Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 24, 2018
An Election with no Centre
As Doug Ford was declared the new leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, critics and political opponents wasted no time portraying the new party chief as a radical, hard-right conservative who poses a threat to civil liberties and women’s rights.
November 28, 2017
A statement by the Ontario Liberal Party declared that Ford’s win signalled the Tories had “gone back in time to pick the most conservative leader they could find” and by selecting Ford had in part chosen “religious extremism over the rights of women.”
De Clercy noted that during the leadership campaign, there was little ideological distance among the candidates.
Kathy Brock, a political scientist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said he has to bring together factions of the party and appeal to a broad base of voters.
“Doug Ford is a very politically astute person,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that he’s not going to say some things that are polarizing, but he also understands the need to build with different communities.”
June 11, 2014
Ford himself recently told CBC News that the party is “always going to be progressive” and “have a big social heart for a lot of social issues.”
Conservative strategist Jason Lietaer says Ford ran a relatively moderate, measured and practical leadership campaign.
“It certainly wasn’t an ideological campaign other than a strong commitment to fiscal conservatism and low taxes.”
He said the Liberals are just engaging in fear-mongering, and that when voters start paying attention, they will ask themselves if Ford really looks like the “radical right-wing lunatic” his political opponents are making him out to be. (Source: CBC News)
As conventions come and go it’s nice to take stock and review the highlights of such events. This past weekend’s gathering of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists in Toronto was packed full of great venues and intriguing discussions. Tip of the hat goes to Wes Tyrell, whose energy and passion fuelled the conference like no other before this. Here are some of the sights and delights of #ACC2016.
Gathering with cartoonists and willingly herding ourselves into classrooms should go quite counter to our very beings. Doubly amazing is the fact that even with a table full of Tim Horton’s coffee and baked items in the back of the classroom, nary a trouble maker abandoned themselves from the stimulating talks to linger around near the exit. During the Friday sessions we were updated by free expression champions CNRI Dan Murphy, crocodile Nik Kowsar, and No-Fly Shahid Mahmood. Preservation superhero Christian Vachon reported on the repatriation chronology of a hoard of Duncan MacPherson cartoons from an American college to the permanent collection of the McCord Gallery in Montreal. Robert LaFontaine extolled the virtues of Quebec’s 1001 Visage Caricature festival, which won over the crowd, and will play host to the next gathering of the ACC in 2018.
Beginning the Saturday morning session a passionate trio of fine art scholars, Josée Desforges, Julie-Anne Godin-Laverdiere, Nancy Perron Rogers, and Professor Dominic Hardy of UQAM dove into a facsinating presentation on Quebec illustration, and in particular, how art influences cartoons. One of the students recalled the time in 1965, when a Department Store donated to a Montreal shopping centre an exact replica of Michelangelo‘s Statue of David. There was a public outcry from some people, and a public debate ensued about the appropriateness of such a display of male nudity in a shopping plaza. Veteran Toronto cartoonist Mike Constable made a rare appearance and showed off some of his quirky digital animations. Philip Burke took to the stage after a slick short documentary of his life made its debut. The amazing Buffalo born illustrator whose art has graced Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Time, to name a few answered a few questions in advance of his afternoon live painting at the Bedford Academy (see below). Ann Telnaes of the Washington Post and Jack (P-word) Ohman of the Sacromento Bee showed their work reflecting the state of U.S. politics with everything Donald Trump, and presented some of their animations. Jack’s very personal long form comic strip chronicled his dad’s final years and left many eyes in the room wet.
My little YouTube Movie “The Life of An Editorial Cartoonist” made this venue its world public premiere
And this delightful video by the wonderful and clever Dan Murphy, made its debut,
Zoomer Studios, Liberty Village
Friday afternoon was spent at Moses Znaimer‘s Zoomerplex in the west end where the topic of editorial cartoonists and the work that we do was featured for an upcoming issue. The show was moderated by Faith Goldy, peppered with the commentary of her sidekick, and longtime target of satire, Lord Conrad Black, Baron of Crossharbour. Pictured below at the Zoomer roundtable are L-R: Sue Dewar (Toronto Sun), Conrad Black, Terry Mosher (Montreal Gazette), Faith Goldy, Wes Tyrell (Zoomer Mag & ACC President), Michael de Adder (Halifax Chronicle Herald), Andy Donato (Toronto Sun), and Malcolm Mayes (Edmonton Journal). A game of musical chairs happened in-between ads when visiting U.S. cartoonists, Jack Ohman (Sacramento Bee), Kevin Kallaugher (Baltimore Sun), and Ann Telnaes (Washington Post) added their own take on politics to the south as the 2016 appears to be shaping up to be a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump contest.
