Canadian PM announces C$200 million for Afghanistan aid

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Monday, announced CAN$200 million for the cleanup of war-torn Afghanistan.

The money will be used for hospitals and broken roads as well as other important projects that will help Afghanistan. The $100 million has been added to the $100 million already used in the country, which will be used over the next 10 years.

"Thanks to the Canadian Forces efforts, the fragile peace that reigns over most of the country has been extended to large parts of Kandahar province," Harper said during a news conference in Ottawa. "Now it's time to consolidate those security gains on the ground and use them to advance reconstruction because the long-suffering Afghan people desperately need hope for a better future for their families and communities."

"Afghanistan is a long way from home, but the issues we are addressing here — building democracy, reducing poverty, fighting terrorism, celebrating pluralism — matter for the entire world," Harper said. "Global security hinges on success in Afghanistan... Afghanistan is on the frontline of the international security challenge of the modern post-war world. We must build a successful alternative there in order to defeat extremism and terrorism everywhere."

About $120 million is already being spent for governance and development; $30 million for counter-narcotics; $20 million for policing; $20 million for de-mining; and $10 million for road construction.

Various political leaders in Canada want the soldiers to come home from Afghanistan. NDP leader Jack Layton wants the troops pulled out of Kandahar, where the Canadians are currently fighting, immediately. However, in earlier 2006, the Conservative government said the troops will stay until 2009. Before Stéphane Dion was elected as Liberal leader, thirty Liberal MPs suppoted the motion but a majority of them opposed. Stéphane Dion, now leader, says if he were elected Prime Minister, he would pull out all 2,500 troops.

Canada's overal mission in the country is for humanitarian and peacekeeping as well as fighting for peace and an end to the war.