Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday April 10, 2021
Prince Philip loved Canada, and knew this country in good times and bad
Prince Philip, in personal encounters, had a special ability to put you immediately at ease at the same time as he kept you on edge. It was his style: he loved to demystify the monarchy so you didn’t sound like a blithering idiot when you were addressed by a member of the family. But at the same time, he also brought to conversation a degree of forthright questioning that sometimes could turn you into … well, a blithering idiot.
He loved Canada and probably visited this country more than any other on the planet, both officially with the Queen he served so dutifully and lovingly all those years, and privately on many more occasions, especially in connection with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards or the World Wildlife Fund.
In a life spread throughout most of the 20th century and well into the 21st, he met thousands of people and graced hundreds of institutions. When he made one of several visits to Massey College in the University of Toronto during the Golden Jubilee Year (2002) to become the college’s first Honorary Senior Fellow he was asked — inevitably — to unveil a plaque honouring the visit. The college flag was draped somewhat ornately over the plaque and he went up to it with a certain degree of familiarity:
“You about to see the handiwork of a master unveiler of plaques,“ he said with a wry smile. Then he took one corner of the flag and with a few twists of the wrist made it twirl in the air which made everyone laugh.
He wrote later that he had “a soft spot” for Massey College. He had laid its cornerstone in a previous visit in 1962 and he was a particular friend of the college’s founder, Vincent Massey, the first Canadian-born governor general. It was part of a much larger soft spot for Canada as a whole.
And he knew the country in good times and bad. Famously, during the troubled visit of 1964 during the height of the Quiet Revolution Quebeckers backs were turned on him and the Queen as their official car headed for the provincial legislature. Later at a press reception, he pointed out that if Canada was tired of being a monarchy perhaps we could try to end it with a bit of civility. “We don’t come here for our health,” he pointed out. “We can think of other ways of spending our time.”
Although a deeply intelligent and inherently kind man with an extraordinary sense of duty, it was his testiness that was a big part of his appeal, and also what got him into trouble. Depending on your views of the monarchy, his off-the-cuff quips were either a sign of the blatant ridiculousness of the Crown or proof of its enduring power. It was usually a matter of perspective.
He certainly understood the often murky deal between the Crown and the media that both sides played. On the one hand, there was deep resentment within the Royal Family and those officials who served them at the brutal way the media could often push into their lives during troubled periods. At the same time, the media has for some time now been the leading handmaiden in securing the Crown’s hold over people’s imagination, to the equal irritation for their own reasons of republicans and royalists alike.
He was a man marked for life by his earliest experience of being poor but royal, impoverished but often in the presence of vast wealth, alone in the world but determined to survive and make his mark. And it was all done with a sense of duty that has few parallels in our own time. (National Post)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday March 9, 2021
Prince Harry clarifies that it was not Queen Elizabeth II or Prince Philip who commented on Archie’s skin color
During Sunday night’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey on CBS, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex revealed that there were discussions about “how dark” their baby’s skin color would be. On Monday morning, Oprah told “CBS This Morning” that neither Queen Elizabeth II nor Prince Phillip made the comments.
After describing the conversations about how Archie would not be given the title of prince and how he wouldn’t have security, Meghan said there were discussions while she was pregnant about “how dark” Archie’s skin color would be.
“In those months when I was pregnant, all around the same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of, he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” Meghan said.
“What?” Oprah asked. “Who is having that conversation with you? What?”
Meghan said “so, um,” and Oprah said, “Hold up, there is a conversation?” Meghan replied, “There were several conversations.”
“Potentially, and what that would mean and what that would look like,” Meghan said, adding that the conversations were with Harry.
She wouldn’t reveal who it was who had the conversation with Harry, saying it “would be very damaging to them.”
“It was really hard to see those as compartmentalized conversations,” she added.
On Monday morning, Oprah told “CBS This Morning” that neither the queen nor her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, was involved in that conversation.
“[Harry] did not share the identity with me, but he wanted to make sure that I knew, and if I had the opportunity to share it, that it was not his grandmother or his grandfather that were part of those conversations,” Oprah told Gayle King. “I tried to get that answer on camera and off.”
Harry said he is “never going to share” more about the conversation about Archie’s skin tone, only saying it was “right at the beginning.”
The couple is now expecting their second child, a girl, due this summer. (CBS)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday July 11, 2020
PM’s mother Margaret and brother Alexandre were both paid to speak at WE Charity events
In a response to an inquiry from CBC News, WE Charity has provided details of the speaking fees paid to both individuals for their participation at events between 2016 and 2020.