Royal Ontario Museum
Our Friday evening was spent at the big old building on University Avenue famous for its ancient mummies and Grecian urns. It began with a nicely attended public panel called Drawing the Line: Conversations on Press Freedoms. It included two of North America’s great editorial cartoonists, Canada’s Brian Gable of the Globe & Mail, and from the United States, Kevin (Kal) Kallaugher of the Baltimore Sun, and the Economist magazine. Both presented slide shows of their past cartoons and even gave the audience some how-to-draw lessons. Brian taught the gathering how to draw Justing Trudeau, Kevin meanwhile showed the amused crowd how to draw Donald Trump. The third panelist was Mohamed Fahmy who drew nothing, because he had to make a hasty exit, in order to catch a flight… the next morning. If he stayed around he could have joined convention attendees who made their way down the hall to the museum atrium which had been turned into a nightclub where music boomed and food and cocktails lubed the assembled partiers. The theme of the night was called “Punchline” and it featured a recurring show of our editorial cartoons projected on a wall opposite the Futalognkosaurus skeleton. See the short clip below to get a feel for this unique event.
For a sense of our evening entertainment here’s a YouTube clip filmed by Wes Tyrell from “Punchline” featuring the work of cartoonists
Philip Burke at the Bedford Academy
What a treat ACC convention attendees experienced when the the upstairs of the Bedford Academy of Yorkville became the venue for a Saturday afternoon show by Philip Burke who painted a spectacular portrait of Wes Tyrell. All the while, we downed pints and ate finger foods while Philip worked his magic and Wes had to sit very still, for 4 hours. This moment was the culmination of year long blossoming friendship by the two that all began because of a simple FB compliment Wes delivered to Philip after being dazzled by the works on exhibit at Buffalo’s Burchfield Penney Art Centre from April 10 – September 13, 2015. Philip’s a very kind soul and is the latest illustrator to associate himself with a group which was traditionally been made up of just editorial cartoonists. He joins other notables such as Anita Kunz, Barry Blitt, and Matt Diffee, as an effort to broaden our scope to involve more like-minded satire artists. All part of the reason we now call ourselves the ACC, formerly the ACEC, the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists.
Encapsulating the afternoon here’s another YouTube clip by Nik Kowsar
The Bata Shoe Museum
The final evening of the Toronto convention was spent across from the Bloor Street hotel at the Bata Shoe Museum. There, Premier Kathleen Wynne and her partner Jane Rounthwaite joined in to celebrate the lifetime careers of Andy Donato, of the Toronto Sun, and Terry Mosher of the Montreal Gazette. Newspaper big wigs including Andrew Phillips, Lorrie Goldstein joined Post Media grand poobah Paul Godfrey to toast the combined 100 years worth of cartoon stardom. Wes Tyrell, on the eve of his being reappointed for a record 3rd term as Association President wore a splendid pac-man styled suit, which was warmly acknowledged by the Premier in her opening remarks. The occasion was also used to announce the 2016 winner of the ACC Townsie award. Dale Cummings won for his english language submissions, while Christian (Fleg) Daigle won for his French language entry. The final hours were spent trying on some of the wacky shoes and making the most of a tremendous convention. Hats off to Wes and the Toronto team for a great job. Now looking forward to Val David in 2018.
Photos courtesy of the following, Christian Vachon, Scott Burns, Tim Snyder, Wes Tyrell, Jennifer Jones, and Nik Kowsar. For more precise descriptions of each photo please visit this album on Graeme MacKay’s Flickr Account
The Toronto Sun sent a reporter to the Bata Shoe Museum reception. Here’s the text of their coverage:
Donato’s 50 years of work celebrated – even by premier
Veteran Toronto Sun cartoonist Andy Donato draws it the way he sees it.
In one of his memorable pieces, Donato drew Hamilton East voters with “butt heads” after the city re-elected then-beleaguered Liberal MP Sheila Copps in 1988.
The mayor of Steeltown threw a fit and immediately got on the horn with Postmedia’s CEO Paul Godfrey, who was publisher of the Toronto Sun at the time.
“He said, ‘Mr. Godfrey, it’s the mayor. Your paper with that guy Donato embarrassed us like never before. I know how many calls I’ve had. I know how many calls I’m getting. I want Donato fired and a pledge that you’ll never do that again to the people of Hamilton,’” Godfrey recalled Saturday night at the Bata Shoe Museum, where Donato was honoured for his 50 years of work.
When Godfrey and the mayor agreed to speak off the record, Godfrey asked if he thought the cartoon was funny.
“He basically said, ‘You promise you won’t tell anyone? I found it hilarious,’” he said, as Godfrey’s audience erupted in laughter. “I told him, ‘When you hang up, you tell your people you called me as the publisher of the newspaper and you demanded all those things. That will let you off the hook.’ He hung up. Two minutes later, he calls back. ‘When this fury does down, can I get your original?’”
