So on one hand you have the Prime Minister of Canada accusing his people of being cowardly, and on the other a Conservative party pundit saying the people are ignorant and don't know how to make decisions. Is this some new strategy they have developed for wooing voters? Some sort of reverse psychology trick where they heap abuse on the people whose support they want for their policies? I can see why they don't want to take the issue before Parliament. With an attitude like that they could alienate the opposition parties and be out on their ear after the first vote.
Canadian troops have been in Afghanistan for a long time now, and the public has had a lot of information about the situation there, and the role our troops are being asked to play. Canadians do not, as rule, feel comfortable with our troops in an aggressive role in a conflict. As the poll suggests, we are much happier when our troops are serving in the peacekeeping role that has earned them the respect of nations around the world.
It took us years to reclaim that respect after we agreed to be participants in the first Gulf War back in 1990. It was not until we made the choice not to join the Coalition in Iraq that people remembered we were more than just an extension of American foreign policy. No offence to any of my American friends reading this, but no country wants to be seen as someone who just apes their neighbour. (Anyway, the only way we could have participated in Iraq was by withdrawing our commitment from somewhere else in the world. We simply didn't have the resources available; never mind that the majority of our population was against involvement.)
If you're interested in a good source for information on Canada's role in Afghanistan, including a military assessment from our Chief of Staff General Rick Hillier, The Globe and Mail newspaper has put together their version of a master post that provides links to almost everything that has been written in the last month, in their paper, on the subject.
The second major foreign policy decision that the Conservative government made without consulting Parliament was to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority. This makes Canada the first country after Israel to cut aid to the new Hamas led government.