Courier editorials; Afghanistan, elections, and taxes…oh my

I won’t lie. I feel tapped out this week. Between the upcoming federal election, the pulling out of Afghanistan, and the flurry of activity happening in our region as we careen towards the first day of school, it’s been a lot.

And it’s hard to know where to put my focus when it comes to applicable topics. Should we talk about Afghanistan and the absolute chaos of pulling troops out of the country after a 20 year residence? It’s a topic I don’t in reality have the space to dissect here; but suffice it to say leaving the country was never going to be a clean venture, but it most certainly could have been handled in a more efficient manner. Begin evacuating civilians before troops would have been one of my first suggestions, falling really onto second to my confidence the Taliban would do precisely what it did, which is retake the country in what seemed like mere hours.

To anyone who thought it wouldn’t happen (President Joe Biden himself said it wasn’t a concern earlier this summer), well, I’m afraid you are naive. If the Taliban can do anything, it’s lie patiently in wait for the right opportunity. And knowing this mass exodus of foreign military was happening, as former U.S. President Donald Trump negotiated the leaving of Afghanistan prior to vacating office, wait is all the group had to do.

And while British forces in particular have been going above and beyond to get civilians out of the country, the U.S. has been less successful on that front and Canada…well Canada seems to have silently left the country with little more than a “see ya later”. I don’t blame the troops on the ground, rather the bumbling, antiquated bureaucratic wheel that doesn’t turn. In a recent interview with CBC’s Rosemary Barton, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marc Garneau said Canada had evacuated a mere 3,700 people.

In fact, calling an election just as the military evacuation from Afghanistan was due to take place seems to be one of the bigger gaffs of current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

They say close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and I feel like this comes much closer to the hand grenade portion of the saying.

But in the world of politics, when you draw all the attention to the left hand, the general public often forgets to watch what the right hand is doing and the election call worked perfectly for Trudeau in that respect.

I don’t think I’ve come across a story about the Canadian military exodus from the Middle East, but I have most certainly seen that NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is the most well-liked leader (in a popularity contest), and been inundated with Liberal ads on Facebook telling me we “have each others backs”.

Canadians weren’t due to go to the polls until October 2023, and I think we should have been allowed to wait until then. If nothing else this is just another expenditure to add to the list, putting the country needlessly further in debt. Did COVID-19 relief money need to paid out to Canadians? Absolutely. The costs involved in a pandemic are simply required spends that governments around the world accepted. But as we ever so precariously start to maybe see a glimmer of light at the end of the never-ending tunnel, I’d have liked our government to have fiscal responsibility in mind.

But the truth is I think it’s fiscal responsibility that prompted this election in the first place. Trudeau, sooner rather than later, was going to have to break it to Canadians that the most efficient way to put the coins back in the coffers is increased taxes, and he certainly doesn’t want to have that conversation until he’s put in power again.

The ironic portion of this tale is the twist; Canadians may call his bluff and Trudeau may find himself on the receiving end of the great Canadian tradition of not so much voting a leader in, but voting a leader out.

Krisi Marples