Ottawa Citizen

Chrétien was right


Canadians owe thanks to Paul Short, a Newfoundla­nd man whose son is a medic at Petawawa who is scheduled to be sent to Afghanista­n early next year. Mr. Short has expressed his objection to Canada’s involvemen­t in Afghanista­n.

Mr. Short has removed the stigma for us Canadians who are opposed to Canada’s participat­ion in the Afghanista­n disaster. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and many of his supporters have accused Canadians who speak out against the use of Canadian military in Afghanista­n of failing to support our soldiers.

That has not been true of most Canadians, and now Mr. Short has made it clear that it is acceptable for ordinary Canadian citizens to oppose the government’s policy of sending troops to an unwinnable war. That opposition in no way diminishes our support of the young men and women who wear Canadian colours.

The decision by Paul Martin’s Liberal government to involve Canada in Afghanista­n was a mistake. The decision of Stephen Harper’s government to extend Canada’s commitment made the mistake worse. Mr. Harper will undoubtedl­y learn what American president George W. Bush is learning from his citizens.

Canadians are growing increasing­ly unhappy with Canadians soldiers being sent to a senseless war, just as Americans are unhappy with their troops being involved in Iraq. Mr. Bush's party is about to lose control of the U. S. House of Representa­tives, largely because of his war policy. That may soon happen to Mr. Harper.

I was never a big fan of former prime minister Jean Chrétien, but he had it right when he told the United States that Canada would not become involved in America’s Middle East debacle. JOE SPENCE,


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