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Liberal leader Stephane Dion awoke Tuesday morning to find himself and his party in between a rock and hard place in the eyes of Canadians.
On the agenda, a meeting with Prime Minister Steven Harper about extending Canada's role in Afghanistan beyond its February 2009 cut off. Already Dion had met with New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton about upholding the deadline.
Layton, a devote critic of Canada's role in Afghanistan and putting Canadian soldiers in any form of active combat other than peace keeping, has doggedly criticized the Prime Minister from every angle the war in Afghanistan has propelled to our borders. Meanwhile, Harper has come off as United States President George W. Bush's lap dog for beefing up Canada's role and making some of his first duties as Prime Minister to visit troops serving in Afghanistan. Layton, however, has never been to Afghanistan and had he it is unlikely he would have stayed long enough to remove his rose-tinted glasses and impartially look at the role Canadians have been serving.
In speaking with some of this community's service men and women many of them were very proud to have served in Afghanistan and a majority expressed a will to return and be part of the solution in bringing peace and stability in that nation. None of the gibberish politicians spoke of either for or against the war entered their dialogue. They, the soldiers, have a job to do and it just happened their job brought them to Afghanistan and were proud of the work they were doing. Indeed, there were aspects of their job that they didn't like but they were proud to serve.
This, perhaps, will be what offsets Dion from his fellow opposition leaders. In January, to the chagrin of Parliament, Dion became the first opposition leader to visit Afghanistan in years. Certainly the Conservatives called Dion's visit one of self-interest and rightly so. If not anything Dion is a leader interested in the role Canadian soldiers serve. It stands to be seen which way the wind will blow Dion but as a populous we can at least trust his decision to side either with the Conservatives or the NDP will be made after talking with the soldiers who are the front line of his vote.
That is, provided he didn't borrow Mr. Layton's glasses before he left.

Organizations: New Democratic Party, Conservatives

Geographic location: Afghanistan, Canada, United States

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