Canadian cartoonists get backlash and support for violent Jody Wilson-Raybould ‘satire’

Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Veterans Affairs of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould.(Photo: Jody Wilson-Raybould)

The resignation of the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada was the subject of several violently-themed editorial cartoons

Several Canadian editorial cartoonists came under heavy criticism last week for published works depicting violence against Indigenous politician Jody Wilson-Raybould, a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples. Wilson-Raybould is the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Veterans Affairs of Canada in the cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

The cartoons weighed in on Wilson-Raybould’s resignation in the wake of her cabinet demotion and the controversy that is the #SNCLavalinAffair in which Trudeau allegedly pressured her to resolve the corruption and fraud case against Montreal-based company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. during her tenure as Attorney General.

See Related: Trudeau’s demotion of Aboriginal Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould gets heat

See Related: Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Attorney General, resigns from Trudeau cabinet

The backlash was intensified due to the images being released on February 14, the day for annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s events across Canada since 1992. The emphasis of red in the images, the official color of #MMIW campaigns, was perceived as being more than just a coincidence to many. There was a fair bit of support for the cartoons as well, including from Indigenous peoples.

Jokes between the cartoonists and dismissive responses on social media to concerns about the depiction of violence against an Indigenous woman further fanned the flames.

Michael de Adder, past president of The Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists and Board member of the Cartoonists Rights Network, is lauded as the most read cartoonist in Canada.

In a Facebook post labeled by de Adder as "Cartoon for February 15 #RuleOfLaw #LavScam #cdnpoli #JodyWilsonRaybould #justintrudeau #cdnpoli" Trudeau is seen in boxing gloves in a fight against Wilson-Raybould, who is tied to a chair with her mouth taped shut.

de Adder screenshot-facebook.com
Michael de Adder's Facebook post February 14 of his cartoon. Trudeau is seen in boxing gloves in a fight against Wilson-Raybould, who is tied to a chair with her mouth taped shut.
de Adder - comments 01 - .facebook.com
Comments to Michael de Adder's February 14 Facebook post. One commenter notes that this was his second cartoon "depicting such violence towards women."
de Adder - Comments 02 - facebook.com
Comments to Michael de Adder's February 14 Facebook post for and against his depicting of Jody Wilson-Raybould.
de Adder - comments 03 - .facebook.com
Comments to Michael de Adder's February 14 Facebook post objecting to the violence against a woman as depicted in the cartoon.
de Adder - quoted in Twitter reaction to tweet
A Twitter reaction to Michael de Adder's work, seeing it as a mockery of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

Graeme MacKay, an Editorial Cartoonist for The Hamilton Spectator, whose work is syndicated across Canada and occasionally in the United States, had a similar cartoon in a boxing ring. Wilson-Raybould is depicted on the floor with her mouth taped shut and hands and feet tied. His cartoon was accompanied by the comment: “Editorial Cartoon for Feb. 15. Wilson-Raybould says she can't publicly discuss SNC-Lavalin allegations. Wilson-Raybould should have resigned long ago. High-stakes war of words between Trudeau, Wilson-Raybould on tap.”

MacKay - Twitter screenshot
The Hamilton Spectator's editorial cartoonist Graeme MacKay shared a similar image to Michael de Adder's on Twitter. Wilson-Raybould is depicted in boxing ring, but on the floor with her mouth taped shut and hands and feet tied.
de Adder jokes to MacKay about anticipated criticism. MacKay dismisses a woman critical of both men and levity about a serious situation.
de Adder joked to MacKay on Twitter, seemingly about anticipated criticism. MacKay dismisses a woman critical of both men and levity about a serious concern.

 Andy Donato, an Editorial Cartoonist and former Art Director of the Toronto Sun, received a lot of criticism for Wilson-Raybould wearing a red gag in his cartoon.

Donato - torontosun.com - screenshot
Andy Donato's cartoon of Wilson-Raybould being silenced by Trudeau with a red gag.
Donato - Facebook critiism from Rachel A. Snow, Eyahey Nakoda
Rachel A. Snow, Eyahey Nakoda, was one of many Indigenous people on Facebook critical of Andy Donato's cartoon.
Donato - Facebook responses to Rachel A. Snow's  criticism
Donato - another response  to Rachel A. Snow's  criticism on Facebook.
Responses on Facebook to Rachel A. Snow's criticism of Donato's cartoon were varied.
Many people on Twitter noted the similarity between all three images
Many people on Twitter noted the similarities between all three images

Michael de Adder had an apparent change of heart on Twitter on February 16 when he responded to criticism: “My cartoon did not intend to upset people. It was not intended to offend women, make light of domestic violence or trivialize indigenous issues. I am human, I make mistakes, I will strive to do better. I will no[t] depict women in violent situations going forward,” he tweeted.

Responses on Twitter about the apology also criticized Adder and have continued.

“I get a lot of likes and shares. So this is not about me. I'm fortunate. But if you want to support editorial cartoonists locally. Like and share their work, even if you only kind of like it. We are under assault. Go find a cartoon you like and share it today.[Not mine, I'm okay],” de Adder tweeted yesterday.

He said editorial cartoonists are “under assault” from newspapers in response to an accusation that he had “caved to the mob.”

Additionally, de Adder’s latest response on the controversy surrounding his cartoon also came via Twitter last night: “I'm not a victim of political correctness. Everybody is treating me like a victim. It's simple - I want my kids to grow up to think I was "woke." ‘I'm not a victim. I'm a dad.’”

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Comments (2)
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War Eagle
War Eagle

Although both the Canadian and US government systems love to tout Native people filling government positions, these cartoons truthfully depict the Non-native systemic attitude when these people actually dared to fulfill their responsibility.