The Liberal position
Wednesday morning the federal parties hold their weekly caucus meetings on Parliament Hill.
Today the Liberals took on the issue of Afghanistan. How should they respond to the prime minister's acceptance of the recommendations in the Manley report? Should the leader enter into negotiations with the prime minister over a new role for Canada? Is there any room in the Liberal position for negotiation?
Since the release of the Manley report, Stephane Dion has repeated Liberals are sticking to their position of the last year: they want Canada to end any combat role in Kandahar by February 2009. The mission can be extended but in a new way: reconstruction, aid and training.
However word is leaking out that just as it was when the vote was held to extend the mission, caucus is divided.
And specifically the former leadership candidates, namely Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff , may not agree with the leader's bottom line on no combat role post February 2009. The question is whether Liberals can afford to say no to an extended mission if the prime minister manages to secure the extra forces and equipment suggested by Manley.
Michael Ignatieff told one reporter that he would "neither confirm or deny" divisions.
Reporters who were hoping the usual post caucus scrums would help clarify things were disappointed.
Neither Ignatieff, nor Rae, nor Dion for that matter, came out to talk to reporters.
They chose the back door.
So for now the speculation about what the Liberals will do, and splits in caucus continue.
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