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Idle threats

Canada is fishing for more soldiers for Afghanistan this week at the NATO conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. As mentioned in…

By Leslie Young , in 21st Century State-Building Blogs , on February 8, 2008

Canada is fishing for more soldiers for Afghanistan this week at the NATO conference in Vilnius, Lithuania.

As mentioned in a previous post, Canada has given an ultimatum to the other NATO nations: pony up another 1,000 troops, or we go home.

So far, Canada seems likely to get its way, although there might never have been a question of it. Really, when you think about it, 1,000 troops from all of NATO aren’t all that much to ask for.I’m not sure what Canada is trying to do by putting that 1,000 troop requirement in place. Domestic political reasons seem to be the most likely explanation.

After all, France is poised to offer another 700 troops or so. The U.S. recently announced a deployment of 3,000 marines to Afghanistan. Although the U.S. says that these troops will be leaving well before Canada’s February 2009 deadline, they could probably be convinced to stay.

So it’s hard to say what we’re trying to get out of this. Or, rather, what Harper is trying to get out of this.

He’s expected to table a motion for a future confidence vote on the Afghan mission soon. That means it’s all up to Dion to either change his tune and keep the government up, or stick to his guns and bring it down.

UPDATE: The confidence motion was introduced Friday. It will be voted on in March. When asked if he will bring down the government over this issue, Dion declined to comment.