Angry U.S. response to 'bastards' comment
Date: Friday, February 28 2003
Topic: Canadian Politics
TORONTO - For the second time in three months a CBC News Online story has provoked hundreds of mostly angry e-mails from the United States.
The email@example.com inbox has been jammed with reaction to Wednesday's story about MP Carolyn Parrish's remarks about Americans.
"I, like many, many other Americans am sick and tired of the comments coming out of the north," writes Tom Flaker, of St. Louis, Missouri.
The Liberal backbencher made an off-the-cuff remark at the end of a media scrum on Parliament Hill, saying "damn Americans, I hate those bastards."
The Drudge Report, a popular U.S. Web site linked to the story on cbc.ca, and the e-mails came flooding in.
A similar response from Americans happened in November, when Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's communications director, Francoise Ducros was overheard calling U.S. President George W. Bush a "moron."
Ducros eventually resigned. Parrish has apologized.
More angry U.S. letters came in reaction to a CBC Online story on Canadians going to Baghdad to serve as human shields, also featured on The Drudge Report.
Many of the U.S. writers responded to the comments by attacking Canada and Canadians as irrelevant, and dependant upon the United States. Others dredged up the unproven allegations that Canada is a terrorist haven, and a source of the hijackers on Sept. 11, ignoring the facts that all those men resided and learned to fly in the United States.
"We know how you feel about us. We know what kind of friend your country is when we need you," wrote Randy Egan, from Naples, Florida.
Some Canadians are indignant over those sorts of comments.
"Who came to the rescue of thousands of displaced Americans on Sept. 11, when airspace was closed over the U.S.? Answer: the Canadians," wrote Debbie Burton.
"Whose troops were sent to Afghanistan to support your War on Terror? Answer: the Canadians. Whose troops were killed and maimed by 'friendly fire' when American pilots disregarded the rules of engagement? Answer: the Canadians."
But American writers are apparently unmoved by the contributions made by Canada on the world stage.
"I smile every time I read another Canadian in 'authority' make yet another snide comment about America or Americans. I smile because without America and Americans your mouths would be absolutely shut. To quote a famous American movie: 'You sleep under the very blanket of freedom we provide,'" wrote Matthew B. Simpson.
Simpson refers to A Few Good Men. The quotation reads: "I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it."
Some writers suggest Canadian politicians have every right to question U.S. foreign policy.
"While so many government officials of all nations are pussy-footing around the U.S. so as not to incur their wrath, they are given free reign to be the schoolyard bullies they are," writes Nancy Stephen, a Canadian. "I say congratulations to Carolyn Parrish and I wish there were more politicians in this country with enough backbone to say it, and allow her to say it, out loud."
Other Canadians shared the outrage of their American colleagues, however.
"She ought to resign," writes Dinah Victoria. "She is giving comfort to a brutal dictator who kills millions of his own people and threatens the world."
A writer from Pennsylvania, however, doesn't even believe Parrish ought to have apologized. "If she hates us, I'd rather her say it and at least have the guts to stick to it," wrote David J. Crook. "I'd rather be aware of honest hate rather than the smarmy lies of a pretended friend."
At least one U.S. writer was sanguine about the issue.
"Hey, as U.S. citizen, I am not offended by what Ms. Parrish said," wrote Dave Lister, of Boise, Idaho. "Sometimes the closest of friends say mean things about each other, especially siblings
That is how I view Canada and the U.S.: two close siblings that have their occasional quarrels but will patch things up.
"By the way, my Canadian friends taught me long ago that they are Americans, too, since we both occupy the North American continent."
Written by CBC News Online staff