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Canada's involvement in the war in Afghanistan is highly controversial with the Canadian public[1], with poll after poll repeatedly showing Canadians opposed to continued military participation in Afghanistan.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Canadian public opinion

2010

  • December 2010 Angus Reid poll: The majority 56% of Canadians oppose the military involvement in Afghanistan, while only 36% support it. The plurality 31% of Canadians "strongly oppose" the military involvement, while only 11% "strongly support" it. Canadians are divided about the latest decision to keep 950 soldiers there until 2014 in a strictly non-combat training role. In a statistical tie within the poll's +/- 2.2% margin of error, 48% support the decision and 44% oppose it. Less than one third, 32%, of Canadians think Canada did the right thing in sending military forces to Afghanistan, while the plurality 45% think it was a mistake. Only 8% of Canadians expect a clear victory by the U.S.-led military forces as an outcome to the war, while the majority 53% think that the Taliban will have a role in the Afghan government: 29% foresee them having a small role in government after a negotiated settlement, 14% see them having a significant role, and 13% believe the U.S.-led military forces will ultimately be defeated. At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war stood at 153.[8]
  • November 2010 Harris-Decima poll: Following the Harper government's announcement of its third multi-year extension of the military involvement in Afghanistan, Canadians remain overwhelmingly opposed to Canada's military participation in that country. The majority 60% of Canadians are opposed to a Canadian military presence in Afghanistan, while only a minority 37% support it. The results show that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and opposition leader Michael Ignatieff are "paddling against the tide of public opinion", said Harris-Decima. The plurality 48% of Canadians want all Canadian troops brought home in 8 months, in July 2011, while 42% support some troops remaining in a training role. Harris-Decima chairman Allan Gregg said that given the underlying majority opposition to any Canadian military presence in Afghansistan, it's likely the 42% were not particularly enthousiastic about the training option: "You have a significant portion of the population saying, 'I want them out of there but I can tolerate them being there in a training role if it doesn't include (combat) engagement. But the general disposition is we shouldn't be there."[9][10]
  • November 2010 Ipsos-Reid poll: Following the Harper government's announcement of its third multi-year extension of the military presence in Afghanistan, the majority 61% of Canadians call for a debate and a vote in Parliament over the extended mission, even if it involves only training. About half of respondents (53% with a margin of error of 3.1%) support the extension that is to be strictly training and no combat - although this comes with the above caveat. In stark contrast, in Ipsos-Reid's previous poll only three months before, in August, almost 80% of Canadians, or four out of five Canadians, wanted to end the mission in Afghanistan next year. Only a minority of less than one in four thought the mission should be extended. The majority 57% of Canadians wanted the troops brought home to Canada after pulling out of Afghanistan in 2011, and only a minority 30% would support letting some Canadian troops remain in a training capacity only.[11][12]
  • October 2010 Angus Reid poll: The majority 55% of Canadians oppose Canada's involvement in the war in Afghanistan, while only 35% support it, the lowest level of support recorded by Angus Reid in the past two years. 34% of Canadians have "strong opposition" to involvement in the war, three times higher than the number in "strong support", only 11%. The majority 55% of Canadians say the federal government has provided too little information about the war, while only 25% find the amount of information has been appropriate. The majority 57% of Canadians expect the outcome of the war to include a role for the Taliban in the Afghan government: 27% expect there will be a negotiated settlement giving the Taliban a small role in the government, 15% expect they will have a significant role, and 15% expect the U.S.-led forces will be defeated. Only 6% of Canadians think the outcome will be a clear victory for the U.S.-led military forces. At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war stood at 152.[13]
  • August 2010 Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians reject their country's military participation in Afghanistan. The majority 53% of Canadians oppose the military operation in Afghanistan, while only 39% support it. At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war stood at 151.[14]
  • August 2010 Ipsos Reid poll: Almost 80% of Canadians, or four out of five Canadians, want to end the mission in Afghanistan next year. A minority of less than one in four think the mission should be extended. The majority 57% of Canadians want the troops brought home to Canada after pulling out of Afghanistan in 2011. Only a minority 30% would support letting some Canadian troops remain in a training capacity only. Only 12% want the troops to otherwise stay in Afghanistan.[11][15]
  • June 2010 Angus Reid poll: Opposition to Canadian involvement in the war in Afghanistan reached a record high in Canada. The majority 59% of Canadians oppose the Canadian military operations in Afghanistan, up from 56% in April, and the highest level of opposition registered yet for the question used. Support fell to 37% from 39% in April. "Strong opposition" to Canada's involvement in the war, increased to 33% (the plurality of Canadians), while "strong support" dropped down to a minority of only 13%. Nearly half of Canadians, 48%, believe it was a mistake to send military forces to Afghanistan, while 34% thought it was not. The plurality 30% of Canadians think the war will eventually end in a negotiated settlement that gives the Taliban a small role in the Afghan government, 13% see the Taliban having a significant role in the Afghan government, 16% think the U.S.-led forces will be militarily defeated, while only 6% continue to expect a clear military victory for the U.S.-led forces. The majority 57% of Canadians also think that the federal government has not been providing enough information on the war in Afghanistan. 29% think it has, and a tiny 2% minority claim it has been too much. At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war stood at 147.[16][17]
  • April 2010 Angus Reid poll: The majority 56% of Canadians oppose the Canadian military operations in Afghanistan, while only 39% support them. The plurality 30% of Canadians "strongly oppose" the military operations, while only 14% "strongly support" them. The plurality 42% of Canadians think it was a mistake to have sent Canadian military forces to Afghanistan, while 36% disagreed. The plurality 31% of Canadians think the war will eventually end in a negotiated settlement that gives the Taliban a small role in the Afghan government, 15% see the Taliban having a significant role in the Afghan government, 13% think the U.S.-led forces will be militarily defeated, while 8% still expect a clear military victory for the U.S.-led forces. Over half of Canadians (53%) think that the federal government does not provide enough information on the war in Afghanistan, while 27% think it does. At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war stood at 142.[18]
  • April 8, 2010 Ekos poll: Canadians overwhelmingly reject the American request for an extended Canadian military presence in Afghanistan. The majority 60% of Canadians oppose another extension of Canada's military mission in Afghanistan past its latest end date of July 2011, while only 28% would support one. Half of Canadians oppose "Canadian military participation in Afghanistan", while only 36% support it. Majorities among all voter intention groups opposed any extension of the Canadian military's deployment in Afghanistan, including Conservative party supporters. Ekos noted: "The American request for continued Canadian participation is rejected by supporters of all parties and in very clear terms."[19][20]
  • March 2010 Angus Reid poll: The large majority of Canadians reject the American request for Canada to reconsider its decision to end the military mission in 2011. The majority 79% of Canadians oppose Canadian troops taking part in a combat mission after the latest scheduled end date of 2011, while only 16% support such an extension. The majority 80% of Canadians think the violence in Afghanistan will be same (50%) or worse (30%) at the end of 2011, while only 6% think there will be a decrease in the violence. Canadians largely perceive the Afghan government being supported as "inefficient" (54%), "violates human rights" (47%), "weak" (47%), "dishonest" (44%), "oblivious to the country's needs" (37%), "secretive" (32%), and "backward-looking" (30%). At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war stood at 141.[21]
  • February 2010 Angus Reid poll: 49% of Canadians oppose the Canadian military operation in Afghanistan, while 47% support it. The majority 53% of Canadians think the federal government provides too little information about the war in Afghanistan, while only 29% think it provides the right amount. The plurality 27% of Canadians think the war will eventually end in a negotiated settlement that gives the Taliban a small role in the Afghan government, 14% see the Taliban having a significant role in the Afghan government, 10% think the U.S.-led forces will be militarily defeated, while 9% expect a clear military victory for the U.S.-led forces. At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war stood at 140.[22]
  • February 2010 Harris-Decima poll: The overwhelming 80% majority of Canadians want the Canadian military to leave Afghanistan as planned in 2011. The poll, commissioned by the conservative Manning Centre, found that eight in ten Canadians want the Canadian armed forces withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2011 as scheduled.[23][24]

2009

  • December 2009 Angus Reid poll: The majority 66% of Canadians oppose sending any more troops to Afghanistan despite the recently reported plans by the United States and Britain to do so. Only a minority 28% would support sending any more troops. The majority 53% of Canadians also continue to oppose the country's involvement in military operations in Afghanistan, while 42% support it. At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war stood at 133.[25]
  • December 2009 Ekos poll: The majority 52% of Canadians oppose another extension of the military operations in Afghanistan past 2011 even if the Americans requested it, and only 32% would support it. The majority of Canadians believe that the Canadian military forces in Afghanistan detained and handed people over to Afghan authorities while the government of Canada was aware that there was a strong possibility that these people would be tortured: The majority 61% of Canadians believe that people detained by Canadian military forces in Afghanistan and handed over to Afghan authorities have been tortured. Of those that believe Afghan detainees were tortured, the majority 83% believe that the government of Canada was aware of the strong possibility that this would happen. The plurality 41% of Canadians are dissatisfied with the federal government's level of transparency and disclosure on the issue, while only 24% of Canadians are satisfied by it.[26][27][28]
  • November 2009 Angus Reid poll: The majority 53% of Canadians want a public inquiry to be launched to determine what the Canadian government and military knew about reports of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan, while only 36% disagree with one.[29]
  • November 2009 Harris-Decima poll: The majority 51% of Canadians believe Richard Colvin's testimony that Afghans detained and handed over by Canadian military forces to Afghan authorities were likely abused and that Canadian government officials were well aware of it. In stark contrast, only 25% believe the Harper government's contention that the Canadian diplomat's claims are flimsy and not credible. Fully 70% of Canadians say it is unacceptable that Canadian forces would hand over detainees if it is likely they would be tortured.[30][31]
  • November 2009 Leger Marketing poll: The majority of Canadians do not think that sending Canadian military troops to Afghanistan is morally the right thing to do, and only 30% think it is. Almost half of Canadians, 45%, say the military campaign in Afghanistan is not driven by Canadian morals or values, and at least another two in 10 Canadians say that the military campaign in Afghanistan is morally wrong. The poll was conducted in late October, before the most-recent torture allegations came to light.[32]
  • October 2009 Innovative Research Group poll: The majority 76% of Canadians oppose keeping any Canadian military forces in Afghanistan beyond 2011: 53% want to end the military mission "and concentrate exclusively on humanitarian work and reconstruction", and 23% want Canada to "end to all of its activities, military and non-military" and "get out" completely in 2011. Only a minority 15% support having the military stay in some form past 2011. According to the online poll commissioned by the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, 50% of Canadians oppose having troops in Afghanistan, while support was at 45%.[33][34]
  • October 2009 Harris Decima poll: The majority 56% of Canadians oppose the government's commitment to having troops in Afghanistan, up from 54% in May. Only 9% "strongly support" it, while twice as many, 21% of Canadians "strongly oppose" having troops in Afghanistan. The majority 86% of Canadians want the troops to be out of Afghanistan before or by the current end date in 2011: The plurality 45% of Canadians believe Canada should stay until the current end date in 2011 but not extend past it, while 41% want Canada to bring the troops back early before 2011. Only a minority 10% of Canadians support keeping military troops in Afghanistan past 2011. The plurality 49% of Canadians support ending the military mission and replacing it with a civilian mission, while 40% oppose a civilian mission after 2011. In a dichotomy between voter groups, only among Conservative voters was there majority support for having troops in Afghanistan.[35]
  • October 2009 Angus Reid poll: The majority 56% of Canadians oppose Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan, an increase in opposition to the war from 52% in July. A minority 37% support the military involvement, a drop in support from 43% in July. At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed by the war stood at 131.[36]
  • September 2009 Ekos poll: The majority 52% of Canadians oppose Canadian military participation in Afghanistan, while only 33% support it - the lowest level of support that has been measured by Ekos between 2001 and 2009.[37][38]
  • September 2009 Leger Marketing poll: Canadians massively want Canada to leave the combat role in Afghanistan. The 82% majority of Canadians want Canada to end its combat role and either focus on training and development only or bring the Canadian troops home as soon as possible: 45% of Canadians want Canada to end the combat role and "provide help in training and development only" and 37% of Canadians want their troops to just "leave Afghanistan as soon as possible". Only 12% thought Canadian troops should "stay in combat roles until the war is won", while 6% did not know or refused to answer.[39]
  • July 2009: Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians oppose the military mission in Afghanistan. 52% of Canadians oppose the military operation, while only 43% support it. Strong opposition to the military operation reaches 31%, while strong support was markedly lower at only 17%. Only 38% of Canadians think their country did the right thing in sending military forces to Afghanistan. 40% feel they do not have a clear idea of what the war in Afghanistan is about, but the majority 60% do.[40][41]
  • July 2009: Ekos poll: The majority 54% of Canadians oppose Canada's military participation in Afghanistan, while support for the mission has fallen to just one in three, at 34%. On a vote intention basis, only within Conservative Party supporters was there a slight majority in support at 51%. In every other voter group, (Liberal, NDP, Green, Bloc, undecided,) the majority oppose Canadian military participation in Afghanistan. On the day the poll was released, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war reached 125.[42][43][44]
  • July 2009: Ipsos Reid poll: When presented with four options for what should happen after the current mission ends, the majority 52% of Canadians said Canadian troops should leave Afghanistan, 27% said Canada should only stay if in a non-combat role, while only 14% said the mission should be extended as is in its current role, and 7% said they did not know. Changing or ending the current mission prior to 2011 was not an option available to respondents in the Ipos-Reid poll.[45][46]
  • June 2009: Pew Global: One in two Canadians (50%) want U.S. and NATO military troops to be removed from Afghanistan "as soon as possible", while 43% want them kept there until the situation has stabilised. 7% did not know.[47] The majority 55% of Canadians disapprove of U.S. President Obama sending additional troops to Afghanistan, while 42% approve.[48]
  • May 2009: Angus Reid poll: Half of Canadians are adamant about ending the Afghan mission before 2011, and the vast majority of Canadians, 84%, want the country's military presence in Afghanistan to wane by 2011. 51% of Canadians want the bulk of the troops to be withdrawn before 2011. 33% think the bulk of the troops should be withdrawn in 2011. Only 7% would keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan past 2011. The majority of Canadians, 57%, continue to disagree with the government's latest extension from February 2009 to 2011. At the time of the poll, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the war stood at 118.[49]
  • May 2009: Harris-Decima poll: The majority 54% of Canadians continue to oppose the government's commitment to having troops in Afghanistan, while 39% support it. Almost 90% of Canadians want their troops out of Afghanistan before or by the scheduled end date in 2011. 40% of Canadians want the troops brought back early while 46% say they should be withdrawn in July 2011. Only 8% think the mission should continue past July 2011. 54% of Canadians do not think the additional increases in U.S. troops will succeed, while 41% do.[50][51]
  • April 2009: Harris-Decima poll: A majority of Canadians are opposed to the government's commitment to have troops in Afghanistan. Overall, 55% of Canadians oppose the military mission in Afghanistan, while only 40% support it. The depth of the opposition is particularly notable: Three times more Canadians are strongly opposed to the mission (27%) than strongly support it (9%). 37% of those that support the mission would withdraw that support if the controversial Afghan law affecting women's rights is enacted.[52][53]
  • March 2009: Ipsos Reid poll: Half, 50%, of Canadians want their soldiers to return to a "peacekeeping only" role in the world. The question used by Ispos Reid and the percentages for other possible responses were not disclosed. According to the survey, Canadians support deployment of troops when it is "an observation and monitoring role over a more aggressive one for the military". The Ipsos Reid study for the Department of National Defence was conducted in March 2009 but was only found released on a federal government website and reported to the public 6 months later in September 2009.[54]
  • February 2009: Angus Reid poll: A majority 52% of Canadians continue to disagree with the government's latest extension of the military mission in Afghanistan until 2011, and half of Canadians would end the mission. 48% of Canadians want the bulk of Canadian troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan before the year 2011, that is, before the government's announced withdrawal at the end of its latest extension into the end of 2011. 35% thought that the bulk of the troops should be brought home in 2011. Only 7% thought the bulk of the troops should remain in Afghanistan past 2011. At the time of the publication of the poll, 112 Canadian soldiers had died in the war.[55][56]
  • February 2009: Angus Reid poll: 65% of Canadians say no to keeping troops in Afghanistan should President Obama request it, while only 20% said yes.[57]
  • January 2009 - Ekos poll: 55% of Canadians oppose an extension of the mission in Afghanistan if requested by President Obama, while only 30% support it.[58][59]