The Association of Canadian Cartoonists honoured Donato, 79, and prolific Montreal cartoonist Terry Mosher by presenting them with personalized hockey jerseys.
“It’s a great honour,” Donato said at the awards ceremony. “I’m just kind of knocked out that the premier is here. I’ve been tough on her and she’s a delight. That’s the problem with this business is we attack these people. I’m still going to criticize her, but that’s part of the job.”
Donato said he is proud of the aforementioned Hamilton cartoon, but also the drawing of “The American Dream” in 1979, depicting the soldiers raising the Iwo Jima flag from the backside of Ayatollah Khomeini, which won an award as best editorial cartoon in the world the following year.
“We had posters printed out, it was on T-shirts,” he said. “All the customs guys at the airport had buttons.”
King Wes Tyrell
Wes Tyrell, president of the Association of Canadian Cartoonists, said Donato continues to thrive, even in the digital age.
“He has been able to consistently deliver when many careers for many other cartoonists would last for five or 10 years, Andy has proved he is trans-generational,” Tyrell said. “That’s not an easy thing. That’s an element that gets a lot of respect from cartoonists.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne expressed gratitude for editorial cartoonists.
“I will just start by saying, I hold no grudges,” she said. “The work you do is so important. It does make us laugh, but I know you’re very serious about what you do. You’re speaking truth to power and your cartoons really capture where we’re at as a society.” (Source: Toronto Sun)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday April 7, 2016
Justin Trudeau dismisses worries over private fundraiser with attorney general
With his justice minister set to woo supporters at a $500-a-ticket event, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is voicing little appetite to end private political fundraisers.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is the guest star at a Liberal fundraiser Thursday night hosted at the downtown Toronto law office of Torys LLP.
“Please join us for a private evening in support of the Liberal Party of Canada with the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould,” reads the event notice on the Liberal website.
Having the justice minister appear at an event at one of the country’s top law firms creates the appearance of a potential conflict of interest, Conservative MP John Brassard said.
“You blur those lines between party business and government business,” he told the Star
“This is a party that is billing themselves as a champion of the middle class and you’ve got a $500-a-ticket fundraiser that’s happening in a big Bay St. law firm,” said Brassard, the MP for Barrie-Innisfil.
“I’ll let others draw their conclusions whether this is pay for access,” he said.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne this week said her ministers would no longer attend such private fundraisers after the Star revealed that provincial cabinet members were expected to raise upwards of $500,000 for party coffers. (Source: Toronto Star)
By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday September 1, 2015
Mulcair can only benefit from claims he’s not a traditional leftwinger
Listen to this old dittie from yesteryear as you read on…
(By Kelly McParland) If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d suspect there was a conspiracy under way to covertly boost the image of Thomas Mulcair among non-NDP voters.There’s no question Mulcair has made a real effort to separate himself from the party’s loopier policies of the past. You won’t hear the word “socialism” escape his lips. He has promised a balanced budget — not someday later on, when they get around to it, if circumstances allow, as the Liberals have done. But right away, in the first New Democrat budget after taking office. And he’s pledged to do it without raising taxes on income.
Available at the boutique
That’s all well and good. But there’s also been a series of curious leaks that seem intended to undermine Mulcair by arguing he’s too conservative, not a real New Democrat but a late convert who adopted the party because it seemed best suited to serve his personal ambition. It’s possible the accusations might raise doubts among true NDP believers, who like their politics undiluted by practicality, but they could also have the opposite effect, making him more attractive to voters who might otherwise be disinclined to support the country’s traditional left-wing party. In other words, if you believe in conspiracies, you might suspect the leaks are an effort to achieve the opposite of their apparent intention.
As the National Post noted recently, Mulcair has been outed for once saying nice things about Margaret Thatcher, of considering an offer to join the Conservatives after quitting Quebec’s Liberals, of being “the most right wing” member of that Quebec Liberal caucus, of supporting Quebec business owners against Quebec’s language police, and of failing to adopt the left’s rote opposition to free trade in all its forms.
He was also criticized by Ed Broadbent, the NDP’s current patron saint and elder statesman, who questioned Mulcair’s leadership skills, accused him of claiming credit for matters he had nothing to do with, and of seeking to change the NDP into “another Liberal party.” Perhaps worst of all, Mulcair is known to be sympathetic to Israel, challenging the party’s status as a safe harbour to all manner of anti-Israel zealots and promoters of boycotts. (Continued: National Post)
Alberni Valley Times (British Columbia) September 2, 2015
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Wednesday February 8, 2012
Longtime Spec cartoonist Blaine dead at 74
One of The Spectator’s most colourful and well-known personalities of recent decades has died.
