Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday May 8, 2020
VE-Day 75th: Pandemic forces move to online commemoration
After a year of bitter fighting through Sicily and up through Italy, Canadians moved to Europe where thousands stormed ashore on D-Day eventually ending the war in Europe 75 years ago today
Major public celebrations to note the several landmark events leading up to the final victory in Europe (VE-DaY) have been forced to cancel due to the pandemic. In their place a series of alternative and informative activities have been created online by many related institutions. This includes the Juno Beach Centre, Canada’s main interpretive centre and museum of the war effort located at the invasion beach in Normandy France
Marie Eve Vaillancourt is exhibitions and development manager for the centre. She says the long planning that went into the expectation of public events in and with the centre for surrounding cities and Holland, all had to be quickly turned around and online content created. She says they’re very proud of the online content which is itself informative and at times emotional. She says it’s important to inform and remember these events and people no matter by what method.
Seventy-five years ago through equally bitter and deadly fighting, Canadians pushed through Normandy and northern France and into the Netherlands, liberating along the way to the grateful joy of citizens. Other Canadians moved towards and into Germany itself, to eventual total victory.
Major public celebrations had been planned for this landmark anniversary as Canadians liberated town after town in April and into May. A huge celebration has been planned to mark Operation Faust when the Canadian army negotiated a unique ‘truce’ to truck food supplies to starving Dutch through still armed German lines. The German forces there surrendered to the Canadians a few days later, and of course the final surrender of all German forces on May 7, to take effect May 8 ending the war in Europe, or Victory in Europe Day (VE-Day).
Ms. Vaillancourt notes that while there is very much an important human aspect to the crowds and speeches and interpersonal contacts, the online stories and information will give another aspect to this time. It will allow for greater individual learning experience, and perhaps prompt discussion within families.
Lest We Forget. (Radio Canada International)
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