2008

  • December 2008: Angus Reid poll: A majority 58% of Canadians continue to disagree with the government's latest extension of the military mission in Afghanistan until 2011, up from 56% the previous month, and Canadians want a quicker end to the Afghan mission. A majority 53% of Canadians want the bulk of the troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan before the year 2011, that is, before the government's announced withdrawal at the end of its latest extension into the end of 2011. Only a minority 30%, down from 33% the previous month, thought that the bulk of the troops should stay in Afghanistan until 2011 at which point they should be withdrawn. Only 8% thought the bulk of the troops should remain in Afghanistan past 2011. At the time of the publication of the poll, 106 Canadian soldiers had died in the war.[60][61]
  • November 2008: Angus Reid poll: A majority 56% of Canadians continue to disagree with their government's proposed extension of the military mission in Afghanistan until 2011, and a majority 53% of Canadians call for the bulk of Canadian troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan even before 2011. 33% think the bulk of the troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2011. Only 7% would agree to any further extension past 2011.[62][63]
  • September 2008: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 61% of Canadians oppose sending troops to Afghanistan, while only a minority 35% support it. Forming the largest group of respondents, 33% of Canadians "strongly oppose" sending troops to Afghanistan. These numbers show the highest level of opposition and the lowest level of support in the 12 times that Strategic Counsel has asked Canadians this question since May 2006.[64]
  • September 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians continue to oppose an extension past February 2009 of Canada's military mission in Afghanistan. 59% of Canadians disagree with their government's proposed extension of the mission past February 2009, while only a minority 34% agree with it.[65] The vast majority of Canadians, 75%, continue to believe that Canada is shouldering too much of the burden on NATO's mission in Afghanistan, while only a small minority 14% disagree with that view.[66]
  • September 2008: Environics poll: The number of Canadians who disapprove of their country's military action in Afghanistan is at its highest point since Canada became involved in the war in 2002. The majority 56% of Canadians disapprove of their country's military action in Afghanistan, while only a minority 41% approve of it. Almost two-thirds of Canadians, 65%, say the mission is not likely to be successful, while only 28% think it is likely to be successful. The majority 54% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the mission past February 2009, while a minority 41% agree with it.[67][68]
  • August 2008: Harris Decima poll: The majority of Canadians believe their country is paying too high a price in blood and treasure for its military involvement in Afghanistan and do not want to stay longer in Afghanistan. 61% of Canadians believe the cost of the military mission in lives and money is unacceptable, while only 32% think it is acceptable. The majority 57% of Canadians do not want to stay longer in Afghanistan, while only a minority 33% agree with an extension.[69]
  • July 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians believe their government was wrong to lengthen their country’s military mission in Afghanistan. 58% of Canadians disagree with their government's proposed extension of the mission past February 2009, while only a minority 36% agree with it.[70]
  • July 2008: Ipsos Reid poll: Only a minority 29% of Canadians are "fairly content" about Canada's participation in the war in Afghanistan. The remaining 71% of Canadians are either "really upset", "really angry", or "resigned" about Canada's participation in the war. The plurality, 37% of Canadians, are "really upset but not able to do anything about it, so I keep it bottled up until I can"; 29% are "fairly content because it/they really don’t affect or matter that much to me"; 24% are "resigned pretty much not to do anything since there’s no sense making any noise because nothing ever happens as a result"; and 10% are "really angry and I’m for sure going to/already doing something about it".[71]
  • May 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians believe their government was wrong to lengthen their country’s military mission in Afghanistan. 54% of Canadians disagree with their government's proposed extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 41% agree with it.[70]
  • March 2008: Environics poll: The majority 54% of Canadians disapprove of their country's military action in Afghanistan, while only a minority 44% approve of it.[67]
  • March 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority of Canadians believe their government was wrong to lengthen their country’s military mission in Afghanistan. 58% of Canadians disagree with their government's proposed extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 37% agree with it.[70]
  • February 2008: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 61% of Canadians oppose an extension past February 2009, while only a minority 35% support one.[72]
  • February 2008: Angus Reid poll: The majority 58% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 36% agree with it.[73]
  • January 2008: Ipsos Reid poll: Only a minority 35% of Canadians approve of the so-called Manley Panel's recommendations for Canada's troops in Afghanistan. Ipsos Reid characterizes this result as "Canadians Receive Manley Plan Cautiously".[74]
  • January 2008: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 56% of Canadians oppose sending troops to Afghanistan, while only a minority 39% support. The overwhelming majority 78% of Canadians think the combat role should end, while only a small minority 17% think the combat role should continue. The plurality 47% of Canadians want the troops to return as soon as possible.[75]

2007

File:Canadian troops out of Afghanistan sign.jpg

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  • December 2007: Angus Reid poll: The majority 61% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 28% agree with it. The majority 53% of Canadians want an early withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan even before February 2009, while only 39% disagree.[73]
  • October 2007: Environics poll: Fewer than half, 45%, of Canadians support the current mission, a plurality 43% of Canadians want Canadian troops to be brought home even before the mission is scheduled to end in February 2009, and only one in three think that the mission is likely to be successful in the end.[76]
  • October 2007: Ipsos Reid poll: Only a small minority 14% believe Canada should continue in its current role, while 40% believe Canada should switch to a training capacity, and the plurality 44% of respondents believe troops should be brought home in 2009. The remaining 2% of respondents said they did not know. Ipsos Reid, the only polling firm with results markedly different from those of all the other polls around the same time, took these results and combined the first two figures to suggest that a majority 54% of Canadians want Canada to stay in Afghanistan, while 44% do not. They chose not to, however, combine the last two figures in exactly the same way to show that an overwhelming 84% majority of Canadians believe Canada should not continue in its current role, while only a small minority 14% do.[77] A report from a senior defence analyst with the Conference of Defence Associations reveals that the firm Ipsos Reid was under contract from the Canadian Department of National Defence over the period from September 19-21, 2006 to March 20-22, 2007.[78] The Conference of Defence Associations itself had a five-year funding agreement with the Department of National Defence, effective from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2012.[79][80][81]
  • September 2007: Angus Reid poll: Over two-thirds of Canadians do not want Canada to extend the Afghan mission past its scheduled end date in February 2009. The majority 68% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a minority 20% agree with one. The majority 56% of Canadians also think that Canada should leave Afghanistan early, even before the mandate ends in February 2009, while only 35% disagreed. Two-thirds, 67%, of Canadians also believe Canada is shouldering too much of the burden of NATO's mission in Afghanistan.[82]
  • August 2007: Angus Reid poll: Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians, 49%, think the NATO mission in Afghanistan has been mostly a failure. Only 22% of Canadians think it has been mostly a success.[83]
  • August 2007: Ipsos Reid poll: In a statistical tie within the poll's 3.1% margin of error, 51% of Canadians support the mission while 45% oppose it.[77]
  • July 2007: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 59% of Canadians oppose sending troops to Afghanistan, while only a minority 36% support.[84][85]
  • July 2007: Decima Research poll: The majority 67% of Canadians believe the number of casualties have been unacceptable, while only 25% said the number of killed and wounded was acceptable. At the time of the poll, Canada had lost 66 soldiers and one diplomat in Afghanistan.[86][87][88]
  • July 2007: Angus Reid poll: The majority 63% of Canadians disagree with an extension of the military mission past February 2009, while only a small minority 16% agree with it. A plurality 49% of Canadians think their country should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan even before their mandate ends in February 2009. The majority 58% think Canada is shouldering too much of the burden.[73][89]
  • July 2007: Ipsos Reid poll: In a statistical tie within the poll's 3.1% margin of error, 50% of Canadians support the mission while 45% oppose it.[90]
  • June 2007: Decima Research poll: The majority two-thirds 67% of Canadians want the military mission in Afghanistan to end in Feb. 2009, while only a small minority 26% think it should be extended past Feb. 2009.[91][92]
  • May 2007: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 55% of Canadians oppose the military mission in Afghanistan, while a minority 40% support it. Only 6% say they strongly support it, while 4 times as many, 24% say they strongly oppose it. There was almost two-to-one support for negotiation with Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents. A majority 63% of Canadians think that it is a net good idea to negotiate with Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents, while only a minority of 32% think it is a net bad idea.[93]
  • May 2007: Angus Reid poll: 50% of Canadians think Canada should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan before their mandate ends in February 2009. The majority 55% think Canada is shouldering too much of the burden.[89]
  • May 2007: SES Research poll: The majority two-thirds of Canadians think their country's presence in Afghanistan makes Canada more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. The majority 55% said Canada should pull out of Afghanistan if casualties continue, while 39% said casualties are an unfortunate but necessary part of the military. At the time of the poll, Canada had lost 54 soldiers and one diplomat to violence in Afghanistan.[94]
  • April 2007: Strategic Counsel poll: The majority 57% of Canadians oppose the military mission in Afghanistan, while a minority 36% support it.[93]
  • April 2007: Ipsos Reid poll: Almost two-thirds of Canadians say the country's troops should be brought home from Afghanistan on schedule in February 2009. The majority 63% of Canadians want the troops brought home on schedule by February 2009.[95]
  • April 2007: Angus Reid poll: The majority 52% of Canadians think Canada should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan before their mandate ends in February 2009. The majority 64% think Canada is shouldering too much of the burden.[89][96]

