Outspoken Canadian Legislator Calls U.S. 'Idiots'
By Randall Palmer
OTTAWA (Reuters) - It was damned bastards last year, "idiots" this year.
Canadian Member of Parliament Carolyn Parrish had said she hated "damned Americans" and called them bastards in the run-up to the Iraq war. She found a new moniker, idiots, on Wednesday in discussing the planned U.S. missile defense system.
"We are not joining the coalition of the idiots. We are joining the coalition of the wise," the Liberal legislator told a small group of demonstrators.
Parrish, who had to apologize for her "bastards" remarks last year, at first denied using the word idiots, and when reporters pointed out they had her remarks on tape, she said: "I don't mean Americans are idiots."
Parrish then begged reporters not to use the remarks: "Please guys don't put that on tape," she said. "I already got into trouble once.... Really, please, I've had enough trouble."
Four hours later, however, she hardened her line.
"The last one was a really stupid thing to say," she told Reuters. "Bastards is an inappropriate word. Idiots is a term people use in everyday conversation," she told Reuters.
"They tortured people in Iraq, they (the Iraqis) have no weapons of mass destruction. Could somebody explain to me whether you think they're idiots or geniuses?"
The top spokeswoman for former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Francoise Ducros, had to resign in 2002 for calling President Bush a moron.
Chretien's successor, Prime Minister Paul Martin, has pledged to put relations with Canada's largest trading partner on a warmer footing.
Martin said after Parrish's latest remarks that the debate about missile defense, intended to guard against attacks from what the United States calls rogue states, was "very, very important."
"There is no room in this debate for that kind of language," he told reporters, waving his hand dismissively. "You're going to get very strongly held views but let me tell you those strongly held views have got to be expressed in language that is acceptable."
But Parrish refused to back down.
"That's Mr. Martin's opinion," she told Reuters. "No, I'm not going to apologize.