The 1999 Juno Award Ceremony in Hamilton. Featuring Terry Cooke, Sheila Copps, Dominic Agostino, Toni Skarica, Bob Morrow, Geddy Lee, RUSH, Tragically Hip, Lillian Ross, Rita McNeil, Barenaked Ladies, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Mike Bullard, Sloan, Larry Flynt,
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday February 25, 1999
No food or drink in pool, breastfeeding mom told
A mother breastfeeding while swimming at a city recreation centre was ordered to leave because “no food or drink is allowed in the pool.”Shannon Wray, 25, was enjoying family swim time Friday morning at Huntington Park Recreation Centre on the East Mountain when her nine-month-old daughter Chyenne got hungry.
“I was sitting in the hot pool with my daughter in front of me and I pulled down my bathing suit strap, ” Wray said. “And I took my breast out and put her on it.”
A moment later, Wray was approached by the pool’s aquatic director, who advised the mother she would have to go into the change room to feed her child. Wray said she was told that it’s the culture and recreation department’s policy that there is no breastfeeding in the pool area.
“I’m very sorry you’re offended, ” Wray told the woman. “But that’s your problem. I’m nursing my baby and I’m not moving. You’re going to have to deal with it.”
Wray believes other swimmers complained.
When Wray refused to leave, she was told by the aquatic director that she couldn’t stay in the pool because of the state of “her attire.” Then, she said, a male lifeguard told her she had to stop breastfeeding “because no food or drink is allowed in the pool.”
Wray said she has breastfed her baby in public many times — including at the Huntington Park pool — but never had any complaints before now.
“It’s unfortunate that a natural act had to become some political brouhaha, ” said Wray. “This was very inappropriate and very humiliating.”
Alderman Mary Kiss, vice-chairperson of the city’s parks and recreation committee, said she was “appalled” that breastfeeding in public was still an issue for some people.
“It’s great to have mothers breastfeeding their children. I’ll definitely look into this.”
The lifeguard and aquatic director were just plain wrong, said Gary Makins, manager of the city’s east recreation district.
As far as the culture and recreation department goes, said Makins, mothers can nurse “at the pool, in the pool or on the side of the pool.
“I think our lifeguard or aquatic supervisor shouldn’t have asked her to leave, ” he said. Makins will send a copy of the city’s breastfeeding policy to each of the pools he supervises and he will write Wray a letter of apology.
As for no food or drink in the pool? “That doesn’t apply here, ” he said. “But if she was eating a sandwich in the pool, that would be a problem.” (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 12, 1999
Time for a new look at Cuba
It has taken almost 40 years, but the United States is finally beginning to realize that its hard line toward Cuba has failed. President Bill Clinton, better late than never, is recognizing that the trade embargo against Cuba is an ineffective way to promote democracy and human rights in Fidel Castro’s dictatorship. Sadly, however, prospects for a rapid thaw in the costly deep freeze between Cuba and the U.S. remain elusive.
Two obstacles — Clinton’s reluctance to take bold action to ease the embargo, and Castro’s hostility to even limited American overtures toward Cuba — keep Washington and Havana in a no-win stand-off. It doesn’t make sense. An end to American economic sanctions on Cuba can’t come a moment too soon. Lifting the embargo has the most potential to force Castro’s repressive regime to change.
Clinton took a helpful, if modest, step to break the ice last week. He announced a further loosening of sanctions against Cuba, such as expanding direct charter flights to the island, allowing direct mail service, and encouraging exchanges of athletes, scientists and other professionals. Building on an easing of the embargo last March, Clinton is making a tacit admission that American policy toward Cuba is failing. The Americans are heading down the road of dialogue and engagement toward Cuba, as Canada has done for decades. But Clinton is moving too slowly, evidently for fear of upsetting the anti-Castro lobby in Florida and hardline Republican congressmen.
A growing number of influential political and business voices want Clinton to take more dramatic action. A non-partisan commission, including Republican heavyweights such as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, volunteered to study alternative policies toward Cuba. Clinton should take that opportunity. If the U.S. were to end the embargo, Castro would be deprived of his most potent propaganda weapon, his litany of complaints about the U.S.
