The Manley Panel’s report includes an extensive list of essential policy changes which address the full spectrum of issues facing Canada’s mission in Afghanistan: Canada should stay in Afghanistan until the job is done; more troops are needed from our NATO allies; Poppy for Medicine projects should be implemented as part of a coherent counter-narcotics policy; CIDA should be revamped; and the Kandahar hospital should be refurbished and renovated as a signature Canadian project. Although the Panel is not as clear on action items to deal with the Taliban and Al Qaeda bases in Pakistan as they could have been, their report does recognise the insurgent safe havens in Pakistan as a critical problem.
ICOS congratulates the Manley Panel on the extensive consultation process which led to this important report. To generate more public involvement and knowledge of the issues encapsulated in the Panel’s report, the Harper government should organise a cross-Canada tour of town hall meetings for the Manley panel, bringing Canadians into the ongoing conversation about Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.
In many cases what the Manley Panel report says applies to other NATO governments operating in Afghanistan, particularly the US and the UK. The leaders of these countries would do well to heed the words and recommendations of the Manley panel.
What remains to be seen now is whether Prime Minister Harper and his government have the political will and competency to put the Manley panel’s recommendations into action.