A popular Halifax cartoonist isn’t backing down after his depiction of the SNC-Lavalin controversy faced social media pushback.
Michael de Adder drew the cartoon of former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on opposite sides of a boxing ring. Trudeau is being advised to “keep beating her up, solicitor-client privilege has tied her hands.”
But what has people most upset is the depiction of Wilson-Raybould tied and gagged.
This is utterly offensive. Think what you want about the SNC Lavalin scandal the image of beating up women is never funny and never acceptable. #TimesUp— Munro Strategy 🇨🇦 (@MunroStrategy) February 15, 2019
Pure class. Seriously, beating a woman is supposed to be funny?— J (@maltese_falcon1) February 15, 2019
Former Dartmouth-North MLA Joanne Bernard also commented on the cartoon, calling it “in extremely poor taste and offensive.” She’s calling for de Adder to take it down.
“I’m a fan of Michael de Adder, but violence against women should be off-limits. Simple as that,” said Bernard.
“Add in the context of Jody … being an Indigenous woman, there’s a sensitivity around missing and murdered Indigenous women in this country that is completely unacceptable to make jest of in any way, shape or form.”
Wilson-Raybould resigned from her position as minister of veterans affairs following a Globe and Mail article that alleged Trudeau’s aides leaned on her to help engineering firm SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.
Since the fallout, de Adder has made a few political cartoons that he feels accurately resembles the tension between Trudeau and his former cabinet minister.
de Adder says he’s surprised by the amount of attention his latest cartoon has received, as he feels it’s more of a dig at the Liberal government.
“It couldn’t be more pro-Jody Wilson-Raybould,” de Adder said.
“These are politicians. They’re not like sunflowers. They went into office, they knew what they were in for.”
But Bernard says this time, de Adder crossed the line.
“I don’t know if when he did that cartoon, whether or not he thought of the Indigenous piece of that, but it’s glaring. It’s the first thing I saw,” she said. “I just thought, ‘This is bad on so many levels.’”
WATCH: Cartoon honouring city of Toronto, Humboldt Broncos resonating on social media
Similar cartoon faces backlash
Hamilton, Ont. cartoonist Graeme MacKay released a nearly identical cartoon of Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould inside a boxing ring together, with the former justice minister tied and gagged while the prime minister holds his arms up in victory. MacKay’s cartoon shows Wilson-Raybould on the ground with a ball and chain around her feet reading “solicitor-client privilege.”
MacKay’s cartoon was also ridiculed, with social media users saying violence against women should be vetoed when it comes to political satire.
Bernard says this type of political satire sheds light on a different type of issue.
“He could have got his point across in various other ways. But then you add the contextual piece of Indigenous women in this country who overwhelmingly represent missing and murdered females in the country, it really added insult to injury and I think he’s way off base on this,” says Bernard.
But de Adder says he thought about all the different angles and didn’t think the reaction would be this widespread.
“Columnists from across the land have said (Wilson-Raybould) has been gagged and her hands are tied not to answer these questions. Drawing it is another matter. I’ve illustrated what has already been said by just about everybody from Vancouver to Saint John’s,” he said.
de Adder says he has no plans to take the cartoon down.