Dichotomy between Conservative and other voters

In the October 8-12, 2009 poll by The Canadian Press / Harris Decima, in which the majority 56% of Canadians opposed having Canadian troops in Afghanistan, only among one group of respondents, Conservative voters, was there majority support (56%) for having troops in Afghanistan.[35]

In all other voter groups, strong majorities oppose having Canadian troops in Afghanistan. The majority 60% of Liberal, 64% of NDP, 78% of Green, and 86% of Bloc voters oppose keeping Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Among those that "strongly oppose" are 21% of Liberal, 32% of NDP, 40% of Green, and 23% of Bloc voters. The highest level of "strongly support" came from Conservative voters at only 16%. Only 9% of Liberal voters "strongly support" having troops in Afghanistan.[35]

The highest level of support for another extension involving military troops also came from Conservative voters, but at only 15% support. Strong majorities in all voter groups, Conservative voters as well, oppose extending the mission again: 81% of Conservative, 86% of Liberal, 92% of NDP, 94% of Green, and 93% of Bloc voters oppose an extension involving military troops.[35]

Similarly, only among Conservative voters was there a majority in favour of having a civilian mission after 2011. The majority 61% of Conservatives favoured ending the military mission in 2011 and replacing it with a civilian mission.[35]

In the July 8-14, 2009 Ekos poll, in which the majority 54% of Canadians opposed the Canadian military participation in Afghanistan, only among one group of respondents, Conservative voters, was there majority support for the military participation in Afghanistan at 51%.[44]

In all other voter groups, majorities oppose Canada's military participation in Afghanistan. The majority 58% of Liberal, 72% of NDP, 65% of Green, 77% of Bloc, and 51% of undecided voters oppose Canada's military participation in Afghanistan.[44]

In the April 2-5, 2009 Harris Decima poll in which the majority 55% of Canadians opposed having troops in Afghanistan, only among one group of respondents, Conservative voters, was there majority support (58%) for having troops in Afghanistan.[52]

In all other voter groups, clear majorities oppose having Canadian troops in Afghanistan. The majority 57% of Liberal, 60% of NDP, 61% of Green, and 77% of Bloc voters oppose keeping Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Among those that "strongly oppose" are 26% of Liberal, 35% of NDP, 33% of Green, and 34% of Bloc voters. The highest level of "strongly support" came from Conservative voters at only 14%. Only 8% of Liberal voters "strongly support" having troops in Afghanistan.[52]

In the December 2-8 2009 Ekos poll that found the majority 52% of Canadians opposed to yet a third extension, only among one group of respondents, Conservative voters, was there more support than opposition for an extension. The plurality 46% of Conservative voters support extending the military operations again past 2011, while 36% of Conservatives oppose another extension. In every other voting group, however, the majority oppose an extension: 56% of Liberal voters, 60% of NDP voters, 61% of Green Party voters, 69% of Bloc Quebecois voters, and 53% of undecided voters all oppose yet an extension.[27]

Likewise on the issue of torture by Afghan authorities, only among Conservative voters do a majority, 54%, think that no detainees handed over by Canadian forces were tortured by Afghan authorities. Almost half, 46%, of Conservative voters, however, do think that detainees were tortured. In every other voting group, the majority believes that detainees have been tortured by Afghan authorities: 69% of Liberal, 71% of NDP, 70% of Green, 77% of Bloc, and 57% of undecided voters think that detainees have been tortured by Afghan authorities.[27]

Issues affecting Canadian public opinion

Human cost of the war

Among the issues affecting Canadian public opinion on the war, the human cost of the war is often at the forefront.[1][97]

A survey in August 2008 found that 61% of Canadians believe the cost of the military mission, in both lives and money, is unacceptable, while only 32% found it acceptable. The majority 57% of Canadians did not want to stay longer in Afghanistan, while only a minority 33% agreed with an extension.[1]

Canadian deaths

File:Canadian troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan.jpg

Canadian soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

In the past nine years that the Canadian military has been in Afghanistan, 154 Canadian soldiers have been killed in the war or in support of the war in Afghanistan, with the vast proportion of the deaths occurring from 2006 onward.

Year Number
2002 4
2003 2
2004 1
2005 1
2006 36
2007 30
2008 32
2009 32
2010 16
2011 -
2012 -
2013 -
2014 -
Total 154

One senior Foreign Affairs official, one journalist, and three Canadian aid workers have also been killed by the war in Afghanistan.

In July 2007, two-thirds of Canadians believed the number of casualties that Canada had suffered in Afghanistan was "unacceptably high". Only 25% found the number of killed and wounded to be acceptable. At the time, Canada had lost 66 soldiers and one diplomat.[87][88] The number of casualties has more than doubled since.

Disproportionate contribution in lives

Canada has sacrificed a disproportionate number of lives to the war in Afghanistan compared to other NATO and coalition countries, including the U.S. itself, both on the basis of lives lost per domestic capita and on the basis of casualty rate of troops in Afghanistan.[98][99][100][101][102]

By as early as the end of summer 2006, Canadians were bearing the brunt of coalition casualties in Afghanistan.[97][101][103][104] A study by defence researchers found that:[97][101]

  • A Canadian soldier serving in Kandahar was six times more likely to be killed by a hostile attack than a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq.
  • Canadians accounted for 43% of all coalition military deaths from February to September 2006 (not including 5 deaths from accidents).
  • Canada had suffered more deaths from hostile action in Afghanistan than any other U.S. ally, with two in five of the non-U.S. deaths.
  • A Canadian soldier in Kandahar was three times more likely to be killed in hostile action than a British soldier in Afghanistan.
  • A Canadian soldier in Kandahar was 4.5 times more likely to be killed in hostile action than an American soldier in Afghanistan.

In September 2006, UK statistician Sheila M. Bird, vice-president of Britain's Royal Statistical Society and author of a similar risk assessment study, noted that Canadian soldiers were facing twice possibly four times the risk of death that British soldiers faced in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She emphasized that the risk Canadians face in Kandahar is "absolutely" riskier than what Americans face in Iraq and stated that what the Canadians are confronting is "as dangerous as what the Russians were facing 20 years ago." The Russians left Afghanistan in defeat in 1989 after a nine-year campaign.[104][97][105]

A study by Professor Marc W. Herold of the University of New Hampshire stated that the lower level of lethality for U.S. troops in Afghanistan than in Iraq, as well as its decline between 2005 and 2006, were primarily because the United States had "successfully "convinced" NATO member countries (especially Canada and Britain) to increasingly bear the brunt of the combat in southern Afghanistan, experiencing far greater lethality ratios."[106]

Table: Lethality ratios in Afghanistan, 2006 (soldiers killed in-theater / 1,000 troop level in-theater)[106]

Country Deaths per
1,000 troops
Canada 14.4
United Kingdom 6.3 - 9.8
NATO 5.0
United States 4.45
Soviet Union (1980s) 12.5

An analysis in October 2007 by Professor Sheila Bird of Cambridge University for Danish newspaper Politiken continued to show a Canadian casualty rate disproportionately higher than those of other countries: For the period from May 2006 to about October 2007, Canada's casualty rate was 17 per 1,000 troops, while Britain's was 9 per 1,000 troops, and Denmark's was 7 per 1,000 troops.[107]

A 2007 study by the Department of National Defence also found that Canadian soldiers operating in Kandahar were at significantly higher risk of dying compared to their British and American counterparts.[108]

Canada's disproportionately high casualty rates, the highest of all NATO and coalition countries as a proportion of troops in Afghanistan, have also been noted by the government-commissioned Manley panel report released in February 2008, as well as by other observers.[98][99][108][109]

Subsequent to March 2008, only one other country has lost more lives on a per domestic capita basis than Canada. (Denmark, with a population of only 5.5 million people, lost a 13th soldier in Afghanistan in March 2008 when Canada's toll was at 78).

A February 2009 comparison of troop deaths relative to domestic population size showed that Canada had 3.2 soldiers killed per million population, far ahead of the United Kingdom at 2.3 per million, and the United States at 2.1 per million population. Other major European NATO countries such as France, Germany, and Italy were entirely out of the top 10.[100][110][111]

Table: Canadian deaths per capita compared to the U.S. and U.K. (as of February 2009)

Country Deaths per
million capita
Canada 3.2
United Kingdom 2.3
United States 2.1

NATO officials have also reported that Canadians have suffered more deaths per capita than any other foreign contingent serving in Afghanistan.[112]

In April 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated:

Again in October 2009, the CBC reported that "the Afghan mission is taking a much bigger toll on Canadian forces, proportionately speaking, than the other major coalition nations." Analysis from the U.K. Medical Research Council's Biostatistics Unit showed Canadian troops consistently being killed at a higher rate than American and British troops in the three year period from May 2006 to May 2009.[113][114]

Table: Canadian deaths compared to the U.S. and U.K. (May 2006 - May 2009)[114])

Country Deaths per 1,000 personnel years
May 1, 2006 - November 11, 2007
Deaths per 1,000 personnel years
November 12, 2007 - May 17, 2009
Canada 15.7 12.2
United Kingdom 8.9 6.5
United States 4.9 4.1

The disproportionate toll paid in Canadian lives is reflected in public opinion regarding Canada's share of the burden.

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan has caused the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians directly from insurgent and foreign military action, as well as the deaths of possibly tens of thousands more Afghan civilians indirectly as a consequence of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war.

Afghan civilians killed by Canadian forces

Canadian forces operating in Afghanistan have directly killed at least 16 Afghan civilians and 2 Afghan police officers, and wounded numerous others, just in incidents around Canadian convoys, checkpoints, and security cordons. Of the 16 Afghan civilians killed by Canadian forces in these "force protection" incidents, 6 have been children. However, the number of Afghan civilians that have been killed by Canadian artillery or mortar bombardment or other tactics during operations has not been reported and is not known. The number of Afghan civilians that have been indirectly killed or wounded by Canadian soldiers calling in airstrikes by American or other forces has not been reported and is also not known.

File:Military convoy and road traffic in Afghanistan.jpg

A military convoy amid other traffic in Afghanistan.

