Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Positive Ignatieff Surprise

Our opposition leader gave a foreign policy speech yesterday and part of it seemed positive to me; and apparently to Terry Glavin, who serves as our national conscience-watcher on Afghanistan.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is finally taking the brave lead of Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae ( "We have an obligation to see this thing through . . . . The door is open to serious discussion in Canada and between Canada and NATO about what the future looks like"), for which Rae has been so churlishly traduced. Ignatieff is calling for a "frank national conversation" about Canada in Afghanistan post-2011.
This is good. This is also the view of many Conservative MPs, although it is not the view from the Prime Minister's office, where Stephen Harper sits glumly, wanting no debate about it, and wanting shut of the entire business, content to allow his ministers to look like idiots whenever the subject comes up. So, good for Ignatieff.
Glavin is not naive and recognizes several qualifications in the discussion and is able to challenge Ignatieff to engage fully.
But I agree that raising this question, and not simply allowing a draw-down of forces we have there without a discussion of post-2011 roles, is a great step. Maybe it would allow the Conservatives to do what they likely naturally want to do but fear politically. Ignatieff seems to be giving them space. Is he perhaps a good person?


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