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March 29, 2001
Sack Hedy FryEditorial
If the Grand-Mère scandal were not dominating the news and parliamentary debate, Hedy Fry, Minister of Multiculturalism, might already have been fired. She certainly deserves to be; her recent comments and actions have been disgraceful.
Last Wednesday when, speaking in the House of Commons, she delivered a prepared statement in which she said: "We only have to look around the world today ... to know that people are still discriminated against ... because of their race, their religion and their culture. We do not have to go too far. We can just go to British Columbia in Prince George where crosses are being burned on lawns as we speak." When challenged about these mysterious burning crosses -- which no one had noticed before -- the Minister emphatically responded: "In British Columbia, there have been incidents of hate crimes, including cross burnings. I know of this Mr. Speaker, because I was contacted immediately when these incidents occurred by the Mayor of Prince George." This took the Mayor of Prince George, Colin Kinsley, by surprise because it was, he says, "an outright lie." Ms. Fry wrote telling him "how sorry [she was] for the distress which [her] comments in the House of Commons on March 21 have caused." But she did not admit that she deliberately misled Parliament about Mr. Kinsley's non-existent letter concerning Prince George's non-existent cross burnings.
The day after Ms. Fry made her comments in the House, she offered another statement: "Yesterday I linked the City of Prince George with a specific hate activity. I regret that and I apologize to the people of Prince George." But since then, it has been disclosed that the Minister personally called Alan Dutton, executive director of the Vancouver-based Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society, looking for facts to validate her baseless and ridiculous comments. A member of the Minister's staff also called the RCMP for the same reason, a fact the RCMP confirms and Ms. Fry denies. But the trolling expeditions all came up empty. The "burning crosses" were pure, malicious fabrication.
Minister Fry's political career is peppered with similar slurs. She seems to be afflicted with a sort of anti-racist Tourette's syndrome. In 1997, the Minister said -- incorrectly -- that crosses were burned in Kamloops, B.C. In September, 2000, she proclaimed at a meeting concerning a UN conference on racism that "Canada must tell the truth about its history. Our history is [one] of colonial racism and intolerance." During the last federal election campaign, Ms. Fry said the leader of the Canadian Alliance, Stockwell Day, will "abuse his political power by making all Canadians believe, as he said, that Jesus Christ is the God of the whole universe" (Mr. Day has never said that, either about God or his intentions, although Ms. Fry's attempted smear simply restates orthodox Christian belief.)
In the 20th century, hideous crimes against humanity have been committed in the name of racist beliefs. Yet, to Ms. Fry, racism is a cheap accusation to be lobbed promiscuously for temporary political benefit. Why is she still a front bench government spokesman? She lacks the qualifications of judgment and integrity. She must go.
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