Blaine, who was the newspaper’s editorial cartoonist for 30 years until his retirement in 1993, had been in poor health in recent years after heart surgery and a stroke and was living at Macassa Lodge. He died at Juravinski Hospital Sunday evening.
He was born in Glace Bay, N.S., with the name Blaine MacDonald. But as he gained profile in the world of cartooning, adopting a style that was strongly influenced by the great Toronto Star cartoonist Duncan Macpherson, he legally changed his name to Blaine.
Blaine was anything but bland. He had a black belt in karate, played guitar and sang, liked wearing cowboy boots and jewellery and was remembered for driving motorcycles and a Corvette Stingray monogrammed with a drawing of a butterfly on the hood.
The story goes that he once picked up an injured butterfly by the side of the road, nursed it back to health, and then used the experience of releasing it for inspiration to buy lottery tickets. He matched numbers to the letters of the song Butterflies are Free (B=2, U=21 etc.) and won $15,443 in Lottario.
But that wasn’t the only thing he won during his life. For his editorial cartooning, Blaine received National Newspaper Awards, a Reuben Award and a Salon of Cartoons Grand Prize. Blaine created a national profile for himself and the paper through the syndication of his work.
Roy Carless, a local cartoonist who died in 2009, once described Blaine as “probably the most brilliant caricaturist that I ever met. A lot of artists were jealous of him.”
Other Blaine admirers included Pierre Trudeau, who wrote to Blaine in May 1969, saying: “I am not sure whether it is more foolhardy for a politician to praise the work of a cartoonist, or to refuse to do so — particularly when the cartoonist holds a black belt in karate. In any case, I freely admit to enjoying your drawings, both the lifelike pencil portraits and the imaginative political caricatures. Keep that pencil sharpened. My fellow politicians and I will keep you well supplied with material.”
But actually it was Blaine who owed thanks to the former prime minister. Trudeau was one of the cartoonist’s favourite subjects and Blaine won a National Newspaper Award by depicting him putting his middle finger into a light socket with one hand and holding an illuminated light bulb with the other. The caption: Finger Power.
Blaine’s caricatures of Trudeau have a special meaning to The Spec’s current editorial cartoonist, Graeme MacKay. Years ago, as a Grade 10 student with a sketchbook tucked under his arm, MacKay went into The Spec’s newsroom to meet Blaine.
MacKay says he remembers the five-minute meeting with his hero in such detail that he can still play it like a short movie inside his head. It ends with Blaine grabbing a blue pencil and a piece of paper, and in a matter of seconds drawing a cartoon of Trudeau.
“I thought, ‘This guy is incredible,’” MacKay says. “I still have the drawing.”
Blaine’s wife, Ildiko Horvath, said Blaine was “a very hard worker. Sometimes he would get an idea and draw it and later on think of something else. He’d tear it up and start again and he would come home at 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock when he was finally finished.”
Former MP and cabinet minister Sheila Copps said: “He was an unbelievably talented artist, and a great motorcyclist. He gave me my first ride on a bike, home from my summer job at The Spec. His cartoons really captured the essence of the moment. Several of his cartoons about my time in politics are framed prized possessions.”
Former Mayor Bob Morrow said: “He had a following that would turn to see what he had drawn in the paper before turning to anything else. He was a very nice fellow and a great depicter of the events of the day.”
Jack MacDonald, who died in 2010, used to say he treasured the political cartoons that Blaine drew of him during his time as mayor. His favourite was published after an election win and pictured the new mayor crawling into bed with a big ceremonial chain around his neck and his wife, Jessie, remarking, “You can’t wear that thing to bed.”
MacDonald — who wrote a regular column for The Spec in the 1990s, working out of the same editorial page office as Blaine — once told a reporter: “If you knew him, you knew he was a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. If you crossed him, he would be very upset about it. But there was no malice in him. There was humour.”
MacKay says Blaine had a different sense of humour than political cartoonists today.
“His cartoons weren’t nasty,” he says. “He used more of a whimsical approach. It was kind of a Rich Little kind of humour compared to the more cutting, crass things you see on late-night television.”
Horvath said recent years had been difficult for Blaine. He couldn’t speak and suffered from partial paralysis. He had been admitted to the Juravinski Hospital because he was having trouble breathing. He died at about 8 p.m. after watching part of the Super Bowl on television.
“You know how some people can predict things? He always used to say that he wanted to live to 74,” she said. “And he did.”
As well as Horvath, Blaine is survived by a daughter, Tana, and son, Kirk. Visitation will take place Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Bay Gardens Funeral Home, 1010 Botanical Dr., Burlington. The funeral will be held there at 11 a.m. Friday. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)