Toronto Sun

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Leaping into Fry-ing pan

Using cops to seek racism: MP

By MARIA MCCLINTOCK, OTTAWA BUREAU
Toronto Sun

OTTAWA --  Secretary of State for Multiculturalism Hedy Fry called the RCMP in an attempt to build a case for her false allegations of cross burnings in B.C., an NDP MP charged yesterday.

Fry came under fire in the Commons from several opposition MPs over her claims there'd been cross burnings in Prince George. It's also come to light that Fry made similar statements about Kamloops in 1997.

"Why did she contact the RCMP after she made those remarks in the House of Commons?" said Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer, who called for Fry to produce a letter she claimed she said had from the mayor of Prince George regarding cross-burning incidents.

"I suspect, and I can't prove it, she's looking for some sort of verification to her story of the (the Prince George) cross burning, which is a simple fabrication.

'NEVER DID HAPPEN'

"She can't produce the documents. It never did happen," Stoffer said. "Racism is tough enough in this country without inventing. She really slammed the good people of Prince George."

The mayor of Prince George and RCMP have both denied there have been cross burnings.

'NOTHING WRONG'

In the Commons, Prime Minister Jean Chretien appeared to be unaware of Fry's call to the Mounties -- so Stoffer promptly sent him a newspaper article across the the floor of the Commons.

Chretien told the Commons he'd look into why Fry called the Mounties -- but he defended such a move.

"If it is what she did, there is nothing wrong," the PM said.

"For me, this is the first time I heard about the allegations of the member ... I will check that."

When Fry left question period yesterday, she refused to stop for reporters.

"I said I made a mistake about Prince George and I have already apologized to the people," Fry said, as she brushed by members of the media.

"Prince George has dealt effectively with any perceived or real forms of any types of racism," said Alliance MP Dick Harris, who represents Prince George.

"We consider ourselves a hate-free zone -- our citizens don't tolerate it."

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.