Michael Ignatieff is refusing to give automatic approval to a Harper government proposal to extend Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan.
The Liberal leader has been advocating since June that some soldiers stay in Afghanistan to help train the Afghan military once the current combat mission ends in July 2011.
But he says Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s sudden interest in the idea, under enormous international pressure and only two weeks before a NATO leaders’ summit, is “amateur hour.”
Ignatieff says he won’t support any extension of the mission without knowing all the details — including how many soldiers would remain, for how long, what their precise role would be and whether other allies would contribute to the training program.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay confirmed Sunday that the government is considering a non-combat training role for Canadian troops after July.
Sources have told The Canadian Press that the government is considering sending up to 600 soldiers to Kabul until 2014 to bolster NATO training efforts.