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The Globe and Mail

Request for troops a debate for Parliament

Perusing my morning read, I see that the Americans are preparing to request that Canada keep 500 to 600 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2011. According to this report, our troops would serve as military trainers, would be located in Kabul and would not be "in harm's way."

Pish.

If our troops are serving as military trainers, sooner or later they will have to accompany the Afghan troops they are training into combat operations. Which means they will be in harms way.

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Some Canadians will support our continued military involvement in Afghanistan, others will oppose it. Which means that the U.S. request should be debated by Parliament, as Prime Minister Harper has committed.

Until now, Mr. Harper has lived up to that commitment, and there is no reason to believe that he will not continue the practice. Moreover, having established the precedent, the case can be made - and likely would be made if necessary - that a convention has now been established requiring the approval of Parliament to deploy troops into combat, thereby curbing one of the most important powers of a prime minister that flow from the Crown prerogative.

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