Canadians from all political parties should get behind the
Liberal Party’s Bob Rae in his commitment to make Afghanistan a
priority for a new Canadian Democracy Promotion Agency, the
Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee (CASC) declared today.
“When Bob Rae told us on Wednesday that Afghanistan would be a
priority for the Agency, we were so happy. We are urging all parties
to the follow the Liberals’ lead,” CASC President Babur Mawladin said
In a statement released today, Rae confirmed that the Liberals want an
Afghanistan field office for the Agency, and that the time for just
talking about it is over: “It is important to go beyond words, and to
engage directly with Afghan institutions and agencies. We would see a
focus on Afghanistan as a strong reflection of our commitment as
Canadians. A local office to co-ordinate our efforts is a logical
extension of our continuing work in Afghanistan."
Rae will join Mawladin and other members of the Canada-Afghanistan
Solidarity Committee who will be celebrating the news at a reception
on Friday April 15 at 5 o’clock at the Taj Banquet Hall, 4611 Steeles
“Canadian soldiers have been fighting and dying to build a democracy
in Afghanistan and we are determined that their sacrifices will not be
in vain,” Mawladin said. “The idea for a Canadian Democracy Promotion
Agency has already won wide support on Ottawa. It’s time to get on
In March, 2010, the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee’s “Keeping
Our Promises” report specifically recommended action on this
long-promised initative and urged that a new Canadian mission include
the establishment of at least one Agency field office in Afghanistan.
The establishment of the Agency was contained in the Liberal Party’s
campaign platform unveiled last week.
The 2009 Senate Advisory Panel Report on the Creation of a Canadian
Democracy Promotion Agency, proposed that the agency, with a budget of
up to $70 million a year, include at least one Afghanistan field
office. Late last year, the proposal was considered by the Prime
Minister’s office, but nothing happened.
“We know that the Liberals have wanted to establish this agency for
some time. It has already been mentioned in two Conservative throne
speeches. The idea was even raised in the Conservative Party’s own
2008 campaign platform. We have to stop just talking about this and
start doing it,” Mawladin said.
The Democracy Promotion Agency will be working with groups
in Canada and around the world to ensure that Canada's efforts on
behalf of democracy are robust," Rae said. "Clearly these efforts must include
Afghanistan, where Canada's efforts to improve governance in
Afghanistan are a critical feature of our past and future work.”
Babur Mawladin, President
Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee
Phone 905.301.0761 or 416.249.6742.