Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Talking Taliban Blues

Canadians are backing the NDP position on Afghanistan....surprise, surprise.

Canadians still think it's a good idea to negotiate with Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents as a way to end the violence there, a poll finds.

In The Strategic Counsel poll conducted for CTV and The Globe and Mail, there was almost two-to-one support for the notion:

  • Net good idea: 63 per cent
  • Net bad idea: 32 per cent

The proportion of respondents saying it was a bad idea dropped by four percentage points when the same question was asked in October.

"In a way, it's a very Canadian thing to believe that nothing can't be solved by sitting across a table and talking," Peter Donolo of The Strategic Counsel told CTV.ca on Sunday.

However, Canadians might also think the mission is a morass, with no real end point in sight, he said.

Donolo said 57 per cent of Conservative Party members supported the idea of negotiations.

When NDP Leader Jack Layton called for peace talks with the Taliban last fall, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay later called the approach "naive." Some wags started calling Layton "Taliban Jack."

A Decima poll, provided exclusively to The Canadian Press, indicates that 55 per cent of those polled believe it’s likely that detainees captured by Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan wind up being tortured by Afghan authorities. And 58 per cent believe Canada has an obligation to ensure those detainees are not abused.

On that score, only 33 per cent were satisfied with the government’s confused and contradictory handling of the issue; 42 per cent were dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction was highest in Ontario (49 per cent), the province that holds the key to Tory hopes for a majority in the next election, and British Columbia (50 per cent).

And Canadians support Peacekeeping, not war making, contrary to the Conservative government and their sycophants over at the Blogging Tories.

Canadians want action on Darfur, poll finds

The Pollara poll, which surveyed 1,642 people across the country, found that 66 per cent of respondents agree that Canada should play a lead role in stopping the "genocide" in Darfur, with 27 per cent saying they strongly agree. Quebec and the Prairies led the country at 69 per cent, with B.C. at 67, Ontario at 65 and Alberta at 63.

The push to intervene was highest among people aged 18-34, with 79 per cent of men and 71 per cent of women calling on Canada to play a lead role.

"Canadians expect their government to show leadership in creating a more secure world. Africa in general, and Darfur in particular, occupy a prominent position in the humanitarian thinking of Canadians," said Vahan Kololian, chairman of the Mosaic Institute, an organization devoted to diversity, international peace and development.


Jack Layton

Taliban Jack




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