I don't quite understand the timing of the rallies. It seems to me it would have been better to have had the rallies considerably before the vote and at a different time than rallies elsewhere against the Iraq war. Earlier rallies might have had some influence on public opinion and politicians but the dirty deed is done now.
Rallies held across Canada to protest Afghan mission
Last Updated: Saturday, March 15, 2008 | 9:38 PM ET Comments15Recommend44CBC News
Thousands of protesters rallied in cities across Canada on Saturday to demonstrate against Canada's military role in Afghanistan.
The demonstrations held in 20 communities, including Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Montreal, followed this week's vote in the House of Commons to extend the mission by two years to the end of 2011.
The extension is contingent upon NATO providing 1,000 additional soldiers to assist Canadian forces in Kandahar province.
Many of the protesters said they were participating to voice their belief that Canada should be a peacekeeping nation and not take part in active combat.
The protests coincided with rallies around the world to mark the upcoming five-year anniversary of the war in Iraq and demand an end to the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Toronto, more than 1,000 people gathered under sunny skies outside the provincial legislature.
Meanwhile in Montreal, hundreds of protesters waved flags and sang as they marched through the city's downtown core. The mass of people stretched for several city blocks.
"I'm here because I'd like our government to divert all that spending and all those brains to find peaceful solutions. Young men and women are getting killed. Innocent people in Afghanistan are getting killed," said Maureen Adelman, 74, who held a placard that read "No war, no way, no where."
Federal New Democrat Leader Jack Layton told reporters in Toronto that Canada is better suited to be engaging in a peacekeeping mission under the United Nations, rather than fighting under NATO.
Since 2002, 80 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed in Afghanistan.