Rank-and-file members of the New Democratic Party have given an overwhelming endorsement to leader Jack Layton's push to withdraw Canadian troops from their combat mission in southern Afghanistan.
Nearly 90 per cent of the 1,500 delegates at an NDP policy convention in Quebec City voted yesterday in favour of the "safe and immediate withdrawal" of the Canadian troops from the war-torn country. The vote made the NDP the first major political party in Canada to take the stance.
A long ovation swept over the convention floor as the vote results were announced.
While some delegates, including MP Peter Stoffer, said the resolution was "premature," Layton said the troops should be recalled by February 2007 so that the mission can be re-evaluated.
Stoffer, whose Nova Scotia riding holds a large military constituency, spoke out against the motion: "What (the troops) are doing is right."
His remarks drew clusters of polite applause, but he was decidedly in the minority. source