Conservative leader Erin O'Toole released a statement on the events unfolding in Afghanistan, offering solutions for Canada's path forward. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered condolences for the victims of the attacks at the Kabul airport.
"Like all Canadians, I have been watching with dread as the crisis has unfolded in Afghanistan. The time we had to rescue our brave staff, supporters, and allies has run out. I've watched with a growing sense of apprehension and disappointment," he said.
"With the news of a deadly bombing at the airport today," he said Thursday, "that feeling has turned to horror and sorrow. We are witnessing the sheer devastation and grief of so many people seeking to flee Afghanistan, a country now in the hands of the Taliban, a recognized terrorist organization responsible for killing over 160 Canadians and wounding many, many more."
"This is truly a bitter end to a bitter war. The path forward is one of grief, difficulty and uncertainty. There are and there will be no easy decisions. There will be a time for questions about how we found ourselves in this situation, how our government failed to heed the warnings. But this is not it," O'Toole said.
"Now is the time for us to come together as a country. Now is the time to ask what we can do to bring people home. These are the people who have risked everything to help us," he said, speaking about interpreters, aid workers, and humanitarian workers."
O'Toole spoke about those Afghans who dreamed of a better life for their countrymen and women, saying that "We told them that was possible, before letting them down."
"Canada shouldn't turn its back on our friends and allies. We certainly shouldn't turn our backs on the people who gave everything to help us, and who believed in our promise for a better tomorrow. There is no easy path. There are no easy answers," he said.
"And at this point the sad truth is that—after months of delay—we won't be able to help everyone. But I can tell you with absolute certainty: We could be doing more, we should be doing more," O'Toole said. "We need a plan to help as many of these people as possible."
"We should be extending our hand to offer assistance wherever we can. As a country, we were caught unprepared for the evacuation, but we can't be for the aftermath," he said.
"How we react now, how we help the people who helped us at this dire moment: This is a question of who we are as a country and as a people," he said, before listing "three concrete things that we can do right now."
"Number 1, rededicate ourselves to work with our allies and Afghanistan's neighbours to help anyone able to flee the Taliban. Number 2, work with our allies, including India, to establish humanitarian and refugee corridors. Number 3, provide political and material support to Afghans resisting the Taliban occupation," O'Toole outlined.
"We must not stop in our efforts to stand up for those who stood with us," O'Toole concluded.
Trudeau's statement, issued to Twitter, read "We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks in Kabul. Our hearts break for the people of Afghanistan and the loved ones of the victims, including the brave women and men of our Allies. We will continue working with our partners to support Afghans and resettle refugees in Canada."