  • On March 14, 2006, Canadian troops in southern Afghanistan fatally shot a civilian in a taxi that had come too close to their patrol. Lt.-Col. Derek Basinger, chief of staff for Task Force Afghanistan, was quoted as saying that Canadian troops had fired at roughly 10 Afghan vehicles in the past month. The dead man's relatives were incensed that the Canadian troops left him after the shooting, with one saying, "The Canadians even insulted the dead body. They didn't take him to the hospital or the base. They just threw him on the side of the road." A Canadian Forces medic had treated the wounded man at the scene, but said he didn't consider the victim's injuries to be life-threatening at the time.[115][116]
  • On August 22, 2006, Canadian soldiers killed a 10-year-old boy and injured a teenage boy on a motorcycle when they failed to heed warnings to stop as they approached a security cordon at Camp Nathan Smith, about two hours after a suicide bomb attack. The attack outside the base occurred just days after a Canadian and NATO aerial and assault in nearby Panjwaii.[117]
  • On August 26, 2006, Canadian soldiers shot and killed an Afghan National Police officer and injured 4 other police officers in a truck after they opened fire in response to warning shots. About 45 minutes later on the same day, two other police officers on a motorcycle were shot and wounded as they approached the same position about 25 km west of Kandahar city.[118]
  • On December 12, 2006, a Canadian soldier on guard duty at a checkpoint outside the provincial governor's palace shot and killed a locally famous Afghan senior citizen who was approaching the palace on motorcycle. The man, 90 year-old Haji Abdul Rahman, an elderly former teacher and frequent visitor to the palace, had come to pay a visit to his old pupil: Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai.[119][120]
  • On February 17, 2007, Canadian soldiers shot and killed an unarmed Afghan civilian as the man wandered in the middle of the road chanting to himself near the village of Senjray, about 12 km west of Kandahar city. Soldiers mistakenly believed he was a suicide bomber because he had not heeded repeated warnings to stay away and had what looked like wires protruding from his jacket. Those wires turned out to be pieces of twine that bound the victim's jacket together.[121][122][123][124][125]
  • On February 18, 2007, Canadian troops mistakenly gunned down an Afghan National Police officer, 31-year-old Gulab Shah, and a homeless beggar after their convoy had been ambushed in Kandahar City.[126] In a separate incident, on February 12, 2007, an Afghan army officer was wounded after being hit by Canadian gunfire as his convoy came across a disabled Canadian Nyala vehicle.[122][123]
  • On February 27, 2007, Canadian soldiers killed an Afghan civilian and wounded another when their vehicle failed to heed signals to stop as they approached a security cordon around an armoured vehicle that had broken down on the road. The Canadian Forces had sent a message in the previous week to troops to use more restraint before opening fire to avoid killing civilians.[121][123]
  • On October 2, 2007, Canadian forces killed an Afghan boy, Esmatullah Zia, and seriously wounded his 12-year-old brother, Ahmed "Sorkai" Zia, while they were riding on a motorcycle. The shooting by a Canadian "combat logistics patrol" occurred as a Canadian convoy travelling through Kandahar city to bring supplies to forward bases of battle groups in Panjwaii and Zhari. Both boys were shot in the head. The soldier involved in the shooting was badly shaken and was taken off the convoy before it left the city.[127] One of the boys' uncles, Haji Muhammad Eisah, said:

"Whenever they think they want to shoot someone they can. Nobody can ask anything about it. ... We don’t expect them to kill our people, those Canadians, Americans and foreign people. It would be good if they left our country."[127]

  • On November 15, 2007, Canadian troops in a convoy travelling through the city of Kandahar killed an Afghan man and seriously wounded another when a taxi approached their convoy and ignored visual signs to stop.[128]
  • On April 3, 2008, one person was killed and three others injured when a Canadian military convoy opened fire on a vehicle from private security company Compass. In October 2007, Canadian soldiers opened fire on on a Compass vehicle, injuring seven Afghans and prompting a review of Canadian convoy protocols.[129]
  • On July 28, 2008, a husband and wife and their two young children were returning home in a taxi in Panjwai district, Kandahar province when the children, four-year-old Maraka and her two-year-old brother Tor Jan, were killed by Canadian forces in a passing convoy. The father was also wounded in the incident. There are conflicting reports as to whether their vehicle was moving when the convoy passed. According to the children’s father in an interview with UNAMA, the taxi had parked on the side of the road when they saw the convoy, but after the first two vehicles had passed, the third vehicle opened fire.[130][131][132]
  • On September 20, 2008, an Afghan civilian was killed by the Canadian Forces after the fruit truck he was a passenger in failed to stop as it came too close to a Canadian convoy that was travelling through the city of Kandahar.[131][132]
  • On July 17, 2009, Canadian soldiers shot and killed an Afghan civilian and wounded three others after the car they were in failed to heed orders to stop as it approached them.[133]
  • On July 22, 2009, Canadian soldiers accidentally killed a young girl in Afghanistan's Panjwaii district after a warning shot they fired at an incoming motorcycle ricocheted off the ground and hit her instead. An hour later on the same day, Canadian soldiers in Dand district south of Kandahar City opened fire on a vehicle travelling toward them. The car had been carrying members of the Afghan national police. One Afghan police officer suffered serious gunshot injuries, two others suffered less serious injuries.[134]
  • On October 2, 2009, Canadian soldiers on patrol killed two Afghan boys aged 14 and 16 that were on a motorcycle. The boys were going from their home village of Zangabad to see a friend in the Panjwaii district centre. They rounded a corner in the village of Pay-e-Moluk when they came upon the Canadian soldiers conducting a shura (meeting) near a mosque with village elders. The soldiers, surprised by the sudden appearance of a motorcycle coming toward them, said they shouted and used visual warnings and a warning shot before shooting the driver and passenger down. Although attempts were made to treat them, both boys died within forty minutes of the shooting. An investigation by the Canadian military's National Investigation Service was ordered.[135]
Civilian deaths from Canadian actions
File:M777 Howitzer Helmand April2007.JPEG

Canadian soldiers firing Howitzer artillery during a military operation.

Only a small fraction of the civilian deaths inflicted by the US-led military forces in Afghanistan occur in the context of "force protection" incidents like the ones above. The vast majority are caused by airstrikes and other military actions. Of the civilian casualties the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) attributed to U.S.-led military forces in the first six months of 2009, only 4.5% were killed in the context of force protection incidents while 95.5% were killed by airstrikes (64.5%) and "other tactics" (31%).[136]

In the case of airstrike incidents, UNAMA Human Rights found that significant civilian casualties most often resulted when airstrikes were called in to support ground forces in "troops in contact" situations during operations.[136]

The number of Afghan civilians that have been killed as a result of Canadian actions (calling in airstrikes, artillery barrages) during military operations involving Canadian soldiers or special forces is not known. However, Afghan civilians have been killed by airstrikes during Canadian-led military offensives with air support from American or other forces, such as in the case of Operation Medusa in September-October 2006:

  • On September 8, 2006, the Globe and Mail reported that at least 14 civilians had died in one airstrike incident that took place during the Canadian-led offensive Operation Medusa against insurgents in the district of Panjwai. Haji Agha Lalai, a provincial council member closely allied with the foreign troops in Kandahar, said a fighter jet bombed three compounds near the village of Zangabad at 4 p.m. September 3, 2006, killing seven Taliban fighters, but also killing one elderly man and 13 women and children. According to an ISAF statement, the air strikes were a response to a fierce firefight in which Taliban fired from inside the compounds. Besides this well-documented bombing near Zangabad, there were also several other unconfirmed incidents during the Canadian-led offensive in the district. Doctors that examined injured people reaching Kandahar's Mirwais Hospital said their head wounds, shrapnel cuts and other injuries were consistent with blasts and explosions.[137][138]
  • CTV News reported that in one of the worst incidents of innocent civilians being killed, 31 people were killed in an incident in October 2006 during the Canadian-led offensive Operation Medusa in Panjwaii district of Kandahar province, including 20 members of one family. Brigadier Richard Nugee, chief spokesperson for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, was quoted saying: "I believe the single thing that we have done wrong - and we are striving hard to improve on next year - is killing innocent civilians."[119] A joint Afghan-NATO investigation into that incident has never been publicly released, but was reported to have determined that 31 civilians were killed in the incident. Nugee said that NATO commanders have gone over the incident and the report "in very fine detail", and said, "While it has not come out publicly, it has made quite an impact on this headquarters."[139][140]
  • On February 15, 2010, the Globe and Mail reported that five Afghan civilians were killed in the Zhari district of Kandahar province after Canadian-commanded troops mistakenly thought the Afghans were planting bombs and called in an airstrike. After the airstrike was delivered, the patrol "approached the site and determined the individuals had not been emplacing an IED," NATO said in a statement. When asked, both ISAF and Canadian Forces spokesmen refused to say whether Canadian troops had been involved.[141][142]

Financial cost of the war to Canadian taxpayers

In October 2008, Canada's independent Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, released a detailed assessment of the price tag for Canada's involvement in Afghanistan in a report entitled the "Fiscal Impact of the Costs Incurred by the Government of Canada in support of the Mission in Afghanistan".

The report determined that the Afghan mission has to date cost Canada an estimated $7.7 billion to $10.5 billion, with $5.9 billion to $7.42 billion spent on military operations, $800 million to $2.08 billion in veterans' benefits, and slightly under $1 billion in aid. The study did not include the cost of diplomatic efforts, the cost of danger pay for soldiers, or the cost of billions of dollars of military equipment bought under accelerated procurement.[143][144]

The Parliamentary Budget Officer's report estimated that the total cost to Canadian taxpayers of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan will be $13.9 billion to $18.1 billion by 2011, again excluding the cost of diplomatic efforts, the cost of danger pay for soldiers, and the cost of billions of dollars of military equipment bought under accelerated procurement.[143][144]

This estimates the financial cost to Canadian taxpayers of an extension past February 2009 at $5.6 billion to $6.8 billion, again excluding the cost of diplomatic efforts, the cost of danger pay for soldiers, and the cost of billions of dollars of military equipment bought under accelerated procurement.

Kevin Page, the parliamentary budget officer, emphasized, both in the published report and during the news conference that accompanied its release, that his report's estimates may "likely understate the costs of the military operations".

Two other recent studies have come up with even higher estimates for the financial cost of the war to Canadians.

A yet-to-be-released study by security analyst David Perry, former deputy director of Dalhousie University Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, estimates that the Afghan war will cost Canadians to $22 billion in Defence Department expenditures alone, both in money actually spent on the mission and future payments to rebuild equipment and provide long-term care for veterans. This $22-billion estimate excludes the cost of aid to Afghanistan and the cost of the mission for all other federal departments such as the RCMP and Foreign Affairs.[145][146]

The study will be included in an upcoming edition of the International Journal published by the Canadian International Council. In September, some of the study's findings were presented and discussed at a conference on maritime affairs attended by military leaders and analysts from Canada, the U.S. and several Asia-Pacific nations. According to retired Commodore Eric Lerhe, who included some of the study's figures in his presentation at the conference:

"This is an important work and bang on with the numbers."

The breakdown of the $22-billion cost estimate for the military operations in Afghanistan is as follows:

  • $7 billion for the cost of waging the war. This is the incremental cost from late 2001 to 2012. It includes everything from ammunition and fuel to the salaries of reservists and contractors. It does not include the salaries of regular force military personnel.
  • $11 billion for the estimated future bill for Veterans Affairs and DND for long-term health care of veterans and related benefits, including having to deal with post traumatic stress disorder among troops. Veterans Affairs Canada predicts an increase of 13,000 Canadian Forces members to its client base by 2010. Using U.S. estimates, between 10 to 25 per cent of returning veterans may experience mental health problems as a result of their overseas deployment. U.S. studies estimate that country's long-term health care and disability costs for its Iraq and Afghan veterans to be between $350 billion to $650 billion.
  • $2 billion for the purchase of mission-specific equipment. That includes everything from Leopard tanks, howitzer artillery, six Chinook helicopters, counter-mine vehicles to aerial drones. Defence officials argue that such equipment will be used on future missions beyond Afghanistan. The figure did not include the latest $95 million lease for additional aerial drones.
  • $2 billion for the replacement of the military's LAV III fleet. "This fleet is going to be worn out pretty soon from the wear and tear of Afghanistan and will have to be replaced," said Mr. Perry.
  • $405 million for repair and overhaul costs.