Both Margaret and Alexandre are registered with the Speakers’ Spotlight Bureau, which arranges appearances for clients in exchange for negotiated fees.
Margaret spoke at approximately 28 events and received honoraria amounting to $250,000. Alexandre spoke at eight events and received approximately $32,000.
Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have been under fire since announcing on June 25 they were awarding a $19.5 million sole-source contract to WE Charity to administer the Canada Student Service Grant, a $912 million program offering grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 to post-secondary students in return for supervised volunteer hours.
WE Charity said last week it was pulling out of administering CSSG, citing the ongoing controversy surrounding it and the government’s decision to give the sole-source contract to WE. Prime Minister Trudeau said the federal government would take over the program.
News of the payments to two members of Trudeau’s family seems to contradict WE Charity’s earlier claim that it had “never paid an honorarium” to Margaret Trudeau.
The federal ethics commissioner is investigating the WE contract to administer the volunteer grant, after Conservative and NDP MPs contacted the office raising concerns about the relationship between the charity and the prime minister’s family.
This evening, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that — as CTV News first reported — the prime minister’s spouse, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, “received $1,500” for participating in a WE event in 2012, before Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party.
“The prime minister has never received payment for any events with WE,” the PMO said.
Trudeau admitted to reporters earlier this week that he did not recuse himself from cabinet discussions that led to the decision to award the contract to WE Charity.
CBC News contacted WE Charity to clarify the terms under which the prime minister and members of his family had appeared at past WE Day events.
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and Madame Margaret Trudeau have participated in WE Charity events and programs over the years,” a WE spokesperson told CBC News late in the evening on June 25.
“The charity has never paid an honorarium to these individuals for their involvement in these programs and events.”
The charity said Sophie Grégoire Trudeau’s involvement as an “ambassador and ally” has been “entirely on a volunteer basis and travel expenses related to this involvement were paid for by WE Charity.”
On Thursday, WE Charity emailed CBC News, saying the organization wanted to reach out “proactively” to “provide you with some updated information.”
Less than an hour after the WE statement went out Thursday, Canadaland reported on its website that it had records showing Speakers’ Spotlight had invoiced Free the Children (the not-for-profit arm of WE, now called WE Charity) directly for some of Margaret Trudeau’s speaker’s fees — and had asked WE about the discrepancy. (CBC)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday January 22, 2020
Prince Harry and Meghan’s arrival could mean ‘new grounds’ for Canada’s privacy laws
British paparazzi may soon come face-to-face with Canada’s privacy laws as the arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan has already prompted a warning to the U.K press to back off or face legal action.
But it’s unclear what legal recourse the royal couple will have to keep news photographers away from their family.
David Fraser, a Halifax-based privacy lawyer, says, when it comes to privacy claims in Canada, he hasn’t found any related to celebrities and paparazzi.
The lawsuits here that relate to invasions of privacy, most recently, deal with large-scale business data breaches, or hidden cameras, he said.
“So this is relatively new grounds that we’re looking at, maybe because we don’t have the same sort of paparazzi culture or the same sort of celebrity culture in Canada. But so far, a claim like this has not been made or at least hasn’t gone to a published decision,” he said.
“It’s not something that’s really been tested a whole lot in Canada. We don’t have a paparazzi culture.”
Buckingham Palace announced Saturday that the prince and his wife will give up public funding and try to become financially independent. The couple is expected to spend most of their time in Canada while maintaining a home in England near Windsor Castle in an attempt to build a more peaceful life.
Video from Sky News showed Harry landing at Victoria’s airport late Monday. The prince, Meghan and their eight-month-old son Archie were reportedly staying at a mansion on the island.
Lawyers for the couple sent a letter to British new outlets, accusing photographers of “harassment,” and claiming that paparazzi have permanently camped outside their Vancouver Island residence, attempting to photograph them at home using long-range lenses.
They also allege that pictures of Meghan — on a hike with Archie and her two dogs, trailed by her security detail, on Vancouver Island on Monday — were taken by photographers hiding in the bushes.
“There are serious safety concerns about how the paparazzi are driving and the risk to life they pose,” the letter read.
When it comes to privacy issues in Canada, there are a few ways Canadians can take action, says Iain MacKinnon, a Toronto-based lawyer. (Continued: Toronto Star)