Cartoons are posted below but the most recent one is at least one week late.
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday January 16, 2020
‘Canada should be worried’: Canadian exporters may become collateral damage of U.S-China trade deal
The signing of a “Phase One” U.S.-China trade deal this week is expected to create a brief respite from uncertainty for the global economy — but that’s unlikely to last as long as President Donald Trump is in the White House, analysts say.
What’s more, Canadian exporters could become collateral damage of a deal that will see China commit to purchasing vast amounts of U.S. agricultural products and other goods.
Top officials are slated to sign the pact in Washington on Wednesday following two years of trade strife in which the U.S. slapped tariffs on nearly two-thirds of Chinese imports and Beijing targeted more than half of all goods purchased from the U.S.
Though the official text of the deal has yet to be released, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said China will purchase an additional US$200 billion in American goods over the next two years, including US$40 to US$50 billion in agricultural products.
The upending of trade flows as a result of such a commitment could create painful headaches for Canadian agricultural producers.
“The reason Canada should be worried about this is what is China actually agreeing to do?” said Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “Are they agreeing to open their market for everybody? Or are they agreeing to reorient their purchases away from everybody else and toward American purchases? That matters.”
Indeed, Canadian canola producers are already experiencing the chill of lost sales to the powerful Chinese market — which once accepted 40 per cent of their exports — after Beijing blocked all purchases of the oilseed. Though officials cited pest concerns, the move was widely viewed as retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition request. Meantime, Canadian soybean producers, having experienced a brief but dramatic spike in sales after China placed tariffs on U.S. beans, also saw sales to the superpower bottom out after the Wanzhou arrest.
Though Lighthizer has said the pact will be compliant with World Trade Organization rules, the Chinese purchasing commitments have also raised concerns about discrimination against some markets in favour of the U.S. The WTO’s “most favoured nation” rule requires all trading partners to be treated equally unless a full free trade agreement is forged. The U.S.-China deal covers only a limited range of goods. (Financial Post)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday January 15, 2020
Harper says change needed in Iran to bring peace to region
Former prime minister Stephen Harper says peace in the Middle East will only come after change comes to Iran.
Speaking at an international conference on global challenges in New Delhi Tuesday, Harper said he does not believe Iran would have shot down a civilian aircraft deliberately — but the fact that Tehran knew it could happen and still allowed normal civilian air traffic “tells you something about the nature of that regime and its priorities.”
“I do believe we need to see a change in Iran if we are going to see peace in the Middle East,” he told the international audience at the Raisina Dialogue conference.
“I see an increasing number of states in the region — Israel, that I’m close to, certainly the Sunni Arab monarchies, others who are increasingly trying to work together and see a common future and common interests — and you have this one actor that quite frankly is … based on religious fanaticism and regional imperialism and, as I say as a friend of the Jewish people, frankly an anti-Semitic state.”
Iranian leaders confirmed Saturday that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 using surface-to-air missiles, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board. Of those passengers, 138 were destined for Canada, but it’s not known how many were permanent residents or were travelling on visitor or student visas.
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne has said that 57 of the victims were Canadian citizens.
The aircraft was shot down just hours after Iran launched missiles against two military bases in Iraq where U.S. and Canadian soldiers were stationed. Those strikes were ordered in retaliation for a targeted drone strike on Jan. 3 by the U.S. that killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani.
This week, Canadian Jewish and Iranian organizations called on the government to list the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist entity in response to the attack on the Ukrainian aircraft. (CBC News)
Letters to the Editor, The Hamilton Spectator, Saturday January 18, 2020
Ignore Trump lovers
It’s good that you recognized the PM’s leadership since you condemned him the day before in your editorial cartoon for not being tough enough. Sounds like the writer and the cartoonist are not on the same page.
Yes, there are people who think Trudeau should be more like Trump in his dealing with Iran. But if he followed that advice, the families of the victims would pay the price. It’s easy for Trumpians to whine. Good thing Trudeau is acting for the rest of us.
Helen Bonham, Burlington
Be thankful for Trudeau’s leadership
I usually find Mr. MacKay’s works amusing and/or thought provoking. This one I did not.
Justin Trudeau is not perfect, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but he is certainly not begging for anything from Iran. I have been very impressed with his calm but clear expectations about this horrific tragedy. Unfortunately society has normalized blustering, bullying, lying, name-calling and threatening behaviour from elected leaders.
I am thankful that our Prime Minister is acting responsibly and not reacting impulsively. Let’s continue to support the families who are dealing with this terrible situation and our elected leaders who are trying to sort it out.
Sharon McKibbon, Hamilton
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 14, 2019
Ontario government apologizes for alert about Pickering nuclear plant incident sent ‘in error’
Ontario’s solicitor general has apologized for an emergency message sent across the province early Sunday alerting residents about an incident at the Pickering nuclear generating station east of Toronto.
“The alert was issued in error to the public during a routine training exercise being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre,” Sylvia Jones said in a statement on Sunday.
The alert system is tested twice daily to ensure it is ready in the event of an emergency, Jones told CBC News. In the course of that testing, she said, it appears someone mistakenly pushed the alert on a “live pathway” instead of a “test pathway.”
Who exactly is responsible for pushing out the alert, Jones said, is part of a larger investigation, which will be carried out by Emergency Management Ontario.
