Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday April 2, 2019
Trudeau apologizes to Grassy Narrows protester thanked for ‘donation,’ kicked out of Liberal Party fundraiser
Two former women cabinet minister from Justin Trudeau’s government, Jody Wilson-Raybould (Canada’s first indigenous Attorney General and Justice Minister) and Jane Philpott (Treasury Board President), were unceremoniously booted from party caucus today.
This follows an embarrassing moment for the Prime Minister from a few days earlier:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized for how he responded to a protester Wednesday evening who was advocating on behalf of a northern Ontario First Nation struggling with health effects linked to historical industrial dumping upstream from the community.
Grassy Narrows First Nation held a protest and demonstration in Toronto on Wednesday evening during a Liberal Party fundraiser to press the Trudeau government on its promise to fund a specialized mercury treatment facility in the northwestern Ontario community that’s about 100 kilometres northeast of Kenora.
During the event, the protester appeared to be escorted out of the room while Trudeau thanked her for her “donation.”
“From time to time, I’m in situations where people are expressing concerns or protesting a particular thing, and I always try to be respectful and always try to engage with them in a positive way,” Trudeau told reporters in Halifax on Thursday morning.
“I didn’t do that last night — last night I lacked respect towards them and I apologize.”
Grassy Narrows also is pushing for federal help for remediation of the polluted English-Wabigoon River system and better compensation for people affected by the toxic element.
In a video posted to the Council of Canadians’ verified Facebook page Wednesday evening, a woman is shown standing in front of the stage where Trudeau is standing; she appears to unfurl a banner that references the prime minister and compensation for the “mercury crisis.” She is heard saying “people in Grassy Narrows are suffering from mercury poisoning, you committed to addressing this crisis,” while appearing to be removed from the room.
Trudeau, still on the stage, is heard saying, while facing the direction in which the woman was taken out of the room, “Thank you for being here, thank you very much for your donation tonight, I really appreciate it,” which draws cheers and applause from the crowd.
The Grassy Narrows protest in Toronto was at the Omni King Edward Hotel, where Trudeau was scheduled to appear at a Laurier Club donor “appreciation event.”
Former Indigenous services minister Jane Philpott pledged in late 2017 that Ottawa would fund the development and construction of a treatment facility for people exposed to mercury-related illnesses in Grassy Narrows. A number of studies have linked the comparatively poor health of people in the community to the dumping of mercury-contaminated effluent by Reed Paper, former owners of the mill in Dryden, into the river where members of the First Nation have traditionally fished.
The dumping also affected Wabaseemoong, another First Nation, about 100 kilometres northwest of Kenora. (Source: CBC News)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 20, 2019
Gerald Butts and Justin Trudeau ‘would finish each others’ sentences’
The two men, who met at McGill, forged their bonds in debate club. In an interview with McGill News, Trudeau said the experience helped convince him he wasn’t cut out for a career as a lawyer or a debater.
Nonetheless, in 2013, like a throwback to his college days, he was smack back in a debate while running the campaign that would land him in the PMO, and Butts was advising during each commercial break.
“Butts … practically pinned his friend against the wall,” according to a 2015 Maclean’s profile. “He slung a jacketed arm over Trudeau’s shoulder and spoke in hushed tones, inches from his face. It wasn’t so much aggressive as intensely friendly — a boxer with his longtime coach — with Trudeau occasionally nodding at Butts’s words.”
That helped reinforce a stereotype that Butts served as the brain of the operations while Trudeau provided the charming smile and personality to woo voters.
Their life stories, are of course vastly different: Butts, 47, born to a coal miner and nurse in Cape Breton, graduated from McGill, and after earning a master’s degree even briefly pursued a PhD in literature at York University in Toronto.
Before finishing his degree, he entered politics, rose through the ranks of former Ontario Premier Dalton McGinty’s office and later became chief executive of World Wildlife Foundation-Canada.
Trudeau, meanwhile, the son of a former prime minister, pursued a career as a teacher after McGill until decades later, Butts helped convince him to run for office.
“I often did get the sense that they often would finish each others’ sentences,” said Jonathan Kay, who helped Trudeau with his autobiography and was a columnist for the National Post.
Kay said their personalities helped balance each other out, and the stereotype of Butts as the brains behind the operation is a mistake.
“They were very much equals,” he said, adding, “when they’re together they balance each other out.” (Continued: Financial Post)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 13, 2019
Resignation of ‘very principled’ Jody Wilson-Raybould not a surprise, say former Manitoba grand chiefs
Two former Manitoba grand chiefs are defending Jody Wilson-Raybould as a strong leader following her resignation from cabinet Tuesday morning.
“She follows her convictions to the greatest degree. She’s very principled,” said Sheila North, former grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which represents Manitoba’s northern First Nations.
North worked with Wilson-Raybould on Indigenous files over the years, including missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and said Tuesday she was not surprised by her resignation.
“Her resolve to do the right thing is always on the top of her mind,” said North.
Wilson-Raybould’s resignation as minister of Veterans Affairs and associate minister of National Defence comes in the wake of a Globe and Mail story that alleged pressure was placed on her from the Prime Minister’s Office when she was the federal Justice minister.
The Globe reported she was pressured by the PMO to direct federal prosecutors to make a “deferred prosecution agreement” to avoid taking the Quebec-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin to trial on bribery and fraud charges in connection with contracts in Libya.
At a news conference later in the day Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “surprised and disappointed” with her decision to leave cabinet.
Trudeau denies he or his staff directed Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case. (Source: CBC)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday January 26, 2018
Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown resigns amid allegations about conduct
Ontario’s Opposition leader is stepping down amid allegations of sexual misconduct, dealing a severe blow to his party just months before the province heads to the polls.
Patrick Brown announced the decision in a statement issued early Thursday morning, following a hastily-called news conference in which the Progressive Conservative leader “categorically” denied what he called “troubling allegations” about his conduct and his character.
In the statement, Brown said that after consulting with caucus, friends and family, he decided to step down as leader but would stay on as a member of the provincial legislature to clear his name.
He said “these allegations are false and have been difficult to hear” and that defeating Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne in the upcoming provincial election is “more important than one individual.”
Brown’s political future as Ontario’s Opposition leader was thrown into turmoil Wednesday as the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against him prompted calls for his resignation.
In his late-night news conference, a visibly emotional Brown said he was made aware of the allegations hours earlier, but did not provide details on what those allegations were. He said he would defend himself in the court of law.
“I can’t speculate on the motive of my accusers, I can only say that what they are saying is categorically untrue,” the 39-year-old politician said.
CTV News reported that two women have come forward with graphic sexual misconduct allegations against Brown that date back to when the Opposition leader was a federal MP. The broadcaster did not name the women, who alleged the incidents happened at Brown’s home in Barrie, Ont., after they had been drinking in his presence. Brown was not drinking at the time, the women told CTV News.
The report said one of the women, who is now 29, claimed she was still in high school when Brown allegedly asked her to perform oral sex on him.
The other woman said she was a university student working in Brown’s constituency office when he sexually assaulted her at his home after an event she helped organize, CTV News reported. The woman said she did not report the alleged incident to authorities.
CTV News said it had viewed records of correspondence between Brown and the women. None of the allegations have been proven in court. (Source: CTV News)
Patrick Brown resigned early this morning as Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party leader after allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct from two women. With just months to go before a provincial election, the PC party has been left in disarray, and political prospects for all 3 parties in Ontario turn upside-down. Below is the complete cartoon chronology of the now former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario: