At the Hamilton Spectator, I’m quite spoiled by having several pages that have run for four days this week highlighting the past events of 2021. It’s a huge honour, and a wonderful testament that there are still some print media outlets, like the Spec, which embrace satire, as well as local reporting and staff photography as a necessary part of print and digital journalism. It’s a tradition in newspapers around the globe to use the final week of the year to showcase editorial cartoons which best boil down the past 12 months viewed through the lens of satire. Thankfully, there’s still a contingent of talented cartoonists sustaining the craft. Although, as many of you are aware, editorial cartooning positions have been in steady decline as newspapers respond to shrinking circulation & advertising revenues by chopping or retiring off their artists and replacing their local insights with banal syndicated Hallmark style gags masquerading as satire, or worse, bland wire photos. Support your local newspapers but remind editors that satire is fundamental to a healthy democracy. Thank you for your likes and shares, and encouraging comments. Here’s to a better year ahead in 2022, my 25th year as editorial cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator. Happy New Year!
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday May 1, 2021
‘My recommendations will be implemented’: Louise Arbour prepares to review misconduct in Canada’s military
When faced with the idea of conducting an external review on sexual misconduct in the military — six years after a similar review was completed — retired Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour said her initial impression was: “Seriously? It’s been done.”
Upon reflection, Arbour said she saw an environment in which she could make a lasting contribution, having been given a broader mandate from the federal government than the one handed to retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps when she conducted a similar review.
“I have been given assurances that my recommendations will be implemented,” a point Arbour returned to several times in an interview with the Star on Friday, while acknowledging that “you might think it’s a bit naïve” considering the military’s response so far to the Deschamps review.
“Six years after the Deschamps report, I think there’s better hope this time that something will come of this…If I was profoundly skeptical and cynical, I wouldn’t be doing this. I really have to believe that there is a window of opportunity.”
Arbour’s external review, announced Thursday by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, was immediately blasted by critics as a deflection tactic by a government and military that have failed to fully implement Deschamps’s recommendations.
The Conservatives said it was meant to take attention away from ongoing questions about the government’s handling of an allegation against ex-chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance in 2018.
Deschamps — who concluded in 2015 that sexual misconduct is “endemic” in the military — told the Star she welcomed Arbour’s appointment, noting her broader mandate and that her review “would not be a mere repetition of what I did.”
A former justice on the country’s top court, UN high commissioner for human rights, and chief prosecutor at the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Arbour brings a deep knowledge of human rights issues to her new task.
“Maybe the most important part of (Deschamps’s) work was the diagnosis,” Arbour said. “It was really earth shattering, the assessment of the prevalence of this predatory, sexualized culture.”
Arbour said she understands the frustration of survivors of military sexual violence, both those who have come forward, as well as those who never have due to lack of trust in the system.
“I understand their frustration and possibly their skepticism, about just another review by another justice. I get that,” she said. “I really want to say: Just bear with me. I think moving forward, this might be the right time for the right thing to get done.”
Unlike Deschamps’s mandate, Arbour has been instructed to come up with recommendations on what external oversight of the armed forces should look like. She will also be studying the military justice system’s “systemic performance” in dealing with sexual misconduct allegations, as well as recruitment and promotion to senior leadership. (Toronto Star)
Should Hamilton’s ward boundaries be redrawn to reflect areas of growth, perhaps even adding a 16th ward?
The question is, should they remain or should they go?
Not just in Britain — although the Brexit debate has been kind of important, too.
Should Hamilton’s 15 ward boundaries remain the same or change?
That has been the topic at a series of public meetings on the issue — the most recent this week at Waterdown’s Legion Hall.
But the tepid turnout in Waterdown — only three people showed — and also last week at Tim Hortons Field, suggests residents may not be all that engaged.
In fairness, “Ward Boundary Review” is a subject hardly guaranteed to reel in even the most civic minded on a long, warm summer night.
And Mayor Fred Eisenberger predicted neither councillors nor constituents would have much enthusiasm to tackle the issue.
But last spring council voted to hire consultants to undertake a boundary review — at cost of $270,000 — to explore if changes would better reflect shifting population patterns.
For example, Ward 7 on the central Mountain has 62,000 residents while rural Ward 14 in Flamborough has about 17,000.
Among the alternatives suggested by the consultants: rearrange wards to follow federal riding boundaries; reshape wards to better reflect population; add a 16th ward.
One option (shown on the map) shows a proposed Ward 16 on the Mountain, and also redrawing Ward 15 so it would geographically be smaller than it is now — essentially Waterdown on its own, defined by Milburough Line to the east, Concession 7 to the north, Hwy 6. and Millgrove Sideroad to the west, to roughly the Niagara Escarpment along the southern border.
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge, whose ward is about 70 per cent rural, says consultants are paying too little attention to criteria such as culture, heritage, and the natural environment, and focusing too heavily on population.
She added that the trio of residents who showed at the Waterdown meeting was pressed by consultants to pick a favourite option, but found the exercise too complex to choose.
Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. wrote in their report that electoral boundaries should be reviewed every 10-15 years, and Hamilton’s have been the same since amalgamation in 2001.(Source: Hamilton Spectator)
As the 2008 Federal Election campaign progresses, editorial cartoons will be posted here. Click on the thumbnails below for larger images.
Susan Riley points out that Harper was still standing considering the evening’s “Whack a Tory” performance by the opposition leaders. The most impressive things she thought of Harper’s night was his stance on the economy and the fact that he didn’t wig out and tear a strip off of any of his opponents. She thought Dion resembled a “Parish Priest” but exceeded the low expectations with his old fashioned manner of delivery. Of all all the leaders, she thought Jack Layton was the least impressive and rather predictable. Elizabeth May was fearless and articulate, “a brilliant and gutsy competitor who will drive grumpy old men crazy”.
Don Martin wrote that for Stephane Dion this debate was crucial in order to stop the downward slide he’s been suffering in the polls, something he was unable to do. Martin pointed that what worked well for Harper against his rival was his immediate denounciation of Dion’s sudden announcement of a 30 day economic consultation project in the middle of the french language debate as knee-jerky and panicked. Jack Layton was disappointing for someone who should have gone after Stephane Dion in an election where New Democrats have a chance to pick up votes from disenchanted left of centre Liberals. Elizabeth May, while brilliant at times during the debate, seemed to become more and more, as the time dragged on, as someone for whom you’d park a protest vote for anyone disgusted by all of the above.
Thomas Walkom made a comparison with the U.S. VP debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden which started at the exact time the Canadian Leaders Debate started up. In the American one, Walkom states, “viewers tuned in not because they wanted to know what the candidates for America’s number two job thought about the great issues, but to see which one would say something stupid.” The pile on by the Opposition over Harper may have positive or negative implications. The efforts by Harper to push back on his opponents during the debate, may or may not backfire. Of all the columns written on the debate, Tom Walkom’s was the lamest.
The Toronto Sun was particularly critical of Harper, for a paper that does a lot of brown nosing for the Conservative Party. While acknowledging the predictable pile on by the other four leaders, a post debate editorial stated that Harper did himself no favour by saying that “unlike Americans, Canadians aren’t worried about losing their jobs or homes, only the falling value of their stock portfolio”. The Sun gave a lot of credit to Jack Layton scolding Harper for revealing “a cold and callous side” and jeeringly asking whether he was getting his advice from Bay St. CEOs, George Bush and former Australian PM John Howard. They gave praise to Elizabeth May, but were less impressed by Dion’s performance. Like all the above evaluations, Gilles Duceppe was an insignificant factor.
Added October 10, 2008 — Endorsements…
Love ’em or hate ’em, just before voters go to the polls many Canadian mainstream newspapers make it known on the editorial pages who they think readers should throw their support to. At least this seems to be the case for most west of the St. Lawrence. I couldn’t find any Atlantic Canadian newspapers who chose to endorse. Here’s a tally of who endorsed who: The Globe & Mail: Conservative, The National Post: Conservative, The Vancouver Sun, Conservative, The Windsor Star: Conservative, The Kitchener-Waterloo Record: Conservative, Ottawa Citizen: Conservative, Montreal Gazette: Conservative, Calgary Herald: Conservative, Edmonton Journal, Conservative, Toronto Star: Liberal (surprise, surprise), The Economist: Conservative. For the record, The Victoria Times-Colonist did not endorse, and for what it’s worth, Le Devoir endorsed the Bloc Quebecois.
I was privileged to be part of the decision making process at the Hamilton Spectator of endorsing a political party leading up to next week’s federal election. (Exactly one year and a day since the last endorsement the Spectator was made.)
Our choice was nobody.
While that appears to be a lame and wishy-washy decision, it truly reflected the deadlock we encountered in debates which occurred in a couple hour long sessions over 2 days. We came close to endorsing the Liberals, and thankfully, we did not. Montreal’s newspaper, La Presse, came to the same conclusion as the Spec’s, that they couldn’t endorse anyone.
I don’t think it would come to anyone’s surprise that my 2 cents worth of the decision making process found me advocating for the Conservatives, believing they would do a better job at handling the economy in these difficult times. While this government has been dismissive in its attitude towards Ontario as it copes with a disintegration of the manufacturing sector, it has significantly boosted subsidies and transfer payments to help the slumping economy. I think there’s quite a few praise worthy qualities of the Conservative government that have gone unmentioned in a campaign which has put so much emphasis on gaffes, sweater vests, and which leader is more empathetic than the other.
Many outside the province of Quebec need to be reminded, although it was explosive at the time, when Harper announced that Quebec would be declared a “nation within a nation“. I think it turned out to be a smart political maneuver by Harper, and it essentially sent the whole sovereignty movement into a comatose state. Just look at how the Bloc and Parti Quebecois have been flailing about trying to figure out what they represent with no hope of a referendum on Quebec independence anytime over the horizon.
Another masterful stroke of political brilliance by Harper was bringing the Liberals on side to support an extension of Canada’s combat role in Afghanistan to 2011. By bringing John Manley into the issue an ideological battle was imposed on the Liberal Party between Chretien-era fence sitters and those more in line with Conservatives who felt we were obligated to take on a more active role in battling the Taliban, liberating women, and allowing children to freely go to school.
We don’t give enough praise to the Canadian men and women who are now fighting for a better life for millions of Afghanis. While it has been a huge expense for taxpayers, I do not think the nearly 100 Canadian soldiers who have sacrificed their lives while in service in Afghanistan have died in vain. The mission has made us relevant on the international stage and we have adequately stepped up to the plate to face our treaty obligations while other nations have proved themselves to be what we used to be, laggards. Without the Conservative’s commitment to boosting the military, which has been so desperate for funding for decades, our role in Afghanistan would not possibly be where it is today.
On a couple other foreign fronts I think the Conservatives have done very well to restore good relations with the United States. Many will incorrectly declare, and this includes everyone in the opposition, that by being friendly with the U.S. since the Conservatives took office in 2006, it translates to us all being Bush lovers. Nonsense. I’m just glad the snubs and “Bush is an idiot” days of the Liberal Party remain as history. The U.S. is our number one ally, and I’m happy we have a government that acknowleges that.
Lastly, on human rights in China, I prefer to be on the side of angels when a Prime Minister finally takes a stance on criticizing a nation with an abysmal record of treating its own people. This contrasts with previous Prime Ministers who glossed over human rights for the sake of establishing trade deals enabling more and more sweatshop products to flood our markets.
There. I’ve mentioned just a few of the good things I’ve seen in this government. Of course, there are plenty of not so good things this government has done as well, that much of the opposition and media is reminding us of — things that have many Canadians finding the need to express an anything but Conservative attitude. The one thing that gives me the need to express an anything but Liberal warning is their Green Shift Plan. My own newspaper’s reservations best sum up how I feel about it, The main plank of Dion’s leadership and his party’s platform — the Green Shift plan to move to a carbon-tax-based economy — has been an admirable effort to raise the environment to the top of the national agenda. But this plan has evolved even during the campaign and is not widely understood. What would its impact be on the West, particularly Alberta, and what would the fallout be on the resource sector — oil and gas — that is a primary engine of the national economy? What would its impact be on steel manufacturers and what would that mean to Hamilton? Many questions hang over it, but it would be the cornerstone policy of a Liberal government.
And I should add, how the heck do you implement such a policy as the economy is tanking? The Liberal’s flimsy 30 day, five point, commission, task force, tribunal, what-ever-you-wanna-call-it-to-sound-really- important economic plan to talk to a bunch of economists ain’t much of a plan. And there you have it, perhaps the only written election endorsement you’ll ever see coming from an editorial cartoonist during this election. Go Harper.
Update ( October 21): How the U.S. newspapers are overwhelmingly endorsing Barack Obama.