Longtime Vancouver-centre Liberal MP and unofficial village idiot of Western Liberal Party circles. Among her many embarrassing gaffes during her tenure as Canada’s Secretary of State for Multiculturalism included railing against cross burning episodes in Prince George, B.C. despite both hard evidence to the contrary and the word of the city’s Mayor, and more generally, mistaking anti-racism for racialization. While she did not appear to be deliberately malevolent in her actions (or inactions), blunders such as the Prince George incident underscored the inherent dangers of having people in power who don’t pay attention to details, and of Petering stupid people: there weren’t cross-burnings in Prince George(and why would there be, since there was only ever one or two black people in the entire town?) but there is a major problem with racism-and racialization–in Canada. Fry’s grand-standing screwups overshadowed the real issues that needed, and still need to be addressed.
A later goof, getting Canada’s age wrong in her official 2002 Canada Day message to constituents, demonstrated either her inability to learn or a penchant for hiring staff who are as detail-oriented as she was-or both. I guess we should all be grateful that politics took her away from her medical practice. Re-elected in 2011, she is now the Liberal Health critic, and given the state of the party, likely a candidate for party leader.