“There was no incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station that should have triggered public notification. Nor was there ever any danger to the public or environment,” Jones added.”The government of Ontario sincerely apologizes for raising public concern and has begun a full investigation to determine how this error happened, and will take the appropriate steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Later on Sunday, OPG Chief Nuclear Officer Sean Granville said in a statement: “OPG has a sophisticated and robust notification process in place that we would immediately follow in the unlikely event of an incident at the station.
“I want to assure the public that there was no incident at the station, and the plant is operating as designed.”
At 7:24 a.m. ET, the alert was issued provincewide, saying an incident was reported at the station. The alert also said it applied to residents living within 10 kilometres of the station.
“There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station and emergency staff are responding to the situation,” the alert read.
The alert said people near the station do not need to “take any protective actions at this time.”
In a tweet about 40 minutes later, Ontario Power Generation said the first alert was sent “in error.”
“There is no danger to the public or environment,” OPG said. (CBC)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Monday January 13, 2020
Princes William and Harry issue statement amid U.K. Royal Family rift
Queen Elizabeth is set to hold face-to-face talks Monday with Prince Harry for the first time since he and his wife, Meghan, unveiled their controversial plan to walk away from royal roles — holding a dramatic family summit meant to chart a future course for the couple.
The meeting reflects the Queen’s desire to contain the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s decision to “step back” as senior royals, work to become financially independent, and split their time between Britain and North America. The couple, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, made the announcement Wednesday without telling the Queen or other senior royals first.
Before the extraordinary session, Princes William and Harry took the equally unusual step of issuing a statement challenging the accuracy of a newspaper report that there was a severe strain on the relationship between the brothers.
“For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful,” the statement said.
The meeting at the monarch’s private Sandringham estate in eastern England will include William as well as the brothers’ father, Prince Charles. It comes after days of intense news coverage in which supporters of the Royal Family’s feuding factions used the British media to paint conflicting pictures of who was to blame for the rift.
William is expected to travel to Sandringham from London and Harry from his home in Windsor, west of the British capital. Charles has flown back from the Gulf nation of Oman, where he attended a condolence ceremony Sunday following the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
Meghan, who is in Canada with the couple’s baby son Archie, is likely to join the meeting by phone.
Buckingham Palace said “a range of possibilities” would be discussed, but the Queen was determined to resolve the situation within “days, not weeks.” The goal was to agree on next steps at Monday’s gathering, which follows days of talks among royal courtiers and officials from the U.K. and Canada. Buckingham Palace stressed, however, that “any decision will take time to be implemented.”
One of the more fraught questions that needs to be worked out is precisely what it means for a royal to be financially independent and what activities can be undertaken to make money. Other royals who have ventured into the world of commerce have found it complicated.
Prince Andrew, for example, has faced heated questions about his relationship with the late convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew, the Queen’s second son, has relinquished royal duties and patronages after being accused by a woman who says she was an Epstein trafficking victim who slept with the prince.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also face questions on paying for taxpayer-funded security. Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to comment, but said safety was a priority. (CBC)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday January 10, 2020
As Iran and US take step back from the brink, Canada grieves
The worst had passed, it seemed, and the United States and Iran no longer appeared poised at the edge of war.
“All is well!” President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday night, days after a U.S. drone strike killed Iran’s most powerful general, and Iran, after a barrage of missiles, had signaled it was stepping back from further escalation.
But 27 seconds before Trump’s tweet, commercial flight trackers had lost contact with a Ukrainian International Airlines jet that had just taken off from Tehran’s main airport. On board were 176 people, including 138 passengers on their way to Canada and at least 63 Canadian citizens and 11 Ukrainians. The plane, which never made a mayday call, slammed moments later into the ground.
Everyone on board died. They were students, newlyweds, doctors and parents. The youngest was a 1-year-old girl, Kurdia Molani, who was flying back home with her parents to the Toronto suburb of Ajax.
By late Thursday, Western leaders said that Iran had most likely shot down the jetliner with a surface-to-air missile — probably by accident. The loss of so many lives transformed the U.S.-Iran confrontation, which had seemed to conclude with limited bloodshed.
Instead, what had begun with a drone attack on Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s motorcade at the Baghdad airport had suddenly rippled outward until dozens of Iranian-Canadians, dozens of Iranian students studying in Canada, were dead.
“The community is overwhelmed with mourning and sadness,” said Payman Parseyan, a prominent Iranian-Canadian in western Canada, counting through the names of the friends he had lost. There was Pedram Mousavi and his wife Mojgan Daneshmand, both of them engineering professors, and their two daughters, Daria and Dorina Mousavi. There was Dr. Shekoufeh Choupannejad, an obstetrician-gynecologist, and her two daughters, Saba and Sara Saadat. It seemed impossible.
Some in Canada quickly blamed Trump for the disaster.
“This is insane. Sickening. Imagine having a family member on that plane,” said Rob Kent, a 42-year-old Toronto resident. “One man, and only one, is responsible for those deaths. And he will never face consequences for them.”
But Parseyan wasn’t so sure.
“It takes two to tango,” he said. “It’s not hard to see the downing as a result of the escalation between the two countries. However, Iran is responsible for its own military defense equipment. While it has the right to defend itself, as it should to protect its own people, it should also have the responsibility with that right to make sure their defensive systems aren’t targeting civilian aircraft.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has at times had a rocky relationship with Trump, was careful not to say the U.S. strike was responsible for what happened. (Associated Press)