Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Meeting in Ottawa tonight: "Afghan report argues for Canadian presence after troops depart"/Audio Update

Further to this post (with event details),
Afstan and Canada: Tuesday, March 9, Ottawa--come to this if you can
a story in the Toronto Star:
Canada should maintain a presence in Afghanistan even after its troops leave next year, a new report says.

But the priority needs to become building up Afghanistan's civil society, investing in education and upgrading the country's shockingly low literacy rate, according to the survey by the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee. The report draws on extensive interviews with Afghan Canadians and Afghans, ranging from war lords to women's rights activists.

Canada should not be shy about using its influence to pressure the Afghan government toward democracy, according to Terry Glavin, lead author of the report, being released Tuesday in Ottawa.

"What people told us was not to be (afraid) of treading on Afghan sovereignty," Glavin said. "We must tell the president that rule of law is important."

A blue-ribbon panel is to discuss the committee's findings Tuesday. Members include retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie; Nipa Banerjee, former head of the Canadian International Development Agency in Afghanistan; Afghan ambassador Jawed Ludin and Douglas Bland, chair of defence management studies at Queen's University [more here]...
Plus from Canwest News:
Canada needs to take 'serious look' at Afghan role: Report

Canadian officials need to "grow up" and start talking seriously about the country's role in Afghanistan once the military mission there ends in 2011, says a document to be released at a public event in Ottawa Tuesday.

"Everyone wants to know, what's Canada going to do now?" said Terry Glavin, author of the "vision document" and co-founder of the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee, which produced it. "Just walk away? What was it all for?"

The document takes no issue with the plan to withdraw Canada's battle group from Afghanistan at the end of 2011.

But what many have missed, Glavin said, is that Canada's development and aid package in Afghanistan is also due to expire at the end of 2011 [emphasis added].

Yet Parliament is "paralyzed. Nobody knows what to do," Glavin said. Instead, MPs are engaging in an "elaborate work-avoidance activity" focused on the treatment of Afghan detainees more than three years ago.

"We need to have a new conversation in this country about a new mission," Glavin said. "We have to think about 2011 as the beginning of something, not the end of it."..

...the committee — made up of human-rights activists, Afghan-Canadians, academics, writers and journalists — consulted more than 100 organizations and individuals in Canada and Afghanistan...

The vision document will be released at a public event at Library and Archives Canada Tuesday night [emphasis added]...
Update: Audio of interview with Maj.-Gen. (ret'd) MacKenzie and Terry Glavin on CFRA Ottawa this morning:
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Afghanistan After 2011
Madely in the Morning - 8:10am --- Steve Madely is joined by Ret'd General Lewis MacKenzie, and Terry Glavin, award-winning author and journalist. They are live in studio to promote tonight's event called "Canada and Afghanistan: Keeping Our Promises" hosted by the Free Thinking Film Society of Ottawa and is also a fundraiser for the Afghan School Project.
mp3 (click here to download)


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