Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday August 24, 2018
Ontario government says it has an interim sex-ed curriculum elementary teachers must follow
The Ontario government has released an interim sex-ed curriculum for elementary school teachers to use this September, and Premier Doug Ford is suggesting there will be consequences if they don’t adhere to it.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) was quick to blast the plan, accusing the Ford government of creating chaos instead of addressing the real issues facing the public school system just weeks before classes resume.
The Progressive Conservative government issued a news release about the changes on Wednesday afternoon, while also announcing plans for what it called an “unprecedented” provincewide consultation process on education reform and a future parents’ bill of rights.
The Ford government has faced sharp criticism from a number of groups — including teachers’ unions, many parents and the Official Opposition — over its decision to scrap the modernized sex-ed curriculum brought in by the former Liberal government in 2015, which included information about online bullying, sexting and gender identity.
A group of human rights lawyers are also challenging the government’s decision in court on behalf of six families.
Neither Ford nor Education Minister Lisa Thompson took questions from reporters on Wednesday. (Source: CBC News)
Readers react re: Aug25 #SexEd cartoon: https://t.co/8NsSOssHbE pic.twitter.com/AfYjOT6KRa
— Graeme MacKay (@mackaycartoons) August 29, 2018
In offending readers, cartoon made its point
We are in the business of publishing content, not suppressing it, writes Paul Berton
Graeme MacKay’s editorial cartoon last weekend caused a predictable fuss.
When it was brought to my attention before publication, I laughed out loud, and immediately recognized it would be problematic.
Indeed, some readers called it vulgar, another was disgusted and saddened, and said the paper “has sunk to the level of a tabloid.” One writer didn’t like the fact that it seemed to mock Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and added that he didn’t like it either when MacKay made fun of “our president.”
Why did we print it?
I could talk about the freedom of the press, the unique ability of satire to get to essence of an issue, or the importance of reflecting different points of view, and I could remind you that a cartoonist’s views are not necessarily those of the newspaper,
although sometimes they are. In the case of The Spectator, MacKay’s views are his own.
Or we could have just killed the cartoon, arguing that any reference to a penis in connection with Ontario’s premier is inappropriate, even if it is in the context of a heated debate over the future of sex education in the province.
We could have decided our readers don’t need that kind of thing at breakfast, let alone lunch or dinner. But that too, is the heart of the matter — and the point of the cartoon.
Ultimately, we are in the business of publishing content, not suppressing it. There have been times in the past when I thought I should have prevented something from publication, but in retrospect, I regret far more often the things we didn’t print than those we did.
Besides, if we had spiked that cartoon, we would have denied many other readers the laugh that I and others experienced from it, and laughs these days are all too rare.
For not only did we receive complaints about the cartoon, we also received kudos in their wake. You can turn to today’s letters-to-the-editor for some evidence of that. It is human nature to complain, but compliments are much less common.
Such supporters realize a good cartoonist never takes the issue as seriously as those in the midst of it — politicians usually, but often anyone in authority. True, cartoons often say in pictures what some of us are too polite to say in words, but they also make us look in the mirror, point out obvious or sometimes hidden inanities, and poke fun at people who take themselves too earnestly.
Any newspaper editor who says an editorial cartoonist doesn’t cause her or him grief is probably lying. It has always an uncomfortable relationship, and indeed, some cartoonists have been fired for their views. It would be easier for newspaper editors if nobody ever called to complain, but then we’d be approaching irrelevance.
Fortunately, Spec readers care deeply about this news organization, many of you think of us as part of the family, and feel a personal connection. We appreciate that, and we encourage all complaints, considered arguments and feedback of any sort. (Source)
Paul Berton is editor-in-chief of The Hamilton Spectator and thespec.com. You can reach him at 905-526-3482 or email@example.com