September 23rd 1968  (Age 53)

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Random Thots is brought to you by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist at the Hamilton Spectator, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Website:

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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Of Masks and Medals

Letter to the Editor:

Hope i never become famous so this cartoonist never has to do my caricature.

Dougeroo, Jan 29 2013, Comment left at

* * * * * * *

With regard to the Jan. 29 editorial cartoon, how disrespectful that The Spectator has chosen to honour our new premier with a caricature that perpetuates the stereotype that all lesbians dress like men. Not only is this cartoon representative of outdated, homophobic thinking, it is quite inaccurate in its portrayal of Kathleen Wynne. She has yet to be seen wearing a tie. To the contrary, she wears stylish, professional business attire that is commonly worn by most women. Your paper and cartoonist need to show a lot more respect and consideration for the people you portray and the community that is your audience.

L. Campbell, Dundas

* * * * * * *

Meet the "NEW" premier kinda says it all- more of the same- nothing NEW about WYNNE. And yes, it appears to be a mask- you can see the back of Dalton's head and the straps of the mask- nothing to do with being a gay woman dressing like a man- GET OVER IT!!

cornfedhutch, Jan 31 2013, Comment left at

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I believe if you look closely, you will seee that it is NOT WYnne portrayed in that cartoon, but rather a man (Dalton I presume) wearing a Wynne mask. With the words in the caption and the cartoon, it leads me to believe that it will be more of the same. Nothing to do with lesbianism, or homophobia! OPEN YOUR EYES!!

egghead2614, Jan 31 2013, Comment left at

* * * * * * *

you completely missed it. it was about her policies being the same as lying dalton, nothing to do with clothes. theres no shame in standing up for your orientation, but please, put your thinking cap on 1st.

terminator, Jan 31 2013, Comment left at

* * * * * * *

Wow, talk about seeing things differently. A letter writer saw lesbian bashing in the Jan. 29 editorial cartoon. I saw Kathleen Wynne's face on Dalton McGuinty's body. To me this meant new face but nothing has changed.

If you want to make a statement, make sure it has meaning. Why do some people always have to read between the lines? Sometimes what you see is what you see.

Carolyn Beckett, Hamilton

* * * * * * *

To the letter writer who complained about the Jan. 29 cartoon, get with it lady. Take time and study the cartoon. That is Dalton McGuinty behind the mask of the Honourable Premier Kathleen Wynne. Enough said.

Glenn Simpson, Hamilton

* * * * * * *

Wynne disrespected in cartoon (Letters, Jan. 31)

As I usually do, I read my Hamilton Spectator and I came across the letter relating to the editorial cartoon of Jan. 29. Naturally I went to my back issue of The Spec to see what I had missed and what had upset the letter writer so much.

I have to tell you that I didn't miss a thing. But, I think the letter writer did. The cartoon had nothing to do with Kathleen Wynne, her sexuality or her wearing of a tie or any homophobic thinking.

If the letter writer had looked closely she might have noticed that the cartoon was actually of Dalton McGuinty wearing a Wynne mask indicating that it will be " oh my God, let's hope not " a continuation of McGuinty's corrupt, inept government. That Wynne's statement of carrying on McGuinty's legacy is a warning to all of us to watch her lips. If they're moving, look out; you know what that means.

As far as respect goes, if you're an elected official, you seem to be fair game for cartoons. It goes with the territory. I think the letter writer was trying to read something into the cartoon that wasn't there. Please keep up the good work. I love the cartoons. Ted Weir, Beamsville

* * * * * * *

I'd wondered as well, if The Spec's Jan. 29 cartoon was trying to take a shot at Kathleen Wynne being a lesbian, but it didn't take long to realize it wasn't. When one looks closer at the way 'Wynne' is drawn, they can see that it is in fact the cartoon of Dalton McGuinty, wearing a mask of Wynne's face. In other words, the joke The Spec was trying to make is that Wynne is basically McGuinty with a new face.

Stephen Bryce, Stoney Creek

Letter to the Editor:


Normally I simply ignore your puerile offerings but today I'll tell you what I think. Not only are you a leftist hack, but you have no talent. You are never funny nor clever in your attempt at satire. Your drawings are pathetically inept and devoid of artistic skill; a waste of editorial space. You should thank your lucky stars that people like Gary McHale are out there putting everything on the line to preserve democracy and protect your cowardly backside.

Most sincerely,

David Strutt, Cartoonist

* * * * * * *

I recognize that cartoonist Graeme Mackay's job appears to be to sit safely in his office/home and be cynical of the doers in society. Hey, it is the very freedoms that we have worked so hard for in the past seven years that ensures Mackay can continue making a living. As SunTV has recently found out, the policing policies in Caledonia can quickly be used in Toronto to target reporters who are peacefully doing their jobs instead of dealing with angry protesters.

Imagine a day when Mackay's cartoons caused certain groups to be upset and as a result the police would target Mackay in order to keep the peace throughout the area. Would Mackay be so quick to belittle the hard work of those who fight to ensure all Canadians have the same rights and freedoms?

If fact, MacKay's cartoon is just another reason why so few have the courage to step forward and take a stand to ensure equality within our country. Often throughout history, those who enjoy the benefits of freedom rarely understand the cost nor appreciate those who take up the struggle. We continue to fight for Mackay's right to publish cartoons that belittle our efforts " whether or not he finds the cause worthy.

