He announced Canada would contribute $10 million toward regular weekly salaries of Afghan police officers in an effort to stop corruption and co-operation with the Taliban within the force.
"[P]roviding a national civilian police force with an adequate and regular salary is critical to helping restore security and the rule of law in Afghanistan," said MacKay in a news release.
"Our contribution will help further this objective, resulting in a more professional police force to better serve the people of Afghanistan."
A leaked U.S. government report in December said the U.S.-trained Afghan police force was riddled with corruption and incapable of carrying out routine law enforcement. Washington, which contributes $1 billion US to train the force, says the force has about 50,000 members, although the report said 70,000 were on its payroll.
In my mind, this sort of commitment should be the principle Canadian strategy as we move forward. If you can't provide Afghans with a domestic force that is credible, then you have failed. If you don't provide the funding to counter the lure of drug money, then the mission goes nowhere. Afghanistan will only succeed if the Afghan army and police force succeed, foreign occupation is only a temporary bandaid.
McKay's announcement is much more substantial than his earlier paltry commitment. My only criticism, this new expenditure is still small, when compared with the money allocated for security. The government had no problem recently committing an extra 189 million for 15 tanks and a anti-mortar unit. I would like to see the same expenditures allocated for domestic security and training. Imagine the impact if Canada dropped an additional 200 million into the police forces?
If success is really the goal, then the government should offer a bold re-construction and domestic security package. I think Canadians would support a further commitment, in the order of billions, if there was a sense the money lead somewhere. Today's announcement is hopefully one of many along the same lines, the situation demands it, unless we are content with the sadistic reality of whack a mole. Gentle applause for McKay today.