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CBC Radio, Commentary, Friday, November 26, 2004

How anti-American is Carolyn Parrish, really?

  (3 minutes)
by Marjaleena Repo

Carolyn Parrish is the sacrificial lamb of Canadian politics, a dissenter who has to be taught a lesson. As a public person she has stepped outside the permitted narrow range of opinions, and, therefore, off with her head.

She is labeled "anti-American" as if that term has a clear-cut meaning, agreed upon by all. The more extreme critics from the Conservative Party charge that she has committed "hateful" acts, hoping. Are they perhaps hoping to trigger the hate law provisions of the criminal code?

What exactly has Carolyn Parrish said? In all the criticisms of her, we hear of only three comments she made. She was once over-heard to say, privately, that "Americans are bastards." The context is long forgotten, but it might just have something to do with U.S, foreign policy of illegally invading and destroying countries. She was then reported to have referred to those who would support the American missile defence plan as a "coalition of idiots, and lately, after the U.S. election, she had the temerity to refer to George Bush as a "war-like man." Imagine! Most recently, her critics have been energized by her appearance on a CBC show, 22 minutes, where she puts her boot on a Bush doll, not mentioning that she ends up kissing the same doll!

Can this be all? You can read reams of copy-cat editorials and columns, and all you come up with are these same few words, which are also pouring out of the mouths of her most vociferous critics, who appear to regard the U.S. as "my country, right or wrong." Surely, by now, there should be available dozens of similar and worse quotes from her, but they are nowhere to be found.

In actual fact Carolyn Parrish has said nothing extraordinary, and I would argue that her words are both mild and not against Americans as a people. She speaks against the U.S. government's illegal aggressive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She is an outspoken critic of the expensive absurdity that is the Missile Defence Shield, and she has expressed sympathy for the Palestinians and has critiziced Israeli state terrorist acts.

These are the real reasons she has been demonized and silenced. She does not go along with the "Washington consensus" subscribed to by our political and media elites. But oddly enough, she is completely in tune with what most Canadians think, and that is reason enough why the rest of us so-called anti-Americans who share her views should stand up and be counted in her corner.

For Commentary, I'm Marjaleena Repo in Toronto.

Marjaleena Repo is David Orchard's senior political advisor.

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