But deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff delivered a stern ultimatum to the government less than two hours later, clarifying the Liberal position.
"If the government does not accept a clear focus on training and reconstruction, if they believe that they can sneak past Parliament a motion that continues the existing mission ... I am afraid that they will have difficulty securing the Canadian consensus that this party is seeking," Ignatieff said in the House of Commons.
You need to have some clarification on priorities, because as it stands now, the motion leaves too much control in the hands of the Conservatives. Given the government's previous preference for the status quo, it is imperative that the Liberals secure clear language on expenditure for training and re-construction.
I was also pleased to see that Dion isn't accepting the "1000 additional troops" at face value, that the Liberals would like the government to clarify the descrepancy between this recommendation and what commanders feel is necessary:
Dion said the government must still explain:
The need for just 1,000 additional soldiers when some commanders say 5,000 or even 10,000 more troops are needed.
This demand represents the first time anyone has really challenged this arbitrary number, it is a critical point. If, the troop increase recommended by Manley is woefully inadequate, as suggested by military officials, then the question then becomes, is this new formula simply a recipe for failure? It is incumbent on the government to explain how this recommendation adequately addresses the security challenges. If this dialogue reveals a fatal flaw moving forward, then the Liberals may need to reconsider their support, until this central argument is addressed.