Friday, November 19, 2004

Oh, Canada....

I am on radio shows in Canada now and again. My favorite gig is on Charles Adler's zoo in Winnipeg on CJOB. (for Adler: think of your conservative uncle Murray on crystal meth, and REALLY pissed off; very funny guy).

The subject, more often than not, is Canada's loony left MP's. Retiring the trophy, as of now, for LLMP's is Carolyn Parrish.

She is a woman with (as they say) "a past." I like those. When she is trying to act like a real MP, she looks like this. But, this or this is more like the real Ms. Parrish. Those things, I don't like so much. Hard to know what to say, though, to a Canadian audience. Does she get to act that way? Sure. Is she getting reelected because she acts that way? Probably. Do I hate it when people have conversations with themselves, asking and answering questions as if they were Donald Rumsfeld? You bet.

A description of Gillian Cosgrove. From 2003, before all the current controversy. Good to see that women like Parrish can be just as big a jerk as men can be. And terrific to see that Canadian politicians are rewarded for acting like Americans, eh?

MP'S past is littered with examples of incivility and hate


Who, exactly, is this appalling woman? How does she get away with being so nasty and offensive? This mean-spirited boor is, of course, Carolyn Parrish, the truly dishonourable Member of Parliament for Mississauga Centre.

Parrish made headlines last month when, on the brink of war, she insulted the Americans by saying "I hate those bastards" - A REMARK THAT HAS SO ANGERED THE White House that the U.S. ambassador to Canada this week mentioned it specifically in his heartfelt statements about American's sense of betrayal by Canada.

And the Americans aren't the only ones who're furious. She has so thoroughly alienated many of her Ottawa colleagues that she actually lost her job this week as chair of Canada's NATO parliamentary group (wisely, she was replace by pro-U.S. David Price.)

Some were prepared to dismiss her anti-American insult as an tactless off-the-cuff remark outside the House of Commons recorded by ultra-sensitive boom microphones. But a careful examination of her past reveals a track record of remarks so vile, and conduct so utterly lacking in human civility, that decent-minded voters of Mississauga will surely toss her out of office come the next federal election.

It turns out that Americans aren't the only objects of her hatred. Also on her personal blacklist are East Coast fishermen, French-speaking Quebecers, residents of downtown Toronto, members of her own Liberal Party, and even her boss, Jean Chretien.

(He would do well to distance himself from Parrish; failing to discipline her gives the impression he condones her distasteful comments. As for Paul Martin, he needs her support in the leadership race like he needs a hole in the head.)

More often than not, Parrish's pronouncements are couched in the language of the gutter, contrary to the time-honoured parliamentary tradition which dictates that even the most intransigent political enemies treat each other with courtesy and respect.

She accused John McCallum, the Defence Minister, of "farting around in Washington." She denounced Liberal MPs who criticize Chretien anonymously as "sneaking, sniveling shitheads." She told the Mississauga News that she was "tired of kissing ass up here (in Ottawa.)"

Parrish's cheap shots often have a bullying tone, and stop just short of character assassination. Clashing with Beryl Ford, chair of the Peel Board of Education over the English as a second language program, Parrish threatened to "beat her up."

She called seven members of the Liberal caucus "toads, dull blunt clods" and "desperate idiots" for being Martin supporters. The targets -- colleagues John Harvard, Diane Marleau, Stan Keyes, Nick Discepola, Joe Fontana, Rick Limoges, and Paul Bonwick -- showed class and maturity by refusing to descend to her gutter-sniping tactics.

She also threatened, as vice-chair of a committee that administer the House. To discipline a journalist if he dared to publish what she had said - a threat to press freedom that media organizations should challenge and condemn.

Parrish's record of shameless behviour goes further back. In March 1999, she accused fellow Mississauga MP Albina Guarnieri of being "evil" for introducing a private members' bill on consecutive sentencing for multiple murderers. "I think she's evil, but I have never called her evil," Parrish said at the time. "I think she believes passionately that she is doing the right thing, and that is the only reason you don't just grab her and throttle her."

Come on, get a grip, Mrs. Parrish. In my experience, democratic legislators are all well-intentioned, sometimes misguided, but never evil. Your friend, Saddam Hussein is evil.

