Wednesday October 21, 2015
So here’s my Back to the Future Story. Today, I got a call from Howard McCurdy, fmr Member of Parliament from Windsor (1984-1993). He became Canada’s 2nd black MP, after Lincoln Alexander. In 1989, he ran amongst 6 for the leadership of the NDP to replace the retiring Ed Broadbent, which he lost, but in the lead up to the convention someone on his team enlisted me to draw a cartoon for him. I was doodling for the student paper at the University of Ottawa at the time and I guess a youth worker put my name forth to draw Mr. McCurdy’s gag: “Dark horse? Who me?” So I was invited to his Hill office and I drew the image as seen above. When I finished he laughed and laughed and I could sense much eye rolling by office and campaign advisers. At the time, the political correctness movement was sweeping through universities in the late 80s and my instinct knew there was a bit of squeamishness about the image that quickly led to a debate among staff about its appropriateness. Despite the concern, Mr. McCurdy didn’t see any offence in it and insisted on getting some sort of promotional use of it. Fast forward 26 years later, when he’s requesting permission to use the cartoon in his upcoming autobiography. I quizzed him again and asked if he really thinks it’s appropriate, not to mention, poorly drawn – I mean, those hands! It was as if it was 1989 all over again. “What’s wrong with it?”, he asked, and repeated the same things he said back in his MP days. Anyway, I guess he’s finally getting some promotional use out of it.