By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday December 16, 2000
A new president who will need lots of help; What’s in the papers
It may be too much to expect that George W. Bush can be the “uniter” he’s promised to be. The Republican’s best hope may lie in showing that he’s “not a divider.”
For now, he’s entitled to good wishes and open minds. After all, he’s the only president-elect the American people have, and it’s a tough job on its best day.
He’s certainly talking the talk. “I was not elected to serve one party but to serve one nation,” Bush told an enthusiastic Texas statehouse crowd Wednesday.
But Washington may not prove so welcoming. Even a modest goal of less divisiveness presents Bush with the challenge of several lifetimes. Most presidents get at least a short honeymoon to test their skills at making connections; Bush may not. There are a lot of hard feelings out there. Even before the latest court rulings, the politics of character assassination was ratcheting up at every turn. The rabid see no purpose in restraint. And the nation’s minority voters feel seriously wronged by this election. They will keep saying so.
Bush , moreover, has left himself vulnerable to attack. His postelection demeanour and isolation did not show him as a man in charge, a man skilled in diplomacy, or even a man eager for great responsibilities.
His deer-in-the-headlights moments do not auger well for foreign policy leadership, in particular.
During the debates, he managed to mouth the words supplied by Condoleezza Rice. But if he continues without his own vision, and keeps appearing just an expression or two short of terror, he will surely get a major test from one of America’s enemies.
Domestically, the country can muddle along, doing little more than paying down the national debt, for one presidential term if necessary. Any accomplishments will be a bonus.
If Bush can’t rein in his party’s right-wing extremists, he can expect to be vilified, to lose the hairbreadth GOP margin in Congress in ’02, and to earn the disdain of the American people, not to mention the ever-harsher cruelties of Saturday Night Live.
His legitimacy is slender indeed, hanging by the narrowest of Supreme Court majorities. As a payback for the cries of “illegitimate” that greeted President Clinton after his non-majority victories, there’s a rough justice to the fragile Bush hold on the presidency. But hold it he does.
Other presidents have overcome unnerving beginnings. George W. Bush deserves room to try to work for “common sense, common courtesy, common goals.” Americans need to give him that room, and their prayers. (Source: Detroit Free Press)
Behind the Flamborough Liberation Organization (FLO) Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday October 23, 2000
They’re Off; Chretien calls Nov. 27 vote; opposition calls it opportunistic
Canadians will decide Nov. 27 whether the Liberals should be punished for calling an early election or rewarded with a third mandate.Amid opposition claims that his government is arrogant, cynical and out of touch with ordinary Canadians, Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited Governor General Adrienne Clarkson at her official residence yesterday.
He asked her to dissolve Parliament, officially triggering a campaign that had been going on informally for weeks.
Speaking outside Rideau Hall against a backdrop of autumn leaves, the prime minister said an early election is necessary to let Canadians decide what should be done with the country’s burgeoning massive budget surplus.
Immediately, the other parties dumped all over the Liberals, protesting that the election call — just three-and-a-half years into their five-year mandate — is unnecessary and opportunistic.
Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark, NDP leader Alexa McDonough and Canadian Alliance campaign co-chairman Jason Kenney each described Chretien’s go vernment as arrogant, framing what is likely to emerge as a central theme of the campaign.
“What’s happened today is that Jean Chretien has walked off the job, ” Clark said. “He’s walked off the job with a lot of business left to be done.”
The dissolution of Parliament leaves 20 pieces of legislation unfinished, effectively killing them.
“The record of this government is that of arrogance, ” Kenney said. “Canadians are tired of this tired government.”
Chretien calls Nov. 27 vote; opposition calls it opportunistic
“I wouldn’t expect them to say anything else, ” Heritage Minister Sheila Copps said.
“It is an election campaign and obviously they’re out to oppose the government. The reality is it’s the Alliance-Reform that asked for the election originally. Asking people to make a choice when you’re in the fourth year of the mandate — I don’t consider that arrogant.”
The smiling prime minister, who walked to the Governor General’s residence with his wife Aline, said he was feeling both confident and humbled by the opportunity to ask Canadians for another mandate.
Copps enjoys the highest profile among local Liberal MPs, who represent every riding in Hamilton, Halton, Brant and Niagara.
But Marlene Richards, Canadian Alliance riding association president for Ancaste r-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot, said she is sensing that voters in the Hamilton area are hungry for a change.
“There’s something exciting in the air, ” she said. “I’m feeling very, very positive about our own riding.”
Most local Alliance riding associations expect to nominate candidates within the next week.
During the weekend’s provincial Tory party convention in Toronto, both federal Alliance leader Stockwell Day and Conservative leader Joe Clark made appearances, seeking to win support for their competing camps among Mike Harris Tories.
The future for Day and Clark will depend on their ability to make gains in vote-rich Ontario, which holds more than one-third of all the seats in the federal Parliament. (Hamilton Spectator, A1, 10/23/2000)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday September 12, 2000
Ontarians have had it with classroom warfare; Education: Public won’t support disruptions
Ontario’s schools are once again in danger of becoming a labour relations battleground rather than a place for learning. The optimism that usually marks the start of the school year is missing, especially in public high schools, and there is concern for what lies ahead. Students and parents are worried about teachers working to rule; withdrawing extra-curricular activities, includi ng sports and after-school clubs; and taking other job actions, such as rotating walkouts and possibly even a strike in Toronto.
It is an understatement to say that Ontarians are tired of the continuing tension and uncertainty. What is most frustrating is the apparent inability of the Mike Harris government and Ontario’s teachers’ unions to discuss their differences, or at least agree to a truce until the next provincial election campaign is under way. It’s unrealistic to expect that relations between the Tories and the unions will be easily repaired in the wake of the government’s heavy-handed Bill 74, the Education Accountability Act, which among other things increases high school teachers’ course load and could mandate extra-curricular involvement. But it’s not asking too much of all parties to go the extra mile to start communicating with each other to avoid damaging, unnecessary disruption in schools.
Harris has an opportunity to take a more constructive direction by opting for a more moderate, less confrontational and more inclusive approach to education reform. Last week, the premier said that his government plans a more pragmatic, less ideological approach to governing — but he wasn’t specific. Education is an ideal place for Harris to show that he’s serious about adopting a Bill Davis, consensus-building style. He would send a good signal by slowing down to listen to what critics are saying. This government has assumed almost complete control of education from school boards, barging ahead on major reforms with relatively little concern for the views of teachers’ unions.
There is an equal onus on the union leaders to hold their noses and offer to dialogue with the Tories, starting with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation. The OSSTF acted responsibly by returning to school on schedule this month. However, the union drew a line in the sand by pledging to battle the demands of Bill 74 in negotiating unsigned teachers’ contracts. In Toronto, 7,000 public high school teachers have set Oct. 2 as a strike date if negotiations fail. The OSSTF is walking a fine line. Job actions that detract from the quality of a student’s overall educational experience are ultimately self-defeating.
The OSSTF and the other unions have every right to oppose the Tory agenda, take their issues to the public, and campaign for a new government in the next election. But the battle shouldn’t be fought on the backs of students. Both sides must preserve the integrity of the classroom and all of the after-school programs that are fundamental to a good education. (Source: Hamilton Spectator Editorial)