But today, Liberals (and their proxies) are declaring victory because their motion was defeated. (It’s been a tough couple of months for the party that made a deal with another party that over 60% of Canadians don’t support, so one can expect them to celebrate just about anything.)
But saying that the NDP was "helping" the Conservatives on the vote - as A6 of the Toronto Star blasts today - is trafficking in the same garbage as when Harper says the NDP and the Taliban are on the same side in opposing the war. It’s tortured logic (er, sorry, Iggy).
The NDP wants this ill-defined mission to end. Not to wait until 2009.
Less than a year ago, 66 Liberal MPs – including Stéphane Dion - voted with the NDP against extending the mission to 2009.
But today the Liberals are in favour of the mission. Bryon Wilfret said so in the House only six days ago: "We support this mission. Any suggestion that we do not is pure fallacy."
But today the Liberals have agreed to Harper's timeline. Their motion would keep Canada in an ill-defined mission for another two years. This isn't leadership at all.
The Liberal motion was all theatre. As Richard Warnica says over at The Tyee, "Canada’s mission to Afghanistan is already scheduled to end in 2009. So what exactly this motion would have meant isn’t entirely clear."
If the Liberals still need some tutoring on what the NDP vote meant, they only need ask their backroom-deal partner Elizabeth May. Stephen LaFrenie, her candidate in the Toronto riding of Trinty-Spadina has figured out. Perhaps he can explain it s-l-o-w-l-y to them:
"Jack Layton and the NDP were not agreeing with the Conservatives. They were continuing their stance of withdrawal which they took up in September. Once again the liberals play politics while avoiding taking a stand on real principle"