In the aftermath of the death of former U.S. President George H. W Bush, editorial cartoonists are creating obit cartoons and reposting old cartoons from when he was president from 1989 to 1993. While a few of my drawings (here and here) included Bush Sr. in editorial cartoons during his son’s Presidency, I was a university student at the time when he was at the helm, and submitting cartoons to campus newspaper, The Fulcrum. Back then my political cartooning was in the form of a wordy, densely illustrated weekly comic strip called Alas & Alack. In November 1989, Bush had been President for less than a year, leading in the shadow of his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, at a time monumental changes were happening in the world, among them the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the cold war. At the time the President seemed desperate to put his own mark on history. With references to Ronald Reagan, Leonid Breshnev, JFK, and even Donald Trump.
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday November 9, 2018
Trudeau apologizes for Canada’s 1939 refusal of ship of Jewish refugees
Survivors and families of 900 German Jews whose pleas for asylum Canada ignored during the Holocaust received an official federal apology Wednesday, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed more federal help to combat anti-Semitic acts.
It was 79 years ago that the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King rejected an asylum request from an ocean liner carrying German Jews as it neared Halifax, forcing it back to Europe.
Most of the passengers scattered across the continent and more than 250 of them died in the Holocaust.
The decision to turn the country’s back on European Jews was “unacceptable then and it is unacceptable now,” Trudeau said in his speech on the week marking the 80th anniversary of what is known as “Kristallnacht” and the start of the Holocaust.
Trudeau said Holocaust deniers still exist and anti-Semitism remains prevalent in Canada — the latest numbers from Statistics Canada show Jews are the most frequent target of religiously motivated hate crimes — and North America, shadowed by the shooting deaths of 11 worshippers inside a Pittsburgh synagogue almost two weeks ago.
The ensuing days have seen countrywide vigils and, Trudeau said, calls for the government to do more through a federal program that funds security improvements at places at risk of hate-motivated crimes, such as synagogues.
Trudeau pledged to listen to the request, but didn’t provide further details. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Yet, statues of the then Prime Minister, William Lyon MacKenzie King, remain standing, despite his and his government’s anti-semitist policies. This follows several months of debate and scrutiny of another Canadian Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and his government’s anti-indigenous peoples policies. Do more statues need to come down?
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday June 27, 2017
July 1 is Canada’s 150th anniversary, but nobody seems particularly eager to join the party. The muted attempts at celebration have so far produced either awkwardness or embarrassment. A giant rubber duck, six stories tall, is supposed to arrive in Toronto Harbor on Canada Day, but its imminent appearance has been greeted by outrage over costs and suspicions of plagiarism. In March, the CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, began televising a documentary series called “The Story of Us” to the almost instantaneous howling of Quebec and Nova Scotia politicians at what they regarded as significant omissions in our supposedly collective narrative. Resistance 150, an indigenous political movement, is planning to disrupt the anniversary itself.
The principal excitement of our sesquicentennial so far has been the fury of national self-critique it has inspired.
The irony is that Canada, at the moment, has a lot to celebrate. Our prime minister is glamorous and internationally recognized as a celebrity of progressive politics. We are among the last societies in the West not totally consumed by loathing of others. Canada leads the Group of 7 countries in economic growth. Our cultural power is real: Drake recently had 24 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time — for one shining moment he was nearly a quarter of popular music. Frankly, it’s not going to get much better than this for little old Canada.
So why is Canada so bad at celebrating itself? The nationalism that defined the country during the last major anniversary, the centenary in 1967, has evaporated. The election of Justin Trudeau has brought a new generation to power, a generation raised on a vision of history more critical than laudatory. We dream of reconciliation with the victims of our ancestors’ crimes rather than memorialization of their triumphs. (Continued: New York Times)
Cartoon didn’t do justice to Canada 150
RE: Celebrating Canada then and now, (editorial cartoon June 27)
During this year of celebrating Canada, it was very disappointing to see such a negative and incorrect editorial cartoon about how Canadians feel during this, our 150th birthday celebratory year.
