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Commons Give Indirect Endorsement Of Afghan Mission Extension

File photo of a Canadian NATO soldier. GETTY IMAGES/AFP/Yuri Cortez.

The House of Commons has given an indirect endorsement of the government’s decision to extend Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan.

Conservative and Liberal MPs joined forces to reject a Bloc Quebecois motion condemning the government for breaking its promise to withdraw Canadian troops entirely by next July.

The motion was defeated 209-81, with New Democrats and Bloquistes in support.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced earlier this month that Canada will keep 950 soldiers in Afghanistan until 2014 in a strictly non-combat role to help train the Afghan military.

There had been speculation that some Liberal MPs might support the Bloc motion, in open defiance of Leader Michael Ignatieff, but that dissent did not materialize.

Ignatieff’s decision to support the extension triggered some grumbling behind the closed doors of Liberal caucus meetings.