I must respond to Mr. McParland’s snide and unfounded assault on Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry (National Post online, Oct 02, 2009).
Mr. McParland claimed that Dr Fry distributed a ‘brochure’ “…insinuating that Canada’s military, and maybe the country itself, was no longer worthy of pride because it wasn’t run by Liberals.”
There certainly was no “brochure,” though there was a ten-percenter such as all parties send around, and there was certainly no such message. The item in question presented a picture of a beat-up backpack with an attached Canadian flag, such as Canadians (and Americans!) have been lugging around Europe for generations — its message being that due to our well-noted absence in many global venues where our nation was once a prominent contributor, that it didn’t provoke the same respect abroad as once it did. Quite diametrically different than what Mr. McParland asserts.
But, most particularly, there was nothing at all in this about Canada’s military. Zero. It is an enormous stretch to impute this as being in any way critical of our men and women in military service. But there was apparently enough room for ambiguity that for someone with a suitable axe to grind, it could with some effort be misconstrued — which of course was leaped upon in feigned outrage by the Hon. Peter MacKay. Given Mr. MacKay’s obvious contrary party affiliation, this is quite understandable. But Mr. McParland taking this spin and trying to slide it past us as fact is at best lazy and irresponsible.
And, Yes, Dr. Fry did at one time raise a question in the House about an alleged cross-burning incident in BC, based on erroneous information provided to her at the time. It was a mis-communication for which she has taken full responsibility, and she has apologized many times for it. In the eyes of any fair-minded person this doesn’t make her “lunatic fringe.” And never in any of this did she make any such sweeping allegation that “people in B.C. are so racist” as Mr. McParland would have us believe she did. Dredging up an incident more than a decade old, and mis-reporting it in this way is just a scurrilous smear, and more lazy journalism.
As for Dr. Fry’s current observation that there is a remarkable similarity between the Olympic logos and the Conservative Party logo, having seen both it seems absurd to argue that there isn’t. Perhaps this is why Mr. McParland, rather than deal fairly and honestly with the merits of the question, would resort instead to ridicule.
Questioning the logo is a fair topic. What does it mean? Does it mean anything? Does it imply illicit involvement by the government, or the Conservative Party? Is it perhaps independent action by some zealous Conservative member? Or is it merely a really-fortunate-for-the-Conservative-party coincidence or serendipitous convergence of design concepts?
Given the great gobs of government-funding out there in alleged stimulus pork-barrelling, not to mention serious concerns about abuse in government advertising that is hardly distinguishable from Conservative election advertising, and the general volume of government cash out there for purposes of all sorts, it is a valid concern to raise. Dr. Fry is a member of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, and it is, frankly, her job to ask such questions.
I often read Mr. McParland’s column, and while I detect there certain Conservative leanings that I do not begrudge him, I would say that by and large this piece is not up to Mr. McParland’s own standards. He’s better than this.