Castro is as much to blame for the paralysis as unsuccessful American policy. Apart from occasional public relations gestures, s uch as Pope John Paul’s visit last year, Castro shows little interest in easing the harsh realities of his regime. He has long insisted that Cuba will not allow democratic elections. True to form, Castro’s government denounced Clinton’s latest overtures. Castro would have reciprocated if he was truly interested in helping ordinary Cubans to survive the hardships of the embargo. The sanctions cost Cuba an estimated $800-million (U.S.) every year.
The aging dictator’s refusal to co-operate with the U.S. dampens hopes for an early transition to democracy. Perhaps he’ll listen to Canada, a big supplier of foreign investment and tourists. Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy last week urged Castro to release more political dissidents. Cuba freed several political prisoners after Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited last year. There was no immediate sign that Castro would budge this time.
Few leaders are as intractable and short-sighted as Castro. However, that doesn’t excuse the mistakes made by the U.S. in Cuban policy. As long as the American embargo remains, Castro will continue a propaganda war that helps him — but doesn’t do anything for long-suffering Cubans. (Source: Hamilton Spectator editorial)
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – November 4, 1998
Editorial Cartoon, #hamont, HSR, transit, bus, Hamilton
By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday November 6, 1997
Cleaner Lakes merit priority
There is a risk that Canada and the United States are treading water, and at risk of losing ground, in cleaning up the Great Lakes . The world’s largest freshwater ecosystem is cleaner and healthier 25 years after the signing of a landmark pollution control agreement in 1972. But much of the progress that’s been achieved could be squandered. Governments are cutting environmental budgets, weakening pollution laws and enforcement, and there’s reason to worry that politicians will become indifferent to a problem that defies easy solution.
The apathy that often relegates the Great Lakes to the bottom of the political totem pole is hard to understand. Some 37 million people live on either side of the Great Lakes . They draw heavily on Great Lakes water for their drinking water, recreation, fishing, manufacturing and many other uses. The stakes are extremely high. The economy and quality of life in the Great Lakes Basin hinges on the condition of this irreplaceable resource.
There can be no complacency about past achievements — a fact that was driven home to government officials who gathered in Niagara Falls last weekend for the 25th anniversary of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Three environmental groups issued a joint report which criticized governments on both sides of the border for allowing massive amounts of toxic substances to be released into the ecosystem every day.
The watchdogs found that while a few successes have been achieved in reducing the threat posed by DDT, PCBs and some other toxic chemicals, governments are moving too slowly in accomplishing the goal of zero discharge in the agreement. Progress has been especially slow in phasing out chemicals that result in the generation and release of dioxins and furans, which pose some of the most serious threats to life. The risks to human health remain ominous. An American scientist reported on one study showing that children of women who ate Lake Ontario fish before they were born stand a chance of having lower IQs and other learning and behavioural problems later in life. Lakewide management strategies and remedial action plans for pollution hotspots are generally proceeding at what the environmentalists describe as a glacial pace. Only one of 43 areas of concern, Collingwood Harbour, has been delisted in the past 10 years.
To be sure, there are encouraging signs. The Double-crested Cormorant, a large fish-eating bird, has made an incredible recovery after being devastated by toxic chemicals. There are now more cormorants on the Great Lakes than at any time in recorded history. But the threats to the Lakes are daunting. Dangerous levels of pollution which harm humans, fish and wildlife should never be accepted as the price of progress and prosperity.
Governments must show leadership by making a renewed commitment to the ingredients of past success: cleanup plans supported with the necessary funding, an insistence on strong laws with strict enforcement, and timetables to phase out the use and production of toxic chemicals that put everyone at risk. The disturbing fact is that many politicians are, of late, going in the opposite direction. They are making short-sighted decisions which will come back to haunt this generation, and the next. Political and business leaders must accept their responsibility and mobilize an effort in which we all do our fair share to protect the Great Lakes. (Source: Hamilton Spectator editorial)