''Our troops are already deployed in Afghanistan, have been deployed for some time and, as we know, will be there in some form in the next few years,'' the Conservative prime minister told Parliament.
He refused to accede to a request from the leftist New Democratic Party (NDP) to commit to a vote in Parliament on any extension of the Canadian troops' deployment beyond early 2007.
The Conservatives have pledged to give the House of Commons a say on future deployments but this would apply only to new hot spots and not to Afghanistan, to which the preceding Liberal government committed troops.
NDP leader Jack Layton declared: ''This government ran on a promise to Canadians that there would be a vote on deployment of our troops.'' Canada deployed troops to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and now has 2,300 soldiers in the southern city of Kandahar, where it commands a multinational task force and has faced rising casualties.