In October 2008, a study by the Rideau Institute, an independent think tank, estimated that the Afghan mission has already cost Canadians $17.2 billion to date, counting ammunition, equipment, military salaries, health care, disability and death benefits and economic aid projects. The study estimated that the mission will cost Canadians an additional $11.1 billion over the next three years if the mission is extended until the December 2011.[147][148]

The Rideau Institute study estimates that the war in Afghanistan will directly cost Canadian taxpayers $20.7 billion by the end of 2011, while the loss to the Canadian economy from wounded or killed soldiers will cost Canada $7.6 billion, placing the total cost of the war to Canadians at more than $28 billion.[149][150]

Repeated cost overruns

2006

In June 2006, the Conservative government's Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay told the Commons Defence Committee that the total expenditures by Canadian taxpayers to date in the war-torn country amounted to $2.3 billion - $1.8 billion in military costs and $500 million in development costs - and that Canada would spend a total of $3.85 billion for the mission: $3.05 billion in military costs by 2009 and $810 million in development costs up to 2011.[151][152]

In September 2006, the Conservative government reiterated the estimate of military expenses in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2009 at $3.05 billion.[153]

However, later in the fall, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor informed ministry officials the military costs in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2009 would have to be revised up to $3.9 billion, nearly a billion dollars more than the $3.05 billion estimate given by Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay just a few months earlier.[153]

In November 2006, the military costs for the mission in Afghanistan were reported to have reached $2.2 billion, up from $1.8 billion in June, or nearly $1.6 million per day of the mission, while the development costs up to May 2006 were reported to have reached $466 million. The military costs were projected to reach about $4 billion by the planned end of the mission in February 2009 - revised up from $3.05 billion in June - while the development costs were expected to reach $1 billion by 2011 - revised up from $810 million in June. The total cost of the Canada's involvement in Afghanistan was revised up from $3.85 billion in June to around $5 billion.[154]

It was also reported in November 2006 that the Canadian Forces had spent over $1 million on funeral services for soldiers killed in Afghanistan. At that point in time, the number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan was 42.[154]

2007

In January 2007, it was reported that the Defence Department estimated that it would spend almost $1 billion on operations in Afghanistan in the next fiscal year, more than doubling the spending for military operations in Afghanistan from prior years.[155][156]

By the end of January 2007, the government again revised its estimate for the military component of the costs from 2001 to 2009 in Afghanistan - this time increasing another $400 million to $4.3 billion. Estimates of the total cost for the military operations from 2001 to 2009 were revised up by $1.3 billion between June 2006 and January 2007 alone.[153]

In March 2007, it was reported that the total cost of mission from 2001 to 2009 was now projected at $5.5 billion, revised up another $600 million from November 2006. Development costs to 2011 were reported at $1.2 billion, revised up from the $1 billion in November 2006, itself a revision up from the government's figure of $810 million in June 2006. Over $802 million was spent in the 2006-2007 fiscal year ending March 31, 2007, making it the most expensive year since the deployment began.[153]

In comparison, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay had reported in June 2006 that a total of $1.8 billion had been expended over the course of the previous four and a half years - an average of $400 million a year. The $802 million spent on military operations in the 2006-2007 fiscal year ending March 31, 2007 effectively doubled the previous spending average.

In May 2007, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor told the House of Commons that the incremental cost of the military component of the mission had reached $2.6 billion.[157][158]

In November 2007, Defence Minister Peter MacKay disclosed to the House of Commons defence committee that the incremental cost to National Defence of the Afghan military mission had again risen steeply and had reached a total of $3.1 billion, up from $2.6 billion in May. A spokesperson for Mr. MacKay said that the extra costs were due mainly to additional tanks and force protection expenses.[157][158][159]

2008

In February 2008, it was reported that the total cost of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan was estimated to reach $6.3 billion by the end of February 2009.[160][161]

In another estimate in February 2008, former foreign minister Lloyd Axworthy, president of the University of Winnipeg provided the estimate that $7.8 billion had been spent in the 6 years Canada had been in Afghanistan.[162]

In March 2008, the La Presse newspaper obtained government documents under the Access to Information Act that indicated that the Afghanistan mission would run $1 billion over budget in the 2007-2008 fiscal year ending March 31, 2008. The government did not deny the report, but said that it was one of a number of assessments being made. These documents indicated that the mission had cost Canadian taxpayers over $7.5 billion since 2001 - double what had been budgeted.[163]

The Defence Department said the projected cost for military component of the Afghanistan mission through 2009 had been $4.5 billion, but was adjusted to $5 billion because of the additional equipment purchases.[163] It said the upward revision did not count as a cost overrun. The $4.5 billion figure itself, however, was a $200 million increase over the January 2007 estimate of $4.3 billion[153], itself a $400 million increase from the November 2006 estimate of $3.9 billion[153][154], itself an $850 million increase from the June 2006 estimate of $3.05 billion.[151][152]

For the March 31, 2008 end of the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the Conservative government eventually reported the incremental cost of the military component of the Afghan mission to be at around $3.8 billion, up $700 million in four months from $3.1 billion in November 2007.[164] This figure meant that since Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor's figure of $2.6 billion in May 2007, over $1.2 billion was spent in incremental cost on military operations in Afghanistan in the 2007-2008 fiscal year, making it again the most expensive year since the deployment began.

Despite these numbers from his own ministers, in April 2008, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggested that the cost of the Afghan mission was only about $500 million a year above the military's usual costs, saying at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Bucharest "I think the cost ... probably amounts to about a billion a year, but probably half of that would be consumed anyway."[159]

In September and October 2008, when it became known that a report detailing the cost of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan was about to be released, numerous news sources reported that the Conservative government had apparently, at some unspecified point in time, previously estimated the total cost of the six-year mission to date at under $8 billion.[165][166][167] The drastically higher revised estimate of $8 billion does not seem to have been widely reported to the public before this however, and one report confirms that the government only revised their public estimate to just under $8 billion when they knew that the Parliamentary Budget Officer was about to report.[159]

In October 2008, the Parliamentary Budget Officer released the "Fiscal Impact of the Costs Incurred by the Government of Canada in support of the Mission in Afghanistan" and reported that the Afghan mission has so far cost Canada an estimated $7.7 billion to $10.5 billion, consisting of $5.9 billion to $7.42 billion spent on military operations, $800 million to $2.08 billion in veterans' benefits, and under $1 billion in aid. The study did not include the cost of diplomatic efforts, the cost of danger pay for soldiers, and the cost of billions of dollars of military equipment bought under accelerated procurement.

The $7.7 billion to $10.5 billion figure, that the parliamentary budget officer suggested could well be understated, places the most detailed estimate to date at 2 to 3 times the government's June 2006 total cost projection of $3.85 billion. The military component of this estimated cost to date, $5.9 billion to $7.42 billion to October 2008, is also 2 to 3 times the government's June 2006 estimate of $3.05 billion by 2009.[143][144]

The Parliamentary Budget Officer's report estimated the total cost to Canadian taxpayers of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan would reach between $13.9 billion and $18.1 billion by 2011, again excluding the cost of diplomatic efforts, the cost of danger pay for soldiers, and the cost of billions of dollars of military equipment bought under accelerated procurement. This places the financial cost to Canadian taxpayers for an extension past February 2009 at $5.58 billion to $6.8 billion.[143][144]

The report also detailed how the Defence Department's actual spending for Afghanistan exceeded planned spending in each and every year of the mission, with budget overshoots each year ranging from never less than 29.35% to as high as 310.26%.[144]

2009

In June 2009, the Treasury Board placed the price tag for Canada's military mission in Afghanistan for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 at $1.35 billion higher than the Defence Department had projected a year before.[168]

For fiscal year 2009-2010, the Treasury Board estimated that the military mission would cost Canadians $822 million, an estimate over three times higher than the $261 million price tag presented by the Defence Department in April 2008.[168]

For fiscal year 2010-2011, the Treasury Board estimated that the military mission would cost Canadians $943 million, an estimate over six times higher than the $150 million price tag presented by the Defence Department in April 2008.[168]

The Treasury Board further estimated that the military mission would cost an additional $178 million in fiscal 2011-12, when Canadian troops are expected to pull out of combat roles in Afghanistan - the first time that any figures for that year had been made available by the government.[168]

On June 24, 2009, the Defence Department, which had until then been refusing to provide updated cost estimates requested by NDP members of parliament, admitted that it had wrongfully cited national security to withhold the information and released its latest figures.[169]

The new Defence Department estimates, higher than the Treasury Board numbers, revealed that the cost of the military operations for 2009-2011 to Canadian taxpayers would now be almost $2.6 billion higher than the cost it had previously put forth a year before.[169]

For fiscal year 2009-2010, the Defence Department estimated the war would cost Canadians $1.513 billion, a cost 84% higher than the recent $822 million figure from the Treasury Board - and almost six times higher than the $261 million figure the Defence Department had given one year ago.[169]

For fiscal year 2010-2011, the Defence Department estimated the war would cost Canadians $1.468 billion, a cost 56% higher than the recent $943 million figure from the Treasury Board - and almost 10 times higher than the $150 million figure the Defence Department had presented one year ago.[169]

The military also revealed additional costs of the military operation in Afghanistan beyond 2011, the deadline for the withdrawal of Canadian troops from the current combat operation in Kandahar. For fiscal year 2011-2012, the Defence Department estimated the cost to taxpayers would be $779 million, a cost 338% higher than the recent $178 million figure from the Treasury board, and a cost that had not been mentioned in the information released by the Defence Department in April 2008.[169]

The figures released by the Defence Department also revealed for the first time further costs of the war in Afghanistan in "future years" beyond 2011-2012, that it pegged at over half a billion dollars, or $540 million.[169]

A defence official described the post-2011 figures as costs associated with closing out the mission, bringing equipment back to Canada, and restoring it to it pre-war state. However, NDP defence critic Jack Harris rejected that explanation, saying that with estimates for post-2011 costs of $1.2 billion the Defence Department "obviously has significant plans for the military in Afghanistan beyond the mission end date of July 2011."[169]

Cost of the extension past February 2009

The latest extension past February 2009 increased a seven-year military involvement in Afghanistan by an additional 2 years and 10 months to the end of December 2011.

The October 2008 report by Canada's independent Parliamentary Budget Officer determined that the Afghanistan mission had to date cost Canada an estimated $7.7 billion to $10.5 billion, and projected that the total cost to Canadian taxpayers of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan will be $13.9 billion to $18.1 billion by 2011.[143][144] According to these numbers, an extension past February 2009 would cost Canadian taxpayers $5.6 billion to $6.8 billion, including the long-term costs of caring for physically and emotionally damaged soldiers, but excluding the cost of diplomatic efforts, the cost of danger pay for soldiers, and the cost of billions of dollars of military equipment bought under accelerated procurement.[168]

The October 2008 study by the Rideau Institute estimated that an extension past February 2009 to December 2011 would cost Canadian taxpayers $7.5 billion. The study estimated the full economic cost to Canadians of an extension to December 2011 at $11.1 billion.[170]

Unexpected closure of Camp Mirage

In November 2010, Camp Mirage, the airbase in the United Arab Emirates that Canada had been using for free for nine years as its secretive logistics hub for military operations in Afghanistan, was unexpectedly and hurriedly closed at an estimated cost of $300 million. A government source stated: [171]

Lack of transparency

In May 2006, the Polaris Institute, an Ottawa-based independent think tank, estimated the cost of the military operations in Afghanistan at more than $4.1 billion for the 4.5 year period from the fall of 2001 to April 2006.[172] By comparison, in June 2006, the Conservative government's Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay told the Commons Defence Committee that the total expenditures by Canadian taxpayers to date in the war-torn country amounted to $2.3 billion, a significantly lower figure than the estimate put forth by the Polaris Institute.[151][152]

In April 2008, despite the previous month's La Presse report of a $1 billion budget overrun and despite his own government's numbers showing an incremental cost of over $1.2 billion for the fiscal year just ended, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggested that the cost of the Afghan mission was only about $500 million a year above the military's usual costs, saying that "I think the cost ... probably amounts to about a billion a year, but probably half of that would be consumed anyway."[159] However, when it became known in September 2008 that a report detailing the cost of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan was about to be released, the government drastically revised the estimate of the cost of the war to date to $8 billion.[159]

In March 2008, the Conservative government, backed by the Liberals, voted to extend Canada's military operations in Afghanistan by another 3 years until 2011, even though the financial and human costs remained shrouded in the fog of war. Only in the waning hours of debate did the members of Parliament even begin to consider the question of financial cost, with published reports that the war was $1 billion over budget.[173]

Senator Colin Kenny, head of the Senate security and defence committee, said that they failed to ask substantive questions such as what the ramifications might be on the federal treasury.[173] He stated:

In September 2008, the researcher of a study that put the military cost of the war in Afghanistan at $22 billion condemned the lack of transparency. According to security analyst David Perry, a former deputy director of Dalhousie University's Centre for Foreign Policy Studies:[146]

"The Liberals were much more transparent in the funding they were providing."

