Lib­eral, NDP have lost per­spec­tive

The Compass - - OPINION -

The United Na­tions con­firms that ISIL threat­ens thou­sands with mur­der, sex­ual vi­o­lence, and tor­ture. ISIL also di­rectly tar­gets Cana­di­ans at home and abroad. Ed­mund Burke said “the only thing nec­es­sary for the tri­umph of evil is for good men to do noth­ing.”

Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper pro­posed to do some­thing. The pro­posal was rea­son­able, bal­anced and limited. It’s on­line for all to see. Par­lia­ment de­bated this pro­posal. De­bate was un­der­stand­ably ex­pected by op­po­si­tion party lead­ers who said Canada shouldn’t de­cide be­fore a de­bate.

Then — be­fore the de­bate, they de­cided! So steeped in their own du­bi­ous anti-Con­ser­va­tive nar­ra­tives, so mas­tered by the ha­tred and fear those nar­ra­tives foster, the Lib­eral and NDP lead­ers op­posed fight­ing ISIL. It was shame­ful.

This hedg­ing con­trasted badly with 92 per cent ap­proval of the Bri­tish Par­lia­ment for mil­i­tary ac­tion. Two thirds of Cana­di­ans support the mis­sion. Two for­mer NDP Pre­miers who were also se­nior fed­eral Lib­er­als — Uj­jal Dosanjh and Bob Rae — support ac­tion against ISIL.

For­mer Lib­eral For­eign Af­fairs min­is­ter Lloyd Ax­wor­thy wants ISIL “whacked good.” For­mer NDP premier Gary Doer sup­ports the mis­sion. For­mer Lib­eral se­na­tor Gen. Romeo Dal­laire wants more than airstrikes. The Lib­eral and NDP lead­ers ig­nored them all.

The NDP’s de­bate con­tri­bu­tion was naïve smoke. Be­sides tac­ti­cal non se­quiturs, they tried dress­ing the mo­tion as the Iraq in­va­sion from 10 years ago, ig­nor­ing Iraq’s re­quest for as­sis­tance, clear mis­sion ob­jec­tives, UN Res­o­lu­tions and in­volve­ment of past in­va­sion op­po­nents like France.

Lib­er­als and NDP falsely im­plied the choice was airstrikes ver­sus aid. They didn’t think Cana­di­ans would read the mo­tion – which sup­ports Canada’s U.N-praised on­go­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian ef­forts.

Lib­eral leader Justin Trudeau’s and NDP leader Thomas Mul­cair’s pri­or­ity was hat­ing the Prime Min­is­ter. They lost per­spec­tive. Their choice il­lus­trates per­fectly why they must never lead this coun­try.

— Michael O’Brien writes from Buchans

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