I am not saying that there are some Canadians who have negative or frustrated feelings with various situations in our country, but those feeling were also present in 1967.
But if you are supposed to represent the majority of Canadians, then you are so far off the mark. Canadians are thrilled to be celebrating our country from sea to sea whether on the Via Rail 150 pass or the Parks Canada 150 pass.
Small communities are having street parties and large communities are having festivals. Big or small, loud or quiet, we are all proud to be Canadian. So fly that flag right side up and with dignity. True North Strong and Free!
Sheila Drury, Mount Hope
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday June 22, 2017
LCBO extends hours in lead up to Canada Day as possible strike looms
The LCBO is extending hours amid fears of a last call due to a possible work stoppage next week.
With 8,000 unionized workers set to hit the bricks on Monday, the provincial alcohol monopoly some Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores will be open from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. starting Thursday.
“Extended store hours across Ontario will help accommodate customer shopping leading up to Canada Day and possible labour disruption,” the LCBO said in a statement Wednesday.
“We continue to bargain with the union’s bargaining committee, with the union in a legal strike position as of 12:01 a.m. Monday,” the Crown agency continued.
“To ensure access to the best product selection and to avoid disappointment, customers should shop in advance of Sunday . . . if possible,” it said.
“We remain focused on reaching a fair, sustainable and responsible collective agreement. However, in the event of a labour disruption, we have plans to provide some level of service.”
Details on those strike provisions are not yet known.
In the event that workers are not on strike over the Canada Day long weekend July 1, the LCBO is hoping to keep as many as 450 of its 650 stores open with the longer hours that Sunday.
However, all outlets will be closed on the Saturday. They will be open Monday even though that is a statutory holiday.
Employees, 84 per cent of whom are part-time, are seeking greater certainty from the LCBO over scheduling and guarantees about eventually gaining full-time jobs.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is reforming labour laws this fall to protect workers in precarious employment circumstances better, has warned that “it’s a good idea for government to set an example in terms of good labour practice.” (Toronto Star)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday April 5, 2017
Don’t Let Politicians Rewrite National Anthems
Some members of the Senate are determined to stop Parliament from changing the words of the national anthem, with one senator deriding the late Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger’s proposed amendments to O Canada as “clunky, leaden and pedestrian.”
Bélanger, who passed away last summer after a battle with ALS, sought to make the anthem gender-neutral by removing the phrase “all thy sons command” and replacing it with “all of us command.”
The bill passed in the House of Commons largely along party lines, with all Liberal and NDP MPs voting in favour of the changes, while most Conservatives opposed. Some notable female Tory MPs, including Michelle Rempel and Lisa Raitt, backed Bélanger’s bill.
Nearly a year later, the bill is now in its last legislative phase — third reading in the Senate — awaiting a final vote. As per the Senate’s procedural policy, debate on the bill can be continually adjourned by critics, punting a vote on the matter to a later date. (Source: CBC News)
Meanwhile, after nearly three years of talks, the NHL announced Monday it will not participate in the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, a decision that is turning out to be incredibly unpopular with many players.
“It’s crap. I don’t understand the decision,” said a clearly disgruntled Erik Karlsson to CBC Windsor.
The Swedish player and captain of the Ottawa Senators is among many high-profile players voicing discontent in the wake of the announcement.
One of the most outspoken against the decision has been another Swede — Henrik Lundqvist. The New York Rangers goaltender tweeted that “a huge opportunity to market the game at the biggest stage is wasted.”
Carey Price, who helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, said it’s a particularly tough blow to the younger players.
“I feel like we’re short-changing some of the younger players that haven’t had that opportunity,” he said. “It’s tough to swallow for some of those kids, I’m sure. At a human level, this is a big worldwide event that the world takes part in and you know, we want to shine our light too.”
Marc Savard, a Canadian who is under contract with the New Jersey Devils, joked that tryouts for the team will be posted at local rinks.
Canada has long dominated the game, winning nine gold medals for men’s hockey since 1920 — including consecutive wins in 2010 and 2014.
This will mark the first time NHLers won’t participate in nearly 20 years. (Source: CBC)