In October 2008, the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that the Afghan mission had so far cost Canadian taxpayers an estimated $7.7 billion to $10.5 billion, excluding the cost of diplomatic efforts, the cost of danger pay for the thousands of soldiers in Afghanistan, and the cost of billions of dollars of military equipment bought under accelerated procurement.[143][144]

In presenting his report, "Fiscal Impact of the Costs Incurred by the Government of Canada in support of the Mission in Afghanistan", Kevin Page, Parliament's independent budget officer stated:

His report suggests Canadians have been kept in the dark about the true costs of the Afghanistan mission, and he made clear that he was deliberately frustrated in his search for accurate and complete information from federal departments, prompting him to condemn the lack of openness around the mission and to emphasize that the real financial cost could actually be much higher. .[174]

In condemning the lack of transparency, he stated[174]:

In 2009, the Defence Department censored out the projected costs for the next three years of military operations in Afghanistan from information requested by NDP members of parliament under the Access to Information Act, claiming that releasing them would violate national security. Citing Section 15 of the Access to Information Act which allows an exemption in "the defence of Canada or any state allied", the military refused to provide the requested estimates on the cost of the war even though they had released the very same information in April 2008 when the NDP had made an identical request.[168]

On June 24, 2009, after the story broke in a Canwest News Service article, the Defence Department admitted that it had wrongfully cited national security to try to withhold the cost to Canadian taxpayers. Among the information the Defence Department finally released, post-2011 cost estimates were described by a defence official as costs associated with closing out the mission, bringing equipment back to Canada, and restoring it to it pre-war state. NDP defence critic Jack Harris rejected that explanation, saying that estimates for post-2011 costs of $1.2 billion indicated the Defence Department "obviously has significant plans for the military in Afghanistan beyond the mission end date of July 2011."[169]

"They obviously have some plans, so lay it on the table and let the Canadian people decide whether we want to be involved in this or not."

Also noting that the Defence Department numbers were "so astoundingly different from those from Treasury Board," he said:

"They're not coming clean with the people of Canada."

Military concerns about the costs of the war in Afghanistan

There is growing concern inside the ranks of the military about the real cost of Canada's involvement in the Afghan conflict.[146]

In January 2007, it was reported that Canada's navy was out of money for basic operations as the military diverted resources to the war in Afghanistan. [155][156] [175] [176]

Peter Haydon, a retired naval officer now with the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies in Halifax, stated:

Dan Middlemiss, a political science professor who teaches defence policy at Dalhousie University in Halifax, stated:

At a security and defence forum meeting in 2007, security analyst David Perry, former deputy director of Dalhousie University Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, argued that if the real costs of the Afghan war are not "transparent there is no way of knowing their real impact on the Canadian military's future force structure."[146]

In January 2008, the head of the army warned that the service was stretched almost to the breaking point and replacement stocks of equipment for Afghanistan had long been used up, destroyed by the enemy, or undergoing repairs. In the army's business plan, commander Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie warned that much of the force's combat vehicle fleet was in need of repair as a result of operation in the harsh Afghan terrain or from excessive use in training in Canada for the war in Afghanistan.[146]

The general's business plan was written not long after the release of the Defence Department's 2008-2009 Report on Plans and Priorities which also raised concerns regarding the impact of the Afghan war. In that report, the army pointed out that[146]:

In March 2008, after the Conservative government, backed by the Liberals, voted to again extend Canada's military operations in Afghanistan, the head of the Senate security and defence committee, Senator Colin Kenny, said that they had failed to ask substantive questions such as what the ramifications might be on both the federal treasury and on a military that increasingly relies on reservists and equipment under stress from continuous combat.[173]

In October 2008, when Canada's parliamentary budget office released its report on the costs of the war in Afghanistan, retired Col. Michel Drapeau, a military analyst, said that he was flabbergasted by the sheer size of the costs of the mission. He described the report as "very sobering," and was concerned about the vague nature of reporting the true costs of the mission. Retired Col. Michel Drapeau stated: [177]

"You have to wonder what decision and what figures our government and parliament were using to deploy troops."

One-year operational break needed after Afghanistan

On March 9, 2009, the head of Canada's army, Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie told the Senate defence committee that the Canadian Forces had been strained by the mission after over seven years in Afghanistan and would require at least one year to regroup from it.[178][179]

"In the mid-term and beginning in July 2011, we will have to explore the possibility of taking a short operational break, that is well-organized and synchronized, of at least one year," he said.[178][179]

The head of the army stated that the break of at least a year from operations was needed because the military is suffering from shortages of personnel, particularly experienced senior officers, as well as equipment. At the time, Canada had fewer than 100 soldiers deployed around the world in other operations than Afghanistan.[178]

He said the army is facing "huge challenges" and that by the time 2011 rolls around, a small number of Canadian soldiers will have served on their fifth mission to Afghanistan, while many hundreds will be on the fourth, third and second rotations.[180]

Lt.-Gen. Leslie also told senators that more than 70% of equipment used on military bases across Canada to train soldiers for deployment to Afghanistan is out of service at any given time.[178][179]

He stated that the military is now using all its equipment in "extremely demanding" conditions resulting in time-consuming maintenance and repair being needed.[178]

Vehicle repairs, for example, are not able to keep up to the rapid pace because the military lacks skilled mechanics and technicians, and as more vehicles break down, fewer are available for training soldiers for deployment to Afghanistan.[178][179]

Leslie reported that as a result of the Canadian army having been "run hard now for seven years" in Afghanistan, "our vehicle breakage rates are now far higher than I've ever seen them".[181]

The head of the army described the army's fleet of armoured vehicles, battered by the demands of the Afghanistan mission, as being in a state of "crisis", and citing figures from February 2009, reported that[181]:

On March 10, 2009, Canada's top military commander also said that the war in Afghanistan is causing the Canadian army to run through equipment faster than it can maintain it. Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of defence staff of the Canadian Forces, stated that army vehicles are breaking down at a high rate due to the amount of action they are seeing in the war in Afghanistan.[179] He also added that:

"We've added a lot more heavy armour to vehicles and that's put an additional strain on them and that's why some of them are breaking down at an accelerated rate."

Navy forced to cut Canadian coastal patrol fleet in half

In April 2010, in the year of its 100th anniversary, a shortage of money and resources forced the Canadian navy to issue a directive to cut half of its fleet of maritime vessels that patrol Canada's Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific coasts. Besides removing half of the country's coastal defence ships from operational duty - ordered into long-term storage indefinitely - the April 23, 2010 written directive sent fleet-wide by the navy's top admiral further ordered reductions of domestic and continental operations by other ships, and the shelving of upgrades and maintenance on others. Blaming financial considerations, Vice Admiral Dean McFadden wrote: "I have had to make difficult choices that will directly impact fleet capability and availability this year and possibly for the medium term."[182][183][184][185][186]

On May 13, 2010, after the drastic cuts became known in the news on May 12, Defence Minister Peter MacKay denied the reports, claiming operational decisions had not been taken. However, navy officers reported that the cuts were in fact being implemented as ordered in April, and, just one day following Mackay's denials, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk took the rare step of rescinding the directive that had been made by his top admiral. He said the Canadian military would re-allocate some financial resources to the navy.[187][186]

Abandonment of Canada's commitment to UN peacekeeping

Military spending for the war in Afghanistan has almost completely crowded out Canada's spending on UN peacekeeping, according to researchers.[148]

In fiscal year 2006-2007, under the new Conservative government of Stephen Harper, Canadian government spending on UN peacekeeping through its Department of National Defence dropped sharply to its lowest level in at least a decade, to only $8.5 million, including equipment and personnel.[148]

In stark contrast, in that very same year, the Canadian government's spending on Afghanistan increased by a "whopping" $1 billion, the Rideau Institute reported in "The Cost of the war and the End of Peacekeeping: The Impact of Extending the Afghanistan Mission".[148]

While the Canadian government's spending on Afghanistan increased yet again by another half a billion dollars in fiscal year 2007-2008, its spending on UN peacekeeping remained depressed in fiscal years 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, staying at least 83% lower than it had been the year before the war in Afghanistan started in 2001.[148]

In testimony to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in March 2007, Professor Walter Dorn of the Canadian Forces College and Royal Military College of Canada, observed that while Canada had often ranked number one in UN peacekeeping contributions since Lester B. Pearson proposed the concept, was the number one peacekeeper in 1991, and remained in the top 10 in the 1990s, by 2007, Canada had fallen to a low of 59th place in the world in peacekeeping, with only 55 soldiers deployed under the UN blue flag.[188][189]

In that year, the Republic of the Gambia and the Republic of Malawi, both smaller, significantly poorer third-world nations (168th and 160th respectively on the Human Development Index), placed ahead of Canada in peacekeeping personnel contributions.[190][191][188]

While Canada used to contribute on average 10% of UN peacekeeping forces, the figure had dwindled to a mere 0.1%.[188]

The reorientation of Canada's military under the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan is seen to have essentially abandoned Canada's 50-year commitment to UN peacekeeping since Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson founded the modern concept and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957.[148]

Length of the war

Already Canada's longest involvement in any war, surpassing even the length of World War II, by the end of 2011, Canada will have been involved in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan for a decade - about the length of its involvement in both world wars put together.

By May 2010, Canada's involvement in Afghanistan surpassed even the length of official U.S. participation in the Vietnam War, 8 years and 5 months, which had been the longest U.S. war until this one.[192]

Table: Length of Canada's participation in major overseas wars.[193][194][195][196][197][198][199][200][201]

War Dates Duration Timeline
1. War in Afghanistan 2001/12 - present Template:Age in years and months
2. World War II 1939/09 - 1945/09 6 years
3. World War I 1914/10 - 1918/11 4.1 years
4. Korean War 1950/07 - 1953/07 3.1 years
5. South African War 1899/10 - 1902/05 2.5 years

Repeated extensions

In May 2006, with rapidly increasing Canadian casualties in Kandahar and increasing public misgivings about the war, the military mission in Kandahar was scheduled to come to an end in February 2007.[202][203][204]

A poll that had been just released by the Strategic Counsel on May 6 showed that the majority 54% of Canadians opposed Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan, with almost half of those "strongly opposed" to the involvement. The polling firm stated: "There is starting to be greater opposition to the Afghanistan initiative - and this is a real source of weakness for the government."[64][205][206]

First multi-year extension

On May 15, 2006, despite the Canadian public's majority opposition to the war - and the much higher rate of death for Canadian troops in Kandahar - the new Conservative minority government of Stephen Harper, in office just three months, introduced a motion to extend the Canadian military mission in Kandahar past its end date of February 2007, by not just one year, as had been the case previously, but by two years to February 2009.[202][203][204]

MPs were given only a short notice of only about 36 hours and an emergency 6-hour debate, to take place from 3 pm to 9 pm, before the vote at 9:15 pm. Liberal, NDP, and Bloc members said MPs needed more time to properly go over the extension's details before being rushed to any decision, accusing Harper of playing politics with soldiers' lives by forcing a vote on less than two days notice.[202][207][208]

NDP leader Jack Layton said on May 16, a day before the debate and vote: "What we don't know is the nature of the extended mission. Canadians have not been told about it. MPs have not been told about it, yet they're going to be asked to vote on it after a few speeches on the House of Commons."

