Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pat Martin breaks with Layton on Afghanistan

What was that Jack Layton and the left was saying about the Liberals being divided on Afghanistan? The Hill Times is reporting that another of his MPs, Pat Martin, has broken ranks with Layton and and come out against an immediate withdrawl of Canada's troops from Afghanistan. Another NDP MP, Peter Stoffer, was already on the record against immediate withdrawl.

Said Martin:

"I'm more of a Manitoba New Democrat point of view, which [is that] we don't support the idea of the immediate withdrawal of troops. The Taliban train Al-Qaeda to bomb North America and this has been the reason for the international community to try and stop the Taliban. Therefore, it's a good reason for Canada to be part of that initiative," said Mr. Martin, referring to Manitoba Premier Gary Doer's comments also on the weekend to CTV NewsNet that, "The Taliban that we're fighting basically protected the terrorists that were involved five years ago in the 9-11 attack-which included the killing of innocent victims from Manitoba-and so I don't like any anti-military talk."

Perhaps there are a few rays of sanity within the NDP. How long will it be, though, before they're devoured by the ideologues?

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Olaf said...

Good question.

I find it odd that some NDP members are breaking ranks because of Layton's refusal to act as if he believed that they could form a government, to which he responds by going after fringe pacifist votes which are already NDP supporters, and alienating the rest of the country in the process.

Not a very insightful comment, I know, but I am constantly perplexed by the NDP and their supporters, and vent at each possible opportunity to maintain my fragile sanity.

Here's a unrelated question: if a Liberal leader pledged to meet the 0.7% of GDP foreign aid target, could he swipe some of the altruistic NDP votes?

Jeff said...

I think we should pedge to meet it, but since we already made that pledge when in government and didn't get there I think it's vote swaying power has probably disipated. I think though that there is room for growth on the sensible left.

Anonymous said...

Pat Martin? I'm shocked. He's usually in cloud of his own (certifiable if you ask me).

Hmmm. The NDP would have a little trouble now attacking the Liberals on their divisivness.

Anonymous said...

NDP divided?

That Liberal talking point won't go far.

What was the vote from the grassroots in favour of withdrawal at the convention?

Near 100%.

I'd like to hear more on your proposition that pacifism is an "ideology." If you believe this is so, would you also include Christianity, Judaism, Islam as "Ideologies"?

Say what you will about pacifism, it has a long, distinguished history in Canada that goes back to J.S. Woodsworth and the habitants. It still resonates with many Canadians -- obviously this does not include you.

Mike said...

Hey, there are a lot of us at the grassroots that don't support and immediate withdrawl, including myself and the candidate I worked for in the last election.

Are the NDP divided on this? You bet. Gerard Kennedy has the right approach as far as I'm concerned.

Look for more of this kind of thing I think.

Anonymous said...


If you still support the NDP, you should be clear on this issue, and don't give the Liberals ammunition.

You estimate on your own blog that 10% of the grassroots might support a modified, strictly peace-keeping mission in Afghanistan.

10% hardly makes a divided party.

Also, as the above comment states, pacificism in the NDP goes back to its founding as the CCF by Woodsworth -- who actually voted against WWII in the debate in the Commons in 1939. (Though I believe other CCF MP's voted for).

Both positions pro, anti-Afghanistan are within the NDP historical tradition.

Olaf said...

I think we should pedge to meet it, but since we already made that pledge when in government and didn't get there I think it's vote swaying power has probably disipated.

I guess I was talking about a substantive pledge. Like we will meet X by Y. I think there are votes to be won on that.

Anonymous said...

I think it's important which NDP'rs were against the immediate withdrawal - the "high profile" NDP'rs which I think is important.

Jeff said...

It's not a talking point wrestler, it's an observation. A fact. And if you want to talk per centages, what per centage of your caucus is now offside here? And they are, as anon 12:24 observed, two very senior members of your caucus.

And this isn't about pacifism wrestler. We have a volunteer army, no one is being forced to fight. This is about foreign policy. But if the NDP wants to adopt a completly pacificst foreign policy, that go for it. No itnervention in Darfur, sure, let's disband the militaty too. See how much support that finds from Canadians.

Mike said...


I am following my conscience on this and I don't give a damn who that give ammo to. As Jeff has pointed out, we have two very high profile caucus members disagreeing with the policy. My former candidate disagrees with the policy. I have recieved e-mails and comments form others. I don't think that 10% at the convention really reflects the divsions on this in the rest of the party.

I still agree with most of the party platform, but I can;t agree with this and I am willing to admit when we are divided.

Its not like the Libs are a solid front on this anyway...

Anonymous said...

It's not just about the Libs are divided also. It's about the NDP strategists when on a panel discussion on TV constantly bash the Liberals for being divided. The thing that is different here, the Liberals are in renewal and of course there will be differences. The NDP are NOT in renewal and divided on issues and losing key people is not looking too good.

Manitoba Liberal said...

The Federal NDP could use a lot more of the sensible Manitoba NDP'ers and less of the pie in the sky far-lefties.

Gary Doer, Roy Rommonow, Ed Sheryer, Bob Rae, Mike Harcourt have all governed. Something the federal NDP has never and will never do unless they purge themselves of the wackaloons that are drawn to the party and emerge as a centre-left option.

I had some hope that Layton was making that move, but it seems he is caving in to the majority wackaloon NDP activist base.