Missile defence for 'coalition of the idiots': Liberal MP

Group of Liberal MPs urge PM not to join U.S. missile defence program; Carolyn Parrish calls U.S. 'coalition of idiots.'

An outspoken Liberal MP, who made headlines last year for making anti-American comments, said Wednesday that those who support the U.S. missile defence program would be joining a "coalition of the idiots."

Ontario MP Carolyn Parrish was one of a a group of vocal Liberal MPs appealing to Prime Minister Paul Martin to think twice about taking part in the missile defence program, as party members gathered for their annual caucus retreat.

Parrish, who called Americans "bastards" in the runup to the war in Iraq, used a new term on Wednesday to voice her opinion.

"We are not joining a coalition of the idiots," she told reporters. "We are joining a coalition of the wise."

Questioned later by reporters, Parrish at first denied using the word "idiots." When reporters pointed out they had the comments on tape, Parrish said: "I don't mean Americans are idiots."

Parrish later joked with reporters not to use the remarks.

"Did i really say idiots? Please guys don't put that on tape," she said. "I already got into trouble once."

When asked about Parrish's comments, Martin said that kind of language was uncalled for. "This is a very, very important debate and the arguments are very strongly felt on both sides," Martin said.

"And there is no room in this debate for that kind of language."

He declined to say whether he would reprimand her.

Some MPs at the meeting asked the prime minister to delay his decision on the controversial program until after the U.S. presidential elections in November.

However Defence Minister Bill Graham said the U.S. elections won't influence Canada's decision timetable.

"We'll have to see if the conditions are right and we'll have to see what agreement is reached," said Graham.

"If the Americans said, for example, that this would mean Star Wars or something like that we would absolutely say no."

U.S. President George W. Bush wants to create a system that will shoot down missiles aimed at the U.S. Canada has agreed to exploratory talks.

In a private meeting with Martin on Monday, NDP Leader Jack Layton warned his party would aggressively oppose joining the program when Parliament resumes in October.

With a minority government, Martin needs support from opposition MPs to avoid defeat in a parliamentary vote.