Gary McHale, Executive Director of CANACE, Binbrook

* * * * * * *

I am a fan of editorial cartooning but I had to wince when I saw your Jan. 31 cartoon depicting Queen's Jubilee medals being tossed willy-nilly to clowns and comic animals. Most of your readers will see this as a reference to the news that Caledonia activist Gary McHale has been awarded the medal. The list of puerile insults and indignities this magnificent man has stoically endured over many years beggars belief. If it was your cartoonist's intention to add to this list he has succeeded.

Stuart Laughton, Burlington

* * * * * * *

I have always admired political cartoons for the way they can so cleverly express an opinion. But that is all they are - an opinion and as such are often wrong. Your cartoon in the Hamilton Spectator of January 31 about the Queen's Jubilee Medal being awarded to Gary McHale may have cleverly expressed your opinion but I assure you, you could not have been more mistaken.

From my perspective, up until a year and a half ago, Gary McHale was just some poor guy who kept getting arrested in Caledonia while protesting something that was none of his business. I had no reason to believe otherwise because that is what The Spectator stories said. Besides, I have always trusted the police to do what is right and I generally sympathized with the natives who only wanted to settle grievances even though I abhorred their violent actions at the Douglas Creek Estates. In any case my interests lay elsewhere, in stories related to the Middle East and to radical Islam and I had no time to take more of an interest in Caledonia

But then I learned that Islamist groups were very much part of what was going on in Caledonia. They were agitators who took part in the native protests and even flew Palestinian flags over the violently seized DCE. The unionists, the Marxists and the anarchists were there too, stirring up the already volatile group of natives who believed that their grievances gave them the right to behave criminally. Yet the police never arrested any of the non-native agitators, only Gary McHale. My interest in Caledonia changed.

For the past year and a half Mr. Mackay, I have gotten to know Gary McHale and many of the others who support him. I have attended several of his rallies at the DCE and to this day I shake my head in disbelief at what I have witnessed. This was not in the former Soviet Union. Nor was it in some despotic Middle Eastern country. This was in Canada.

Even if I was of the opinion that natives who broke the law should not be arrested (which I am not), why were the Islamists, anarchists and Marxists who reject our democratic values and who were behaving provocatively not arrested for breach of the peace? On the contrary, at each rally only Gary McHale and his supporters were summarily handcuffed, thrown into police wagons like dangerous criminals and subjected to humiliating periods in custody.

Gary McHale has never once expressed any opposition to native claims and while he opposes the violence that occurred at DCE, he has never disparaged natives, their culture or their rights. Yet I have witnessed anarchists and Marxists yelling vulgar insults at him and calling him a racist when nothing could be further from the truth. I assure you, if Gary McHale had expressed racist sentiments, I would not be writing this letter.

Do you understand, Mr. Mackay, exactly what has happened in Caledonia? Have you been to even a single demonstration to witness the biased and discriminatory actions of the police? Do you even remotely appreciate that what Gary McHale is protesting is the absence of the rule of law? Does it bother you, even a little, that anti-democracy groups have succeeded in undermining our political and legal institutions and have thus managed to chip away at our freedoms?

Gary McHale does. That is what he has been fighting. That is why he deserves a medal.

It is a shame that because of your bias against Mr. McHale, you managed in one brief, self-righteous moment to mock every other recipient of the Queen's Jubilee Medal, past and present. You got it wrong, Mr. Mackay, because the real circus is in Caledonia where anarchists wear animal costumes and t-shirts emblazoned with expressions like "Fuck law and order"; where natives and their supporters are allowed to stand around holding weapons while Gary McHale is handcuffed and arrested for walking on a public road; where members of unions are permitted to behave disrespectfully and disruptively in courtrooms and receive no reprimand; where the police have wasted millions in taxpayer dollars while not doing what they have sworn to do - uphold the law; where the politicians have allowed this travesty to occur and where the liberal media helps pave the way for others like it.

Now that you know, perhaps you can draw a really, really clever cartoon.

S. Scheffer, Burlington

* * * * * * *

My Response to the above letter...

Hi, Steven

I appreciate your feedback.

Timing aside, what leads you to think Gary McHale is the subject of the cartoon? Did you actually see Mr. McHale depicted in the cartoon? None of the characters bear any resemblance. Do you think Gary McHale is the only person who has stirred up any controversy following nomination to a Queen's Jubilee Medal?

There is nothing in that cartoon to indicate my position on the situation in Caledonia. To understand my evolving observation on the situation there for the past 6+ years is a simple google search away if you really care to find the answer to some of the questions you ask. I could ask you, the same question as to whether you understand exactly what has happened in Caledonia, but I won't, because in my opinion there is no right answer.

I think you know what I'm stating in the cartoon, but are instead using it as a convenient sounding board to advance an argument that everyone realizes is present and will only lead to more bloodied noses, blocked roads, and tax dollars spent on increased policing.

So for the record, the cartoon you're writing about is a simple commentary on the farce that has beset a noble idea to recognize Canadians who have made significant contributions to this country. The majority are well deserved people who've earned their medals quietly and respectfully, while others have simply received them for having a title, or holding a certain office, or because they're a friend of someone charged with giving out those awards. The final category that has made a farce of the medal are individuals who, while possessing tremendous merit in the eyes of their supporters, are so widely divisive it makes the award very questionable. These factors, not my cartoon, have brought mockery to this medal.


Graeme MacKay Editorial Cartoonist The Hamilton Spectator Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Posted at 04:19 pm by Graeme_MacKay

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