Thursday, November 18, 2004


The case of Carolyn Parrish

Carolyn Parrish, Member of the Canadian Parliament, has just been kicked out of the Liberal caucus. She is now one of only two independent members of Parliament.

The Liberals have only a plurality in Parliament, but Ms. Parrish has just been acting up real bad. According to Dan Dugan of Canadian Press,

[Prime Minister] Martin had reprimanded Parrish twice in the past for her anti-American comments but had ignored Opposition calls to eject her from caucus.

Parrish recently put her polished boot down on a George W. Bush doll for the Canadian TV show "This Hour has 22 Minutes" and has refused to apologize. But what is worse, according to media accounts, is that she criticized the Liberal Party leadership.

Defence Minister Bill Graham said Martin was forced to take action.

"Basically, what she did was virtually say to the Liberal party and to the prime minister: 'I don't really think I'm a member of the team,' and the prime minister had to say 'If you're not going to behave and be a member of the team, why should you be a member of the team?"'

But Oliver Moore of the Globe & Mail reports that the Prime Minister said—

"I told her that, while I have defended her right to express her views frankly, I cannot, as leader of our party and the government caucus, tolerate behaviour that demeans and disrespects others," he said. "It is unacceptable. There are better, more civil and more effective ways to make your case than those she has chosen."

So the Liberal Party will "not tolerate behaviour that demeans and disrespects others" but seems to have unlimited tolerance for persons whose behavior destroys cities and murders civilian populations.

According to her website, Parrish was "the Head of the Canadian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. As a the parliamentary arm to NATO, the Assembly provides policy advice and studies issues of military, economic, civil, scientific and political relevance to NATO countries."

But Parrish is something rare, a politician of conscience—

In March of 2003, Carolyn decided to resign her post as Head of the Canadian delegation. Despite the positive experiences at NATO, her concern that the organization was becoming an extension of its dominant partners who were involved in a pre-emptive strike on Iraq meant that she could no longer participate.

As she said in her letter of resignation from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly,

Finally, I have come to the conclusion that I am no longer in agreement with the direction the Assembly is taking in the war in Iraq. With the U.S. and the U.K. controlling 54 of 214 seats, it is an organization heavily dominated by those two countries. During the past month, I witnessed the horrendous financial and political pressure placed on vulnerable partners such as Bulgaria and Turkey. NATO troops, which are predominately U.S. soldiers, are currently on Turkish soil under NATO flags, while the parliament of Turkey and the overwhelming majority of their population do not support the US attack on Iraq.

I am deeply concerned that this defensive alliance is becoming an extension of its dominant partners.

I look forward to the day when the NATO Parliamentary Assembly once again becomes a venue for preventing war, expanding democracies and working together to fight the common dangers to all countries – nuclear proliferation, terrorism and the use of dehumanizing weapons such as landmines. I thank you all for seven wonderful years.

Ms. Parrish is from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada's sixth largest city, which is just a tad smaller than Washington, DC in population. She was re-elected this year rather handily, which speaks well of the Mississaugans.

Nevertheless, I felt compelled to write her a letter of support—

I'm an American, so unfortunately I can't vote for you. But I want to thank and congratulate you for the strong stand you have taken against George Bush.

I have just read in the Globe & Mail of your ejection from the Liberal caucus. It would seem that the Liberal caucus is more interested in appeasing an imperialist than in speaking the truth.

I regret any additional burden that this may put on you, but I wonder if this doesn't just give you more freedom to give 'em hell. Good for you!

If there is any way that Americans may show their support, please let me know....

If you would like to write her, you may do so here.

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