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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Friday, September 29, 2006
Drawing on the Liberal Leadership

Today's cartoon, along with this week's takes on the Joe Volpe issue ends a gap of several months when I did nothing related to the Liberal leadership race. Compared to other events in the news the race really never registered anything that needed to be commented on. Before the race there was speculation that big time players would enter the race like John Manley, Frank McKenna, and even Sheila Copps. But then they decided not to run so up to now the race has been very dull, with the more interesting news centering on who's the latest candidate to drop out. While we're hearing from the polls and pundits on who is best qualified for the job, here's how I see who would fit the job from a cartoonist's point of view:

Scott Brison - Don't know much about him. Never drawn him. He's got potential for cartoonists. I see him as a weasley turncoat who preceeded Belinda Stronach by being lured to the Liberals during the stormy sponsorship scandal fallout days with a cabinet job. There's no chance he's going to win, but surely he's weasling himself into a possible cabinet job.

Stéphane Dion - They say Ken Dryden bores an audience to sleep when he stands up and makes a speech. What about Dion? Man, is he ever tiresome... and humourless. As annoying as Jean Chretien was with his choppy English at least he could be funny. Dion is just painful to listen to. I'm all for the Liberals alternating between anglophone and francophone leaders... and the party is due for a french speaking leader if tradition dictates... but pick one who can speak both languages elegantly, like Trudeau, or Ste. Laurent (I suppose).

Ken Dryden - The hockey great who's the resident Liberal expert on childcare and other social things. His hockey background alone has been nice fodder to combine in editorial cartoons. That distinction seems to have run its course and now there's not much left remarkable in the guy. He's not a tremendously cartoonable guy.

Martha Hall Findlay - One point against her is her long name. Too many words to fit on lapels and briefcases as a cartoon means to identify people who aren't recognizable. Since I knew right from he outset that she doesn't have a chance of winning I've never really bothered to find out much about her. I still don't know who she is, in the same way I don't know who the MP Maurizio Bevilacqua was before he dropped form the race. She's an attractive woman, which makes her no good to caricature.

Michael Ignatieff - Known best as the egg head Harvard professorial - second coming of Pierre Elliot Trudeau - whose lived in the United States for the last 30 years candidate. He seems pretty right wing on a lot of matters which suggests to me he's running for leader of the wrong party. 'Iggy' is the nickname bestowed on him by other large brained intelligensia friends. Now the name has found its way into editorial cartoons in the same manner 'Dubya' identifies George W. Bush. For this reason alone I dread Ignatieff becoming Liberal leader. I've only recently learned how to properly pronounce 'Ignatieff' after calling him 'Igni-eff" for months. He does have a pretty cartoonable look about him, and his large brain can be the source of great satire.

Gerard Kennedy - When he jumped into the race he left Ontario provincial politics as, arguably, Dalton McGuinty's most competant cabinet minister (Education). His intelligence doesn't seem to be an asset in the same way Bob Rae's horrible record of governing should be a hinderance. If I were a left of centre Liberal delegate I'd be voting for this guy, despite how choppy his French is, and no matter how lacking in energy his speeches have been lately. It's exactly for reason that he carries so little baggage that I'd hate to see him win. Drawing him day in and day out would be a huge challenge.

Bob Rae - The former Ontario premier would be my first choice to win the Liberal leadership for cartooning reasons. It would be very difficult for him to lead without being reminded every day of his disasterous record as a head of government. He seemed to be doing a fine job patching up his personal legacy by mediating, heading public inquiries, and issuing reports since he was Premier, obviously putting his Rhodes Scholarship marinated brain to good non-political use. So now it seems he wants to redeem his political legacy, a legacy that not even the most anti Harris/Eves Ontarians will easily forget.

Joe Volpe - The former Martin cabinet minister has signed up more delegates than any other candidate in the race, which experts say will make him a big power broker on convention day. Still, with all the bumbling, coincidently related to signing up new members, Volpe carries enough potential delegate weight which may guarantee him a cabinet post in a future Liberal government so long as it's not Michael Ignatieff leading it. I see him as the most old fashioned Liberal Party candidate, where you know little about what the guy stands for despite his ability to gladhand himself into the party's power inner sanctum. This, along with his fuzzy hair, droopy eyes and big honker of a nose makes him ideally cartoonable. Thankfully, he'll never be Prime Minister.

Posted at 12:04 pm by Graeme_MacKay


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