An Open Letter to Carolyn Parrish

Dear Ms. Parrish,

I was very disappointed to hear you, on tape, say the words "Damn Americans ... I hate those bastards" within earshot of a press scrum. As you will recall, Prime Minister Jean Chretien's communications director, Francois Ducrois, was forced to resign her position because she was overheard referring to American President George Bush as "a moron". Unfortunately, what you did was several times worse.

It's one thing to insult an American president; it is quite another to insult the American people. While wrongheaded, Francois Ducrois did little more than agree with millions of Americans in their assessment of their president. You, however, insulted all 300 million Americans, one of whom happens to be my wife. Had you referred to any other identifiable ethnic group, your comments would have been lambasted as racist, and rightly so.

Your apology, I'm afraid, does not go far enough. It is hard to believe that a comment as sweeping as yours did "not reflect (your) personal opinion of the American people". There is very little indication that your remark could be misinterpreted as a valid criticism of a small number of people within the American government. You personally insulted a whole nation, and if that was not your intension, then I have to question your judgement. How can a Member of Parliament be expected to hold their job if they do not see that it isn't a good idea to make such an inflammatory statement in a setting where it is likely to be overheard and reported?

In my view, your continued presence as a member of Parliament is an embarrassment to the government and the nation. If Francois Ducrois had to resign because she called the American president a moron, clearly you should resign for calling the American people bastards.

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