At the Hamilton Spectator, I’m quite spoiled by having several pages that have run for four days this week highlighting the past events of 2021. It’s a huge honour, and a wonderful testament that there are still some print media outlets, like the Spec, which embrace satire, as well as local reporting and staff photography as a necessary part of print and digital journalism. It’s a tradition in newspapers around the globe to use the final week of the year to showcase editorial cartoons which best boil down the past 12 months viewed through the lens of satire. Thankfully, there’s still a contingent of talented cartoonists sustaining the craft. Although, as many of you are aware, editorial cartooning positions have been in steady decline as newspapers respond to shrinking circulation & advertising revenues by chopping or retiring off their artists and replacing their local insights with banal syndicated Hallmark style gags masquerading as satire, or worse, bland wire photos. Support your local newspapers but remind editors that satire is fundamental to a healthy democracy. Thank you for your likes and shares, and encouraging comments. Here’s to a better year ahead in 2022, my 25th year as editorial cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator. Happy New Year!
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday December 29, 2021
As Omicron Spreads and Cases Soar, the Unvaccinated Remain Defiant
As a fast-spreading new strain of the coronavirus swarms across the country, hospitals in Ohio running low on beds and staff recently took out a full-page newspaper advertisement pleading with unvaccinated Americans to finally get the shot. It read, simply: “Help.”
But in a suburban Ohio café, Jackie Rogers, 58, an accountant, offered an equally succinct response on behalf of unvaccinated America: “Never.”
In the year since the first shots began going into arms, opposition to vaccines has hardened from skepticism and wariness into something approaching an article of faith for the approximately 39 million American adults who have yet to get a single dose.
Now, health experts say the roughly 15 percent of the adult population that remains stubbornly unvaccinated is at the greatest risk of severe illness and death from the Omicron variant, and could overwhelm hospitals that are already brimming with Covid patients. In Cleveland, where Omicron cases are soaring, a hospital unit at the Cleveland Clinic that provides life support to the sickest patients is already completely full.
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday December 28, 2021
Hamilton’s Efforts to Combat Homelessness this Winter
While the debate rages on about the dismantling of homeless encampments in Hamilton. City staff are gearing up for providing shelter for the homeless this winter with approximately $3 Million in projects. These include:
Transitioning the former Cathedral Boys School into a temporary shelter for women (approximately 80-100 beds) at an approximate cost of $1 Million.
Adding approximately 28 temporary emergency shelter beds as men’s overflow at an approximate cost of $350,000.
Something new would be the establishment of a $500,000 fund to support churches, social clubs who have expressed interest in supporting vulnerable residents through the winter months until March 31, 2022 but who may not have the operational funds to be viable.
Creation of a special fund of $500,000 to address homelessness experienced by Indigenous community members who are overrepresented in the homeless population of Hamilton.
A grant of of $500,000 to the YWCA Hamilton for capital renovations required to continue to operate Carol Anne’s Place as a temporary drop in program for 22 single homeless women.
A grant of of $150,000 to the Good Shepherd Centre Hamilton for capital renovations required to continue to operate Cathedral as a temporary shelter for women.
Staff are also recommending that a consultant be hired to evaluate the feasibility of implementing a New Westminster style bylaw which was used in that BC city to combat renovictions. The city has already taken preliminary steps recently to discourage renovictions by denying some develpers tax increment grants, which were designed to encourage the construction of residential units in the city core.
Director of Housing Services, Edward John also presented Emergency and Community Services Committee with a detailed snapshot of the homelessness situation in Hamilton. The report says over 15 percent of Hamilton residents are experiencing housing need which is defined as requiring more than 30 percent of household income for shelter. The report also says there are 1375 persons in Hamilton identified as homeless. (Bay Observer)