Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday June 9, 2016
Michael Baldasaro, Hamilton’s high priest of pot, dead at 67
Michael Baldasaro, a longtime marijuana activist and perennial candidate for office, has died in a Hamilton hospice after a short battle with cancer.
Baldasaro, a Church of the Universe minister, died early Thursday morning, church member Rev. Juliet Boyd told The Spectator. He was 67.
“It was very quick,” said Boyd, noting Baldasaro had died of prostate cancer that had spread throughout his body.
He leaves behind an uncle, sisters in Ohio and his son, Aaron, who lives in Vancouver.
“And all the church members who adored him,” Boyd added.
Baldasaro, who’d only been in hospice for about week, made it his mission to help those who were ignored by others, she said.
“He bothered with the people nobody else bothered with.”
Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he was “saddened” to hear about Baldasaro’s death.
“Michael was true champion of Hamilton. His commitment to the City and his Church of Universe community was unwavering, but more importantly a genuinely nice man. I will miss his passion and good humour,” Eisenberger said an emailed statement.
“On behalf of the City of Hamilton, our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues. We are sorry for your loss.”
Baldasaro, who ran for the Marijuana Party, sought office at three levels of government in Hamilton since 1984. In 2014, he ran for mayor.
“I’m the common guy,” Baldasaro told The Spectator. “It’s about time we had someone who knows reality.”
He wanted to term limits for the mayoral office and pushed for lower city councillor salaries.
“I’ll take half off the mayor’s pay,” he promised. “I’m encouraging all councillors to do the same thing.”
Baldasaro also advocated for the well-being of drug users, sex workers and the homeless.
“They shouldn’t be in jails. They need help. The police have better things to do than go after these people.”
Church member Karen Coruzzi said Baldasaro gave her a new lease on life after helping her get off the streets and hard drugs 25 years ago.
“He taught me to love myself,” she said. “He’s a great man.”
In 2014, he also ran federally for the Marijuana Party in Hamilton Centre. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday March 2016
Rob Ford, former Toronto mayor, dead at 46
Rob Ford, the Toronto city councillor who became the world’s most famous mayor during a wild, scandal-filled term, is dead at age 46.
The married father of two young children died after 18 months of treatment for a rare and aggressive cancer first diagnosed in the midst of his 2014 bid to be re-elected mayor. Ford would have turned 47 on May 28.
Ford underwent surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in May 2015, what was then considered his last chance to survive pleomorphic liposarcoma.
Though the surgery was hailed as a success, the discovery of two new tumours months later merited repeated rounds of chemotherapy that kept him away from the council chamber and his city hall office.
In recent weeks, Ford entered a clinical trial aimed at finding a personalized treatment for his cancer. But the process, which involves implanting a tumour in mice and testing different combinations of drugs, takes four months to complete.
As his health worsened, Ford’s family set up a website for well-wishers to leave messages of support.
“May you have a speedy and successful recovery. Be strong,” said one post left Monday. “We need you as Mayor in 2018 to save Toronto.”
His earlier diagnosis forced Ford to abandon his re-election hopes in September 2014, even as polls suggested he remained a contender. He then coasted to victory in Ward 2 Etobicoke North, which he represented for a decade before his 2010 mayoral triumph.
Last year, after learning multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation had shrunk the original tumour enough to allow surgery, a relieved-looking Ford told reporters: “I’m just lucky to be alive today, and I’m just lucky to get another chance at life . . . At least I have a chance.”
He also thanked people “from all over the world” who had inundated him with hopeful messages.
The rumpled populist spent the months following surgery as he had the previous 15 years — immersed in politics. He attacked Mayor John Tory’s positions at city hall, gathering ammunition for a declared 2018 mayoral comeback. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Monday, January 11, 2016
How David Bowie told us he was dying in the ‘Lazarus’ video
Bowing out with typical style, David Bowie didn’t just release his last album ‘Blackstar’ to coincide with his 69th birthday last week, on January 8 – he was using it to say goodbye to the world.
An 18-month battle with cancer that hardly anyone knew about came to tragic end yesterday (January 10), but Bowie provided bleak hints about his terminal condition for his fans and followers in what was to be the final music video of his that was to be released in his lifetime.
Released only four days ago, the video for single ‘Lazarus’ was Bowie’s parting shot, opening with a blindfolded, fragile-looking Bowie laying in bed. His first words “look up here, I’m in heaven/I’ve got scars that can’t be seen” are now obviously an admission of his ill health, rather than just a fantastical musing on mortality. It soon becomes obvious that the bed he’s in is a hospital one and Bowie begins to float above it, signifying his transmutation to the other side – whatever, or wherever that may be. Watching it now, it’s a statement as bold as it is bleak.
“His death was no different from his life – a work of Art,” explained Bowie’s producer Tony Visconti, in tribute. “He made ‘Blackstar’ for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it.” Creative to the very end, the ‘Lazarus’ video is a heartbreakingly sad way to bid farewell, but a more than appropriate one. (Source: NME)
Jacques Parizeau, the Quebec nationalist former Premier has died at the age of 84. He served for many years in the cabinet of René Lévesque before eventually becoming leader of the Parti Québécois. In 1995, he led the Oui force of the sovereignty referendum and narrowly lost by a razor thin majority.
For any cartoonist he was an absolute joy to caricature. For me personally, Parizeau was at his prominence while I was honing my skills as an aspiring editorial cartoonist. Several caricatures I drew of him are seen below which were all drawn in the mid 1990’s. The final cartoon is from 2013.