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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

This article was downloaded by University of Toronto LibrariesOn 17 September 2012 At 1338Publisher RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number 1072954 Registeredoffice Mortimer House 3741 Mortimer Street London W1T 3JH UKAmerican Review of Canadian StudiesPublication details including instructions for authors andsubscription informationhttpwwwtandfonlinecomloirarc20Evaluating the Trenton EffectCanadian Public Opinion and MilitaryCasualties in Afghanistan 20062010aJeanChristophe Boucher a Universit LavalVersion of record first published 25 May 2010To cite this article JeanChristophe Boucher 2010 Evaluating the Trenton Effect CanadianPublic Opinion and Military Casualties in Afghanistan 20062010 American Review of CanadianStudies 402 237258To link to this articlehttpdxdoiorg10108002722011003734753PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use httpwwwtandfonlinecompagetermsandconditionsThis article may be used for research teaching and private study purposes Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction redistribution reselling loan sublicensingsystematic supply or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbiddenThe publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representationthat the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date The accuracy of anyinstructions formulae and drug doses should be independently verified with primarysources The publisher shall not be liable for any loss actions claims proceedingsdemand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this materialAmerican Review of Canadian StudiesVol 40 No 2 June 2010 237258RARC0272201119439954American Review of Canadian Studies Vol 40 No 2 Mar 2010 pp 00American Review of Canadian StudiesEvaluating the Trenton Effect Canadian Public Opinion and Military Casualties in Afghanistan 20062010American Review of Canadian StudiesJC BoucherJeanChristophe BoucheraUniversit LavalIs the public perception of Canadians influenced by military losses in AfghanistanMany commentators academics and members of the media have taken for granted thatgrowing popular discontent toward Canadas involvement in Afghanistan has beeninfluenced by the human costs of military operations However without an empiricalexamination of the question such a claim remains assumed This article assesses theinfluence of Canadas military casualties suffered in Afghanistan between 2006 and2010 on Canadian public opinion In looking at both aggregate and gendered data Ifind that mounting military casualties in Kandahar had no significant impact on publicopinion However in analyzing Canadian public opinion following regional divisionsI find that Quebecs and Albertas public attitudes were surprisingly casualtytolerantPublic opposition to the Afghanistan mission in other regionsthat is Ontario BritishColumbia ManitobaSaskatchewan and the Atlantic provinceswas shaped to alesser degree by casualties suffered by the Canadian ForcesKeywords Canada Afghanistan foreign policy casualties public opinionBetween February 2006 and January 2010 Canadas military contribution to the internationalefforts in the province of Kandahar cost the lives of 131 members of the Canadianarmed forces This tragic reality makes the Afghan intervention the deadliest missionin which Canada has taken part since the Korean War of the 1950s In terms of fatalities three years in Kandahar have been more significant than 50 years of Canadian1peacekeeping commitment under the auspices of the United Nations Of course asoldiers death is a reality of any military intervention casualties are generallyexpected and accepted by governments and armed forces Certainly the Canadiangovernment anticipated that casualties would result from military operations in southernAfghanistan In 2005 prior to the deployment of the Canadian battle group in Kandaharthe Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier and the Minister of National Defence BillGraham toured the country in the hope of preparing Canadians for a dangerous mission InDownloaded by University of Toronto Libraries at 1338 17 September 2012 September 2005 Graham publicly recognized the perilous nature of Canadas undertaking in Afghanistan sayingCanadians can be assured that our troops are exceptionally well trained equipped and led forthis mission I spoke with some of them as they left for Kandahar They are confident in theirability to accomplish this task with all the professional competence that has marked theirprevious endeavors Among them are those who have served there before they know fromtheir experience that this will be dangerous work with a high risk of injury and the potentialfor casualties that comes with the job Canadians too must recognize this aspect of theirmission and be ready to support them in every way if that occurs Graham 2005ISSN 02722011 printISSN 19439954 online 2010 ACSUSDOI 10108002722011003734753httpwwwinformaworldcom
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