OTTAWA – Green Party of Canada Leader Annamie Paul is inviting all federal leaders to an open debate on the crisis in Afghanistan.
“There was a time, not too long ago, when leaders would convene to debate a single issue of concern in depth during an election,” said Ms. Paul. “The crisis that is unfolding in Afghanistan surely merits such a discussion, given that Mr. Trudeau’s unfortunate decision to dissolve Parliament now means that Parliament is unable to hold an urgent debate on this foreign policy emergency.
“More than 40,000 Canadian military personnel served in Afghanistan, 159 Canadian soldiers died, and thousands were wounded. We must never forget that Canada’s military deployment to Afghanistan was one of the most significant in our history.
“We made a commitment almost 20 years ago when we joined the U.S. led coalition following the terror attack on September 11, 2001. We knew then not only what danger the Taliban posed to global security, but also what their rule would mean for women and girls. Fourteen million women and girls are now at the mercy of the Taliban and there are already reports of rampant war crimes including public beatings and flogging of women, sexual violence and forced marriage all of which have occurred in the areas captured by the Taliban.
“Thousands of Afghans who assisted Canadian diplomats and military personnel are now at the mercy of the Taliban, and there is no plan to extract them, despite the fact that the government knew months in advance that the United States was withdrawing. The current crisis was entirely predictable. What is our plan to rescue all those Afghans who risked their lives to help Canada? Canada must honour its commitment to these courageous Afghans.
“What steps need to be taken? First, there must be no diplomatic recognition of the Taliban until there is verifiable and sustained proof that the Taliban is respecting the Laws of War and fundamental human rights, including the rights of the women and girls of Afghanistan. Second, the airport must be secured so that it is safe and operational. The Taliban have set up checkpoints around Kabul airport and Canadians need to know how the government of Canada plans to ensure safe transport of Afghans to the airport. We must also streamline the immigration administrative process to allow for the fastest relocation to Canada for those to whom we promised support.
“The Green Party calls on the Liberals to release a statement to this effect as quickly as possible. If they are not willing to do that, then we invite all the federal party leaders to come together to debate this issue immediately.”
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