"So now it’s time to talk to the Taliban.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told reporters on Tuesday that the Taliban has an important role to play in laying the foundations of a new Afghanistan. “We encourage a reconciliation process that is inclusive of all Afghans, no matter their ethnicity,” he said.
Now cup your hand to your ear and listen for the caterwauling of the uber patriots here on the home front decrying the minister’s capitulation to the enemy. Hmm. Oddly quiet. Could this minster really represent the government that so cravenly branded NDP leader Jack Layton “Taliban Jack” four years ago for suggesting exactly the same thing?
“Is it next going to be tea with Osama Bin Laden?” asked Peter MacKay.
A Globe and Mail columnist [Christie Blatchford] indignantly wrote “Would he pull out the chairs for their representatives? Would he pour tea for those who have killed 23 Canadian soldiers this year?
So almost four years after Layton suggested talking with the Taliban the minister acknowledges this is now official policy. For a guy who was labeled a soldier-hater and a Taliban-lover Jack Layton is remarkably gracious about the turnaround. I asked him recently if he was planning to ask for an apology and he demurred. “As long as the right thing gets done I don’t really care”.
Cannon has actually been making quiet noises about Taliban "reconciliation and re-integration" since January : Canada considering Karzai plan to offer cash to Taliban: Cannon
From John Manley's 2008 Independent Panel on Canada's Future Role in Afghanistan :
"When asked whether President Karzai should enter into negotiations with the Taliban and allow them to participate in the political process, some 60% of Afghans currently believe a negotiated settlement should be pursued."About the same margin of Canadians, including Conservatives, also favoured negotiation back in May 2007 : CTV : Canadians support talks with Taliban: poll
"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.Airshow Pete, "Goldie" Hawn, and World Stage Steve will eventually have to find a whole new place to play dress-up.
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
Donolo said 57 per cent of Conservative Party members supported the idea of negotiations."