Following the disputed election and the subsequent violent repression of protests by the regime in Tehran, all Canadian political parties were quick to issue statements and join rallies calling for human rights and democracy in Iran. I attended one Vancouver rally which featured an unlikely trio of speakers: Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, Conservative cabinet minister James Moore and popular NDP MP Libby Davies.
Now, in the wake of the sham Aug. 20 vote in Afghanistan -- even the pro-war Globe and Mail has given substantial coverage to the electoral fraud -- the hypocrisy of the Conservative government's response is par for the course. More disturbing, however, is the fact that the NDP is missing in action, again, on the Afghanistan file.
Jack Layton and the party have made no official statement (a search of their website turns up nothing). The NDP's regular statements about Canadian soldiers killed in Kandahar no longer make mention of the party's policy of calling for bringing the troops home.
The Liberals, who under Paul Martin got Canada into the Kandahar quagmire without so much as consulting Parliament, at least issued a statement of concern:
"[Liberal Status of Women critic Anita] Neville pointed out that it was the Harper government that was asleep at the switch when it allowed the legislation infringing on women's rights in Afghanistan to pass through the Afghan parliament without uttering a word of protest.
'Our international reputation has been damaged by staying silent,' she said. 'That's not what Canadians want. We have a duty to push the review committee to properly investigate any and all allegations of voter fraud and intimidation, particularly where women are concerned.'"
Now, of course, nothing in the Liberal statement challenges the absurd idea of a legitimate election under an increasingly unpopular military occupation, but at least they felt the need to acknowledge some of the obvious irregularities.
In many NATO countries, opposition to the war is growing, no doubt in part due to the glaring fact that the nepotistic Karzai regime is rife with warlordism and corruption. In the current German election, it's become a major campaign issue. Even in the United States, the latest poll shows 57 per cent against the war. One is left to wonder where Canada's 'anti-war party' is in all of this, and why they have seemingly lost their voice.
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