The main opposition Liberal party, divided over the issue, was also without a leader, in the midst of a leadership race, and headed by an interim leader.[202][203][204][209]

On May 17, still faced with unexpected opposition from the other parties, Harper declared early in the six-hour debate that he would unilaterally extend the military assignment for one year anyway if the Commons balked at his two-year extension.[203]

In the end, the Conservative motion was passed by a narrow margin of 149 to 145 votes, with 124 out of 125 Conservative MPs voting for the two-year extension, supported by a small group of 24 out of 102 Liberal MPs, and one independent MP. Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff argued in favor of the two-year extension during the debate, and he and Scott Brison were the only two leadership candidates to vote for the extension. Stéphane Dion, who would become leader in December 2006, Ken Dryden, and other leadership candidates voted against the extension. 66 Liberal MPS, 50 Bloc MPs, and all 29 NDP MPs voted against the extension. 12 Liberals, one Conservative, and one Bloc member were absent or abstained.[202][203][204][207][210]

Second multi-year extension

The following year, in the summer of 2007, Harper began laying the groundwork for a further extension beyond 2009, once again despite repeated polls indicating Canadians to be opposed.[208][211]

Table: Cost in lives of each extension
Period End date given at time Years Cost in lives[212]
2002 - 2005 year-at-a-time year-at-a-time 8
2006 deployment to Kandahar Feb. 2007 1 36
First extension past Feb. 2007 Feb. 2009 2 64
Second extension past Feb. 2009 Dec. 2011 3 46 (to date)
Third extension past 2011 2014 3 -
Total - 13 154 (to date)

In February 2008, the Harper Conservative minority government gave notice that it was preparing a motion to once again extend Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan, and that the motion would have a confidence vote in March, threatening a federal election if not passed.[213][214]

On March 13, 2008, the Conservative confidence motion to extend the mission again, this time by two years and 10 months to the end of 2011, passed by a vote of 198-77 with the party-whipped support of most of the Liberal opposition, and opposed by the NDP and the Bloc Québécois.[215][216]

Newfoundland MP Bill Matthews was the only Liberal caucus member to stand against the extension, saying that he wanted to be consistent with his 2006 opposition to an extended mission and felt there were too many unanswered questions about costs of the campaign. A Liberal spokesperson said the party whip would "make whatever decision needs to be made" about those who missed the vote, or opposed the motion.[215]

The head of the Senate security and defence committee, Senator Colin Kenny, also criticized the process, saying that the MPs passing the motion had failed to ask substantive questions such as what the ramifications might be on both the federal treasury and on a military that increasingly relies on reservists and equipment under stress from continuous combat.[173]

Two days after the Conservative motion to extend the mission in Kandahar by two years and 10 months was passed by the Conservatives and Liberals, thousands of Canadians marched on March 15, 2008 in protest against Canada's continued military involvement in Afghanistan.[217]

Partial acknowledgements of public opinion

In September 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged for the first time that the Canadian public has no appetite for keeping military forces in Afghanistan past 2011. He also added that Canadian military leaders, though not acknowledging it publicly, feel that a decade of war is enough as well. He stated: "You have to put an end date on these things."[218][219]

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said Harper's comments show that "he knows now that Canadians want to leave in 2011."[218]

In fact, numerous polls before, during, and after that time repeatedly showed that Canadians were opposed to the extension past February 2009 into 2011, and wanted to leave in February 2009, and not in 2011.[62][63][64][65][67][70][70][70][72][73]

Promises to end the military presence by 2011

On September 10, 2008, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged that Canada would withdraw the bulk of its military forces in Afghanistan in 2011, with only a few Canadian soldiers possibly remaining as advisers, and publicly acknowledged that the Canadian public had no appetite to stay longer than that in the war in Afghanistan.[218][220][221]

On November 5, 2008, the day after Barack Obama's election victory, the Harper government said the election of the new U.S. president would not cause Canada to reconsider its decision to pull out of the country by 2011. Harper's Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said:[222]

Cannon specifically insisted that Canadian soldiers would not be redeployed from Kandahar province to other parts of Afghanistan after 2011.[222]

On September 11, 2009, Harper reasserted that Canada would withdraw its troops in 2011 even if President Barack Obama asked him for an extension.[223]

On September 14, 2009, Harper's spokesman Dimitri Soudas reiterated that Canada would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in 2011.[224]

On January 6, 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper again made clear that virtually all Canadian soldiers would be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2011, and repeated: "The bottom line is that the military mission will end in 2011."[225][226][227]

On March 30, 2010, during a brief meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Prime Minister Stephen Harper again stated that Canada would not extend its mission in Afghanistan beyond 2011. His statement came after Clinton had said the United States would like Canada's military to stay in Afghanistan after 2011. In a follow-up, his foreign minister also reiterated:[228]

On June 2, 2010, Defence Minister Peter MacKay rejected the suggestion that Canadian troops might stay past 2011 in a training capacity, and re-affirmed the commitment to withdraw in 2011, saying:[229]

Third multi-year extension

While Harper repeatedly promised to Canadians for over a year that the military presence would end in 2011, his cabinet ministers, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to the foreign affairs minister, began signalling in October 2009 that a Conservative motion for a third extension past 2011 would be tabled in the House of Commons of Canada.[230][223][225][226]

On November 10, 2010, the Globe and Mail reported that the United States was pushing Canada to keep its military forces in Afghanistan as trainers.[231]

In an announcement timed to fall on Rememberance Day, on November 11, 2010, Stephen Harper admitted that he would extend Canada's military presence in Afghanistan by another three years to 2014, maintaining a force of up to 1,000 soldiers and support personnel in "non-combat training roles" - a turnaround completely at odds with his prior promises that the only military presence post-2011 would be a handful of troops guarding the embassy in Kabul. [232][233][234][235][236][237]

NDP leader Jack Layton noted: "Stephen Harper made a solemn commitment to bring the troops home next year, but he has again failed to live up to his words."[238]

Disproportionate share of the burden

See also: Disproportionate contribution in lives

A U.S. Congressional report dated July 22, 2009 stated that forces from Canada, Britain, the U.S., and the Netherlands "bear the brunt of the fighting", and that "the inequity of burden-sharing in combat operations ... is a factor in domestic opposition to the conflict in states that carry the greatest combat burden".[239]

Polls in 2007, 2008, and 2009 have clearly shown that the majority of Canadians feel that Canada is shouldering too much of the burden of NATO's mission in Afghanistan.

Table: "Canada is shouldering too much of the burden of NATO's mission in Afghanistan" [240][241][242][243][244]

Date Agree Disagree Not sure
Feb 2007 65% 18% 18%
Apr 2007 64% 19% 17%
May 2007 55% 19% 25%
Jul 2007 58% 18% 24%
Dec 2007 71% 19% 11%
Jan 2008 76% 15% 9%
Mar 2008 75% 15% 9%
May 2008 75% 15% 10%
Jul 2008 73% 16% 11%
Sep 2008 75% 14% 11%
Nov 2008 72% 18% 10%
Dec 2008 76% 17% 7%
Feb 2009 69% 12% 19%
May 2009 75% 17% 8%

Since 2008, about 3 in 4 Canadians believe that Canada is bearing too much of the burden in Afghanistan.

Public protests against Canada's continued involvement in the war

  • On March 18, 2006, thousands of Canadians took part in anti-war demonstrations protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Toronto, some 1,000 to 1,500 protesters converged opposite the U.S. consulate before marching through the city's downtown core. In Montreal, about 1,200 people braved the cold to march against the wars. In Ottawa, dozens of demonstrators gathered two blocks from Parliament Hill and later at the National Gallery to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Several hundred protesters marched through downtown Halifax. A protest in Vancouver also attracted hundreds.[245][246]

    At that time, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan stood at 10.

  • On Saturday October 28, 2006, thousands of protesters opposed to Canada's participation in the war in Afghanistan rallied in 40 cities and towns. Under the slogan "Support our troops, bring 'em home", as many as 500 demonstrators marched through downtown Ottawa to Parliament Hill to protest the military mission and demand the return of Canadian troops. Several hundreds of protesters in Toronto, almost 500 in Montreal, 200 in Halifax, 100 in Edmonton, more than a 100 in Calgary, and as many as 600 in Vancouver, along with protesters in over 30 other cities and towns, also took to the streets. Themes of the demonstrations included demands that the troops be brought home from Afghanistan and demands that the mission of the Canadian Forces in that country shift from a combat role to a peace keeping and humanitarian presence. Placards expressed such sentiments as "Build Homes Not Bombs," "Drop Tuition Not Bombs" and "Is This Really Peacekeeping".[247][248]

    At that time, a total of 42 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat had so far been killed in Afghanistan.[247][248]

  • On February 23, 2007, hundreds of Canadians braved wind, rain, and snow to take part in rallies in cities across Canada to protest their country's military operation in Afghanistan, urging their government to bring Canadian troops home. In Vancouver, about 600 people rallied and marched through the downtown core. In Toronto, hundreds of protesters held a rally outside the U.S. consulate. Nearly 500 people marched through downtown Montreal. About 200 people gathered in front of city hall in Halifax. Demonstrations also took place in Edmonton, Quebec City, and St. John's, Newfoundland.[249]

    At that time, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan stood at 44.[249]

  • On Saturday, March 17, 2007, demonstrators held rallies across Canada in protest of the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. In Toronto, about 200 people held a demonstration outside the U.S. consulate. In Halifax, about 100 people marched through city streets, ending with a peace rally at a park. Protests also took place in Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Winnipeg.[250]

    At that time, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan stood at 45.[250]

  • On Saturday October 27, 2007, rallies took place in 22 different Canadian cities to protest against the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan. In Montreal, around 300 protesters marched despite heavy rain, many of them carrying colourful banners and chanting anti-war slogans. In Toronto, more than 300 people took part in a march beginning at the U.S. consulate. In Halifax, around 200 demonstrators marched through the city, ending with a rally at Victoria Park, while a protest in Ottawa also numbered around 200. The protesters deplored the deaths of Canadian soldiers and the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians in the war.[251][252][253][254]

    At that time, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan stood at 71.[254]

  • File:People united will never be defeated.jpg

    Canadians taking to the streets to call for the troops to be brought home from Afghanistan in a rally on March 15, 2008. At that time, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan stood at 80.[217]

  • On Saturday March 15, 2008, thousands of protesters filled streets across Canada to speak out against Canada's military mission in Afghanistan. Rallies took place in 20 cities countrywide in a call for the government to recall the troops from Afghanistan and instead adopt a peacekeeping role, which protesters said is Canada's true calling.[255] In Toronto, 3,000 Canadians rallied outside the provincial legislature at Queen's Park before marching through busy downtown streets in a three-hour demonstration. In Montreal, hundreds of protesters waved flags and sang as they marched through the city's downtown core. The mass of people stretched for several city blocks.[217] In Ottawa, several hundred people marched on Sussex Drive for a protest on Parliament Hill.[256] The Conservative government, backed by the Liberals, had just two days before passed a motion to again extend the military operations in Afghanistan.[217]

    "I'm here because I'd like our government to divert all that spending and all those brains to find peaceful solutions. Young men and women are getting killed. Innocent people in Afghanistan are getting killed," said protester Maureen Adelman, 74.[217]
    At that time, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan stood at 80.[217]

  • On Saturday October 18, 2008, hundreds of Canadians marched in rallies held in 16 different cities across Canada to protest the country's military involvement in Afghanistan. In Toronto, more than 300 people gathered at Queen's Park to send Prime Minister Stephen Harper a clear message: Bring our troops home, now.[257] In Montreal, hundreds of people turned out to demand Canadian troops be brought home and to shine a light on the dollars-and-cents costs of a growing defence establishment.[258] In Ottawa, around 150 people marched at a rally on Parliament Hill demanding that Prime Minister Stephen Harper bring the troops home.[259][260][261]

    At that time, a total of 97 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat had so far been killed in the war in Afghanistan.[260]

  • On Saturday December 20, 2008, Canadians in Montreal and Toronto threw shoes at posters of George Bush in front of their respective U.S. consulates during protests against the U.S. military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and against Canada's involvement in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. In Toronto, the spirited crowd took to chants like "Give Harper the shoe!", and passing cars honked horns in solidarity.[262]

    At the time of the protest, the death toll of Canadian soldiers stood at 103.

