Author Topic: Carolyn Parrish: Response to editorial  (Read 4046 times)

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Carolyn Parrish: Response to editorial
« on: August 10, 2005, 18:35:19 »
I thank you for the very thoughtful letter you recently sent on the subjects of Canada's role in Afghanistan and my concerns about General Hillier's remarks.

I appreciate the tone as well as the content of your letter.  You acknowledge my right and duty to express myself and that we understand and share the same democratic principles.

My comments were abbreviated by a half-listening reporter.  We have 100 years of history of which we can all be proud.  The first fifty years I referred to were filled with justified military action to protect our king, the Commonwealth and democracy in Europe.  Canadians fought willingly and died in the tens of thousands, to preserve a way of life which you and I enjoy today.  I prefer to call what we, as proud Canadians did peacemaking.  We were not the aggressors; we were the ones who made peace the outcome of wars initiated by tyrants.

With Lester Pearson, a new era in Canadian and world history began.  A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Pearson coined the phrase and concept of peacekeeping, one for which Canada has become both respected and famous.  I've traveled all through Eastern Europe and the Middle East as a Member of Parliament of one of the most beloved countries in the world.  I sincerely believe peacekeeping is the next stage of human development, and still do.

For about seven years I was very active in our NATO Parliamentary Association.  After a short time I was elected by MPs of all parties and the Senate to chair our NATO Parliamentary Association.  My interest was inspired by Lloyd Axworthy's Ottawa Convention, an international proposal to cease the manufacture and use of anti-personnel landmines â “ evil devices which maimed more often than they killed.  I worked hard through NATO to encourage several prospective NATO partners, such as Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and others to become part of the 100 countries needed to bring the treaty into international law.  I also worked hard to further the aims of Canada and other civilized nations to curb nuclear proliferation.  I encouraged NATO to admit more and more countries so that there would be mutual strength and security for newly emerging democracies recently released from the grip of the Soviet Union.

Edward, you may have trouble believing me, but this bad girl earned enough respect from European and US delegates to become the first female elected Vice President of the entire association!

Where I parted company with many respected NATO colleagues was when the US and Britain forced Turkey, a weaker partner, to accept US troops on their soil in preparation for the Iraqi invasion after 94% of the Turkish people clearly said "no" in a referendum.  The Turks turned down $2 billion in the form of a "foreign aid" bribe only to be coerced into accepting NATO troops that turned out to be 100% American in composition.  My subsequent outspokenness against Mr. Bush is history.

I don't believe one can force democracy upon a people, such as those in Iraq, by dropping bombs on thousands of civilians.  I don't believe we learned the lessons of the great world wars only to force Turkey to bend to the will of the US for billions in foreign aid or the threat of exclusion from international organizations.  I don't believe that Ernie "Smoky" Smith became a Victoria Cross-winning hero so Canadian troops can kill Afghanis to prop up a US-placed puppet government and protect access to much-coveted oil fields.

I've heard from soldiers who are serving Canada today, and those who served in the past.  I am deeply grateful to both for keeping my country and my way of life safe for me, for my children, and for my grandson Jake.

Perhaps, as many other writers have suggested, I am a left-wing peacenik.  I prefer to believe I am looking to a brighter future where we get at the root causes of terrorism, war and aggression rather than become brutal aggressors ourselves.

Primitive, hand-to-hand combat in the trenches, with bayonets and mustard gas has been replaced by nuclear bombs, sophisticated weaponry and satellite directed weapons deployment.  Surely we can progress far enough so humankind will no longer have to bury its mistakes in the hundreds of thousands.

Again, I thank you as a war veteran.  Without your efforts I wouldn't even be able to dream of a day when peacekeeping will be all that our soldiers will be asked to do.  I'm told General Hillier is a soldier's soldier.  As such, I'm happy he's there for our armed forces.  You suggest my views are poorly founded.  With respect I would also suggest that General Hiller's "political dabbling" in the form of public statements of a most colorful and provocative nature, were best kept private for the inspiration of his troops, if uttered at all.  The day our political leaders, the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, abdicate their responsibility to set our military policy to a lifelong soldier is the day I say that these leaders are not doing the job they were elected to do.  Soldiers fight, politicians lead.  And such leadership should be within the guidelines of the wishes of the Canadian people.

Again, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to more fully present my position.


Carolyn Parrish, MP

Thanks to Edward Campbell for corresponding with Ms. Parrish to obtain this response, and to Ms. Parrish for taking the time to provide it. Please post any comments in this thread.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2005, 18:45:23 by Ruxted Editor »