Instances of Parrish's vulgarian behaviour have become the stuff of legend. Ted Woloshyn, the popular talk show host on CFRB, some months ago overheard a disgruntled Parrish in a restaurant engaging in a loud-mouthed, obscenity-laden rant against the prime minister for failing to put her in the cabinet. He deemed it newsworthy enough to broadcast the fact to his listeners. (Thankfully, in the case, the PM showed good judgement by keeping her out of cabinet.)

Parrish is also a loose cannon with her outrageous slurs. In Halifax, she attacked East Coast fishermen who "fish three months of the year, make $60,000 and then sit on UI." This is simplistic and offensive, if not downright ignorant.

In 1995, just before the razor-edge referendum which threatened to break up Canada, Parrish went on Rogers Cable TV to declare in a know-it-all tone: "I hate to tell everybody and I particularly hope that Quebecers don't watch this show. It (the referendum) is being greeted with an enormous yawn in Mississauga. Quite frankly, I think it almost like a form of torture. It's constant dripping, whining, and fussing from Quebec. Everybody's going: "Oh!

I don't care." Well, many of us did care enough to take buses to Montreal to join in a giant last minute rally in support of a united Canada.

In 1996, Parrish suggested that the Liberals have to buy off the vote in downtown Toronto: "We're tired of sending money to downtown Toronto. The Liberals can't sit back and rely on their traditional ethnic support to carry the day anymore." This comment is way off base; cash-strapped Toronto has been ignored by Ottawa for years because Liberals here are considered shoo-ins.

Parrish consistently runs off at the mouth before her brain starts churning.

In February 1994, she expressed her vehement opposition to a new runway at Pearson International Airport. "There will be no runways. If there are, they will be over my dead body." So how do you explain, just four months later, her keen support of the new runway, criticizing opponents because "they don't give a damn about the economics of the situation." Consistency is not her forte.

Finally, in an incident that raised eyebrows everywhere, Parrish was dismissively cruel to a Polish immigrant family who came to her for help to stay in Canada.

She subjected Pawel and Beata Sklarzyk to yelling and profanity in front of their children aged, 2, 4, 11, and 15 saying "I don't give a shit if you found a high powered lawyer to get your story in the Globe and Mail."

The Sklarzyks came to Canada with their two older children in 1994. They renewed their visitor's visas three times and then stayed on illegally. Mr. Sklarzyk started a small window washing and caulking business and the couple had two more children. When a refugee claim was denied, the family applied for an exemption on humanitarian grounds. But instead of sending the required $1,200 payment, they mistakenly sent only $1,150 -- a $50 error that upended their lives and left them in legal limbo. The family was deported in May 2001.

Parrish accused the Sklarzyks of being queue-jumpers and even went so far as to suggest that Mrs. Sklarzyk had two more children in Canada to improve their chances of remaining. She also made the snide and totally unacceptable remark that they must be quite well-off because their two eldest children were going to a private religious school.

Nearly two years later, the Sklarzyks are still in Poland hoping to return to Canada. They had an interview with a Canadian immigration official in October in Warsaw. "They are very tired of waiting but still hopeful they can return," said Isabela Embalo, a Polish immigration consultant.

In the end, it wasn't just that Parrish had no hesitation to wreck an entire family's life. It was that she did it with such cruelty, vulgarity, and utter lack of compassion.

I find this difficult to understand. After all, Carolyn Parrish is definitely unpolished but she IS Polish.


Anonymous said...

Update from the wannabe was preparing for his Canadian job talk, CP was booted from the Liberal Caucus....the general Canadian feeling about CP is that without hockey, we need some entertainment.

The debate is whether or not she was kicked out of the caucus because she stomped on a bush doll on national television or she publically claimed she had no loyalty to the Liberal leadership. The latter was far more dangerous to her career as a Liberal

James Raymond said...

I can definitely relate to that. Before considering much else, I pretty much decided that Canadian immigration is my best option and although I have been tempted to reconsider from time to time, I can't help but think about how much the 2000 elections have changed things for us (and not for the better I'm affraid).

I really enjoy this blog, I'll be back!