See also

References

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  65. 65.0 65.1 Only a third of Canadians agree with Afghanistan mission extension
  66. Only a third of Canadians agree with Afghanistan mission extension—PDF
  67. 67.0 67.1 67.2 Public support for Afghan mission lowest ever: poll
  68. Canadian soldier killed, seven injured in Afghanistan
  69. Almost two-thirds of Canadians say Afghan mission too costly, poll suggests
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 70.3 70.4 70.5 More Canadians Oppose Afghanistan Extension
  71. Pent Up Or Fed Up?
  72. 72.0 72.1 Strategic Counsel poll results February 2008
  73. 73.0 73.1 73.2 73.3 Canadians Reject Extending Afghan Mission
  74. Country Still Split On Mission
  75. Poll results January 2008
  76. Environics' Focus Canada survey numbers (from September-October)
  77. 77.0 77.1 Canadians split on Afghan mission, poll shows
  78. Conference of Defence Associations Commentary 9—2007
  79. Think tank's funding tied to getting good press
  80. The Conference of Defence Associations’ secret contract with the Department of National Defence
  81. Five-Year Grant Agreement between the Canadian Department of National Defence and the Conference of Defence Associations
  82. Canadians think Afghans are benefitting but troops should come home soon
  83. Western Europe, Canada see Afghanistan mission as a failure
  84. Poll results January 2008 and earlier
  85. Most Canadians oppose Afghanistan mission: poll
  86. Support for Afghan intervention waning: poll
  87. 87.0 87.1 Troop deaths alarm public: Poll
  88. 88.0 88.1 Rising Discomfort with Casualties
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 Few Canadians Want Afghan Mission Extended
  90. Half (50%) Of Canadians Support Canada’s Role In Afghanistan
  91. Get troops out of Afghanistan in 2009: poll
  92. Vast majority wants Afghan mission to end on schedule: poll
  93. 93.0 93.1 Canadians support talks with Taliban: poll
  94. Poll suggests most concerned about Afghanistan
  95. Canadians want the troops home from Afghanistan on time, poll says
  96. Canadians Want Troops Out of Afghanistan
  97. 97.0 97.1 97.2 97.3 Canadians in Afghanistan face greater death threat
  98. 98.0 98.1 Pull out of Kandahar unless allies pitch in, Manley report urges
  99. 99.0 99.1 Manley panel report p.26
  100. 100.0 100.1 The war in Afghanistan: Hold your nerve
  101. 101.0 101.1 101.2 Cdns bearing brunt of Afghan coalition casualties
  102. Afghanistan: Bringing Canadian troops home
  103. Canadians killed at much higher rate than NATO allies: report
  104. 104.0 104.1 Risk of death soars for Canada's troops
  105. Afghanistan deadlier for coalition troops than Iraq: study
  106. 106.0 106.1 Relative lethality - Survival odds for civilians and occupiers in Afghanistan and Iraq
  107. Danish Afghanistan losses in line with British
  108. 108.0 108.1 Bearing the burden: ISAF casualties in Afghanistan
  109. Global Support for the War in Afghanistan is Plummeting -- So Why Aren't Americans Talking About It?
  110. Denmark tops Afghan per capita KIA figures
  111. Denmark lost most soldiers in Afghanistan
  112. Afghanistan: Canada Must Pursue a More Independent Foreign Policy
  113. Canadian forces pay higher price
  114. 114.0 114.1 Period 9: Recent military fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq by cause and nationality
  115. Cdn troops fatally shoot Afghan man in taxi
  116. Canadian soldiers fatally shoot taxi driver
  117. Bullet fired by Canadian soldier kills Afghan boy
  118. Cdn. troops mistakenly kill Afghan police officer
  119. 119.0 119.1 NATO hopes to lower Afghan civilian deaths
  120. Media blind to Afghan civilian deaths
  121. 121.0 121.1 Canadian troops kill another Afghan civilian
  122. 122.0 122.1 Afghans killed as Canadians attacked
  123. 123.0 123.1 123.2 2007 Civilian casualty report by NATO forces in Afghanistan
  124. Canadian troops kill unarmed Afghan civilian
  125. Two unarmed Afghans killed by NATO troops
  126. Canadian troops kill Afghan civilian, officer
  127. 127.0 127.1 One Afghan boy killed, brother wounded by Canadian troops
  128. Canadians investigated in Afghan civilian death
  129. Canadian convoy fires on security-firm vehicle in Afghanistan, killing one
  130. UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan - Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, 2008
  131. 131.0 131.1 Canadian troops kill Afghan civilian
  132. 132.0 132.1 Canadian fire kills Afghan civilian
  133. Afghan civilian killed as car nears Canadian bomb team
  134. Afghan girl killed, likely by errant Canadian bullets
  135. Teens killed by Canadian soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan
  136. 136.0 136.1 July 31, 2009 UNAMA Human Rights - Afghanistan - Mid-Year Bulletin on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, 2009
  137. Civilian deaths reported in Operation Medusa
  138. Civilian deaths reported in Operation Medusa
  139. Too many civilians killed by NATO in Afghanistan in 2006, official says
  140. Too many Afghan civilians killed by NATO forces: official
  141. Afghan offensive marred by civilian deaths
  142. Second group of Afghan civilians killed in NATO push
  143. 143.0 143.1 143.2 143.3 143.4 143.5 Canada's Afghanistan mission tally 10.5 billion dollars so far
  144. 144.0 144.1 144.2 144.3 144.4 144.5 144.6 Fiscal Impact of the Costs Incurred by the Government of Canada in support of the Mission in Afghanistan (October 2008)
  145. What is the price tag of war?
  146. 146.0 146.1 146.2 146.3 146.4 146.5 Afghan war costs $22B, so far: study
  147. Afghan war cost over $20 billion, claims think tank
  148. 148.0 148.1 148.2 148.3 148.4 148.5 The Cost of the war and the End of Peacekeeping: The Impact of Extending the Afghanistan Mission
  149. War in Afghanistan to cost Government $20.7 billion, UN Peacekeeping abandoned: Rideau Institute Report
  150. Cost of Afghan mission double Conservative estimate: think-tank
  151. 151.0 151.1 151.2 Canada to spend $3.5 billion on Afghan effort (original reference)
  152. 152.0 152.1 152.2 Canada to spend $3.5 billion on Afghan effort
  153. 153.0 153.1 153.2 153.3 153.4 153.5 Military expenses in Afghanistan have ballooned well above expectations
  154. 154.0 154.1 154.2 Afghanistan, by the numbers
  155. 155.0 155.1 Canadian navy enacts cost-cutting measures (original reference)
  156. 156.0 156.1 Canadian navy enacts cost-cutting measures
  157. 157.0 157.1 Afghan mission costs up sharply (original reference)
  158. 158.0 158.1 Afghan mission costs up sharply
  159. 159.0 159.1 159.2 159.3 159.4 Afghan sticker shock
  160. Afghan motion a confidence matter (original reference)
  161. Afghan motion a confidence matter
  162. Finding Canada's place in the world - We need a new map, Lloyd Axworthy argues
  163. 163.0 163.1 Afghan mission $1B over budget - Conservatives attempt to explain report of overrun for 2007-08
  164. The political cost of Afghanistan
  165. Cost of Afghan mission being kept secret
  166. Harper agrees to release of Afghan war cost report
  167. Cost of Afghan mission to be released Thursday
  168. 168.0 168.1 168.2 168.3 168.4 168.5 Treasury Board pegs Afghan tab $1.35B higher
  169. 169.0 169.1 169.2 169.3 169.4 169.5 169.6 169.7 Canada's ballooning Afghan war cost no longer national secret
  170. The Cost of the war and the End of Peacekeeping: The Impact of Extending the Afghanistan Mission, p.2
  171. Ottawa will spend $300-million to close Camp Mirage
  172. Afghan mission has cost $4.1B and counting: report
  173. 173.0 173.1 173.2 173.3 Motion to extend Afghan mission passes
  174. 174.0 174.1 Afghan costs stir uproar
  175. Afghan costs leave navy up the creek (original reference)
  176. Afghan costs leave navy up the creek
  177. Afghan mission will top $18B by 2011: report
  178. 178.0 178.1 178.2 178.3 178.4 178.5 178.6 Military will need break when Afghan mission ends: Canadian army chief
  179. 179.0 179.1 179.2 179.3 179.4 179.5 Top soldier says Afghan action wearing out equipment
  180. Soldiers may get one-year break in 2011: Forces
  181. 181.0 181.1 Army running on empty
  182. Canada's navy cuts coast patrol fleet in half
  183. Cash-strapped navy being cut to bone, analysts say
  184. Once-powerful navy is 'desperate for new ships
  185. No way to run Canada's navy
  186. 186.0 186.1 Military rescinds cuts to Canada's navy fleet
  187. MacKay denies navy fleet to be cut in half
  188. 188.0 188.1 188.2 War Is Peace
  189. Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
  190. Troop and Other Personnel Contributions to Peacekeeping Operations 2007
  191. Human Development Report 2009
  192. U.S. involved in Iraq war longer than it was in World War II
  193. Canada and the Second World War, 1939-1945
  194. Canada and the War in the Far East
  195. Archives - Canada and the First World War
  196. Canada and the First World War
  197. Chronology of the Canadian Advance in Korea
  198. Afghanistan: A timeline of Canadian involvement post-9/11
  199. Canada & The South African War, 1899-1902
  200. Canada & The South African War, 1899-1902 - Units
  201. The South African War was Canada’s first overseas conflict
  202. 202.0 202.1 202.2 202.3 202.4 MPs narrowly vote to extend Afghanistan mission
  203. 203.0 203.1 203.2 203.3 203.4 Canada Votes to Extend Mission in Afghanistan
  204. 204.0 204.1 204.2 204.3 Harper says Afghan debate important for Canada
  205. Council of Canadians urges MPs to oppose longer mission in Afghanistan
  206. Most Cdns. oppose Afghanistan deployment: poll
  207. 207.0 207.1 MPs vote to extend Afghan mission
  208. 208.0 208.1 The Afghan debate: Where the parties stand on the deployment of troops
  209. Mr. Harper Goes to War - Canada, Afghanistan, and the Return of "High Politics" in Canadian Foreign Policy
  210. Hansard May 17, 2006 vote
  211. Canadians balk at extending Afghanistan mission
  212. Ottawa Citizen searchable database of Canadian casualties in the war in Afghanistan
  213. onfidence vote on Afghan mission expected for March
  214. Tories seek to extend Afghan mission to 2011 in confidence motion
  215. 215.0 215.1 Conservatives, Liberals extend Afghanistan mission
  216. House votes in favour of extending Afghan mission
  217. 217.0 217.1 217.2 217.3 217.4 217.5 Rallies held across Canada to protest Afghan mission
  218. 218.0 218.1 218.2 Harper says 2011 'end date' for Afghanistan mission
  219. Military commitment in Afghanistan over by 2011: Harper
  220. Canada PM: Troops Home From Afghanistan in 2011 - Canada's prime minister pledges to pull troops from Afghanistan in 2011
  221. Canada Afghan mission 'ends 2011'
  222. 222.0 222.1 Canada won't rethink 2011 Afghanistan pullout after Obama win: Cannon
  223. 223.0 223.1 Harper marks eight years of sacrifice in Afghanistan, affirms 2011 deadline
  224. Canadian PM says he won't extend Afghan mission
  225. 225.0 225.1 Afghan role to be ‘strictly civilian’: PM
  226. 226.0 226.1 "Will Harper get away with misleading Canadians?"
  227. Afghan extension: What to do when NATO comes pleading
  228. Canada firm on Afghan exit date
  229. Canada could fill training role in Afghanistan post-2011, MPs say
  230. Troops to stay in Afghanistan after 2011: MacKay
  231. PM plans ‘inside the wire' Afghan role while U.S. presses for riskier one
  232. Will PM break his Afghan silence on Remembrance Day?
  233. Afghanistan 'training mission' doesn't add up
  234. Ignatieff as Wile E. Coyote
  235. Harper on Afghanistan vote (in his own words)
  236. Lying politicians/revolting voters
  237. Canadian trainers could be spread across Afghanistan
  238. Afghan training mission doesn't need vote: PM
  239. NATO in Afghanistan: A Test of the Transatlantic Alliance - July 2, 2009 p.2 (PDF p.5)
  240. Gender Gap Grows Over Afghan Mission p.6
  241. Canadians Disagree with Extending Mission in Afghanistan until 2011, p.7
  242. Only a Third of Canadians Agree with Afghanistan Mission Extension, p.7
  243. Canadian Majority Wants Troops Out of Afghanistan Before 2011, p.7
  244. Half of Canadians Adamant About Ending Afghan Mission Before 2011, p.9
  245. Canadian Peace Protests Mark Third Anniversary of Iraqi Invasion
  246. North American protests mark third anniversary of Iraq war
  247. 247.0 247.1 Thousands turn out to protest Canada's participation in Afghanistan
  248. 248.0 248.1 Protesters demand withdrawal from Afghanistan
  249. 249.0 249.1 Canadians protest Afghanistan mission
  250. 250.0 250.1 Rallies in Canada and U.S. protest Iraq war, Afghan mission
  251. Jour de manifestation
  252. Anti-war activists hold peace rallies across Canada
  253. Hundreds participate in protest against Afghan war
  254. 254.0 254.1 Canadians protest war in Afghanistan, call for troop pullout
  255. Canadians rally against extended Afghan mission
  256. Protesters seek end to Afghan combat mission
  257. End Afghan war, protest demands
  258. Peace activists demand Canada leave Afghanistan
  259. Demo wants Afghan exit - Protest calls on PM to bring troops back to Canada
  260. 260.0 260.1 Protesters want Canadian troops out of Afghanistan
  261. Anti-war protesters target Canadian military mission in Afghanistan
  262. Anti-war protesters target U.S. consulate

External links

  • Rethink Afghanistan, a ground-breaking documentary focusing on key issues surrounding the war in Afghanistan:
Part 1: Troops  · Part 2: Pakistan  · Part 3: Cost of the War  · Part 4: Civilian Casualties  · Part 5: Women  · Part 6: Terrorism
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