Wednesday, March 15, 2006

HARPER IN AFGHANISTAN

There's really not much more for me to add about Stephen Harper's visit to Afghanistan that hasn't already been written. Needless to say I'm proud of the Prime Minister for going to see our troops. But more than that, I'm proud to be a Canadian.

To have our Prime Minister go over there to Afghanistan to give his support to our troops over there is a boost for their morale. It's the pat on the back that these people need from our country. It's great to see people giving the troops the encouragement and support that they deserve, and to let them know we support them.

Moreover, I think this visit casts the Canadian Armed Forces in a whole new light. For too long, the armed forces has been the butt of derision from people across this country. It's been all bad news about our armed forces lately- about the sorry state of the military's resources, about whether or not we should even be there fighting an "American" war, and so on. The military was blasted repeatedly in campaign ads across the country, as if having a military was something we ought to be ashamed of. They aren't.

What this visit has shown is that the Afghan people appreciate and support the Canadian efforts to rebuild their country after years of Taliban dictatorship. And the Canadian forces are clearly glad to be there- even though they face danger from the Taliban, terrorist elements, and so on. These were people you wanted to cheer for, these troops over there. Our boys--- and girls.

Seeing Harper there with the troops on TV- I'll tell you, it felt like we were taking charge of our own sovereignty, taking up our responsibilities in the world and not leaving it up to these other countries. This is a good thing. You know, it's been a mixed bag for this new Prime Minister. On some issues he's been as ruthless and ham-fisted as his predecessors, but on other issues, like this one, his approach has been a breath of fresh air. Harper looked like a real world leader there, ready to honor Canada's commitments to freedom and human rights around the world. It's no longer going to be just talk about human rights from our country. We'll actually be doing something about making the world a better place.

No longer is Canada prepared to shirk its responsibilities to the rest of the world. No longer is Canada going to sit on the sidelines. What a welcome change.

I gotta say, it feels great to be a Canadian again.

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