THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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National Post - Dec. 11, 2009 - By Kelly McParland.
Carolyn Parrish just can't help making a fool of herself.
The former Liberal MP's moment of greatest fame came in 2004 after she stomped on a George Bush doll for a CBC show, a stunt that ended with her being kicked out of caucus. The doll routine followed a series of similar embarrassments, including denouncing her own party and blathering about how much she hated Americans.
Since favouring federal politics with her departure, she has been attempting to carve a new career for herself as a member of Mississauga city council. Mississauga has been run since the dawn of time by Mayor Hazel McCallion, who is 88 and has achieved something near godlike status with her combination of grandmotherly exterior and steely interior. She won the last election -- her 11th -- with 92% of the vote.
Ms. Parrish's approach has been to establish herself as the most-recognized councillor after Ms. McCallion-- mainly by shooting her mouth off -- while simultaneously doing her best to undermine the Mayor. In local politics, name recognition is key, so the more people recognize the name "Parrish," the better her chances on succeeding Ms. McCallion when her day eventually arrives.
For public consumption, Ms. Parrish makes of point of proclaiming her devotion to Ms. McCallion and the hope that she continues as mayor forever. But she has simultaneously succeeded in establishing herself as a leading figure in an anti-McCallion clique on council, which recently managed to push through approval for a multi-million-dollar probe into land dealings that involved Ms. McCallion's son.
There doesn't appear to be much to the allegations behind the probe, but for Ms. Parrish it offers the hope of diminishing the Mayor's stature a bit, to Ms. Parrish's advantage. She appears to have underestimated the backlash from Ms. McCallion's legion of fans, though, who have responded to Ms. Parrish's transparent efforts with a fierce counter-campaign.
Ms. Parrish, as the Bush adventure illustrated, can be pretty thick, but the level of hostility appears to be getting to her. After dinner at a local restaurant this week, she physically attacked a poster advertising a rally in support of the mayor, tearing it to shreds and leaving the pieces behind.
Unfortunately for Ms. Parrish, the restaurant owner wasn't impressed, and after emailing her a rebuke he's been busy telling his story to the papers. Ms. Parrish apologized,
but now has gone into a sulk because everyone is being so mean to her.
"On the evening in question, I and my husband and two friends were taking a night off -- pure entertainment, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster -- NO POLITICS FOR ONE EVENING. I saw the poster on my way out. The rally was over," she noted to the Post yesterday. "Egged on by my helpmeet of 41 years, I committed a spontaneous act."
She told another paper: "I had had an extremely stressful week. If you haven't noticed out here, I'm the Big Bad Wolf and blamed for everything that goes wrong in Mississauga ... I guess it was one of those impulsive acts, like, 'Yeah, the rally is over and we're getting on with business.' "
Poor Carolyn Parrish. All she wants is good government and to destroy Hazel McCallion. People just don't understand.
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