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Cost of Afghanistan mission: approximately 18.1 billion$. Ouch.

That’s what the Parliamentary Budget Officer said the Afghanistan Mission will end up costing Canadians by the time it ends in 2011 – presuming of course that Stephen Harper keeps to his word that this is the definite end of the mission. The thing is, 18.1 billion might not be the final tally:

But after poring over the books of federal departments, even Page had to couch his findings and admit that the real cost could be much higher…The report serves up more bad news for the federal Conservatives, who have already come under criticism for their secrecy and lack of disclosure surrounding many aspects of the mission. Page, an independent, non-partisan watchdog of Parliament, says he had trouble getting accurate information from federal departments. “This problem, combined with incomplete information and discrepancies in the financial data from different sources within the (government) hinders effective Parliamentary oversight,” Page writes in his report. In his report, Page raises a red flag, warning that the estimates made public so far significantly underestimate the cost of the mission, which began in 2002. “The actual spending . . . has consistently been higher than the planned spending for each fiscal year,” he said. At one point in his report, Page warns that his report may be underestimating the cost of the mission because of the trouble estimating some costs, like capital costs for equipment that is being worn out faster than expected due to use in Afghanistan.

Who do I expect this report to benefit the most if it indeed spells more trouble for the Conservatives? The BQ in Quebec – where they already are pretty strong now, but this will probably doom a few more Conservative seats there – and the NDP.. though it’s possible that in the rest of Canada, the folks who would vote NDP on this issue are already in their camp.

Still, this issue might (and I stress MIGHT) be the elephant in the room, so to speak.

4 comments to Cost of Afghanistan mission: approximately 18.1 billion$. Ouch.

  • Moebius

    So, the Paul Martin Afghanistan mission, continued by the CPC, and supported by Dion, is going to be expensive?

    What a surprise. What’s your point?

  • Luke

    Mr. Harper set out traps with a flood of non confidence votes just so that his government would fall. The Libs didnít bite because they knew it would be political suicide, 3 elections within 3 years the Conservatives would surely have gotten the golden goose of a majority.

    Jack Layton was willing to take the bait from the Conservatives; he claims he wanted to turf Mr. Harper earlier. Surely Mr. Layton could not seriously think he alone could have stopped the Conservatives from gaining a majority. But yet he continues to criticize the Libs for not taking the bait. Does that not show the NDP hypocrisy?

  • jenn

    If Canadians are sane they will lay this equally at the door of the Liberal Party for having voted to extend the mission.

    The LPC made all sorts of noise at the time about how they were doing what was right for the country right for Afghani women and NO MEDIA made a significant challenge of this particularly given that a number of caucus members refused to vote with the government. I wonder who promised what to whom to make sure they had enough votes.

    New Democrats have been proven right on whether the mission is worth it, whether it is winnable and warned it would be astromincally more expensive. While the libs sat on their hands, it was Paul Dewar that went to the PBO to get this report.

    Really – how can you defend these guys/women? They have taking political expediency to a lethal level – literally.

    whoever – btw it was the Liberals who sent our troops in to invade Afghanistan and that is exactly what we did…

  • whoever

    In answer to a reporter’s question about this in Richmond BC this morning, Harper said: “it’s a commitment we made when we invaded that country” …INVADED!!!

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