Parrish Kicked out of the Party
There has been discussion about Mrs. Parrish being kicked out of the caucus since an appearance on CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes this weekend. Parrish was shown stomping on a George Bush action figure, a continuation of her long standing dislike of our southern neighbours. Since early 2003 Parrish has often spoken out against our southern neighbours and has constantly been rebuked by her party for it. Following the incident she was interviewed by the CP and expressed her disdain for Martin's leadership saying she had "absolutely no loyalty to this team. None." Mrs. Parrish's comments to the CP were certainly the last straw but they simply provided the Prime Minister the opportunity to do something he had been wanting to do for some time.
Before the last election, Mrs. Parrish was forced to survive a nomination challenge with only minimal support from the party. Martin has already chased Sheila Copps, Brian Tobin and John Manley out of the party, securing his conservative hold over the once left wing party. In years past the entire Liberal caucus would have spoken out against the Bush government, but because of the Prime Minister's policy of appeasement, Mrs. Parrish has become a part of the fringe minority. She is a unique kind of politician - one who actually speaks her mind without fear. The fact that her opinion is shared by the majority of Canadians did not seem to phase Mr. Martin. Neither did the fact that Americans are not shy about voicing their opinion of foreign leaders, most notably in recent memory during the Spanish elections and the Venezuela recall effort. The Bush administration has often bordered on outright hostility in their relationship with Canada, placing an illegal tariff on Canadian lumber, closing the border to Alberta beef and even refusing to make an official visit during their first term. Previous Liberal governments would not have taken such abuse silently and yet our current Prime Minister gladly suffers the indignities of the Bush administration in the name of 'better relations'.
In the end, Mr. Martin was simply waiting for an excuse to expel a popular four-term member of parliament from the party to tighten his iron grip on a once proud institution. Once provided, the Prime Minister jumped at the opportunity:
Martin told reporters that while he has defended the controversial MP's right to speak in the past, he "cannot, as leader of our party and the government caucus, tolerate behaviour that demeans and disrespects others."Mrs. Parrish represents the Mississauga-Erindale constituency in the suburbs of Toronto. She won re-election to a fourth term in June with 55% of the vote.