View Full Version : PM says Canadians turning 'minefields into farmers' fields' in Afghanistan

14 Apr 06,, 20:21
PM says Canadians turning 'minefields into farmers' fields' in Afghanistan

Last Updated Thu, 13 Apr 2006 16:20:26 EDT
CBC News

All Canadians can be proud of the job this country's soldiers are doing in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told graduates of two military training courses during a visit to Alberta on Thursday.

"Each and every victory in that dangerous country occurs only because young men and women like yourself back up our values by providing security and risking your lives," he said during a ceremony at the Land Force Western Area Training Centre in Wainwright, Alta.

"That is the type of military that all Canadians can be proud of, the military that you are joining."

The Canadian mission that is leading international troops in the dangerous region around Kandahar is beginning to "turn minefields into farmers' fields," the prime minister said.

At a news conference following his speech, Harper said Canada's troops have the full backing of his government.

"Canada's soldiers have been neglected for long periods of time," he said. "They have been neglected, ignored and marginalized."

He said the Tory government will carry out its election promises to beef up Canada's military, with more troops and better equipment.

He denied reports that Canada did not have the military resources to sustain its mission to Afghanistan, but he agreed that Canada could not support two missions of that size simultaneously.

The prime minister also reiterated previous statements that Canada wants to remain an active participant in international missions, which could range from disaster relief to humanitarian actions, to peacekeeping, security and combat.

Harper made an unannounced visit to Canada's base in Afghanistan last month, speaking to about 1,000 soldiers near Kandahar and reopening the Canadian embassy in the capital, Kabul.

He spoke of that trip at the Wainwright base on Thursday, calling the strife-torn country "a place where some of you have served and many more of you will likely serve in the near future."

That service will be a risky one. Three Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year.

Before his speech, Harper reviewed the graduates of the Basic Infantry Qualification course and the Primary Leadership Qualification course.

He was scheduled to attend a Calgary Flames game Thursday night.


14 Apr 06,, 22:19
He was scheduled to attend a Calgary Flames game Thursday night.