As Canada’s military mission ends, protests to continue

The loose coalition that has been protesting for peace on Highway 19A in Parksville plans to continue their weekly gatherings, despite the end of Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan.

The loose coalition that has been protesting for peace on Highway 19A in Parksville plans to continue their weekly gatherings, despite the end of Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan.

Rick Sullivan is a spokesperson for the Oceanside Coalition for Strong Communities, one of the groups involved in the Tuesday evening protests for peace in Afghanistan.

The Canadian combat mission in Afghanistan ended July 7, with nearly 3,000 soldiers beginning to leaving the volatile Kandahar region.

The mission cost Canada the lives of 157 troops and more than $11 billion. Troops have now moved to Kabul to take part in a training mission to get Afghan troops trained to the point where they can be responsible for their own security.

Despite the withdrawal, Sullivan said the group plans to maintain its protest.

“We talked about it and decided our position really is that Canadian troops should be home,” he said. “If there is a role for assisting in Afghanistan, it shouldn’t be a military one. We should support government and social services that are in need of repair. We don’t think the military was ever the appropriate assistance.” 

Sullivan said the group was curious how the public would respond to their ongoing protest, adding people still appear to be expressing their support.

“We’re getting as much support as we ever did,” Sullivan said. “We’re receiving a surprising number of honks. I think polling that has been done shows the majority of Canadians do not support the role the armed forces have taken in Afghanistan and they want the troops brought home.”