Harper, Nazi comparisons 'unfair, hateful,' newspaper reader says

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PICTOU – Some readers of the Pictou Advocate were left wondering if a political cartoon went too far, including Justice Minister Peter MacKay.

 

Some readers of the Pictou Advocate were shocked to see a swastika flag flying over the Canadian Parliament buildings with the words ‘Harper’s Economic Action Plan’ in a political cartoon published in Thursday's Pictou Advocate.

Tyler Cameron says he was shocked to see a swastika flag flying over the Canadian Parliament buildings with the words ‘Harper’s Economic Action Plan’.

“I saw it yesterday and thought there must be a joke in there somewhere. But I just don’t get it, it’s hateful.”

Central Nova MP Peter MacKay also issued a statement.

“I would like to express my strong dismay and condemnation of the editorial cartoon published in the Pictou Advocate on March 5th.”

He said he was shocked to see the cartoon.

“This image is deeply offensive, outrageous, insulting and completely inappropriate. I call on all parties involved to make an unequivocal apology,” McKay said. 

“Above all, this image is deeply disrespectful to those who gave their lives to protect our way of life and defend the world from tyranny and oppression. The comparison to one of the most evil and murderous regimes in history is unacceptable and shows a stunning ignorance and insensitivity, in particular to veterans and the Jewish community. It also shows a lack of respect for the diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness that makes up the fabric our country”

 He said as Canadians, we enjoy a level of prosperity, as well as personal and democratic freedom that are second to none.

“Given recent events around the world such as Ukraine and ongoing struggles for even basic human rights in parts of the Middle East, the blessings we enjoy each and every day are even more poignant.

“I urge the author, and those who published this unacceptable and despicable cartoon, to reflect on our history, apologize to all readers, and exercise far better judgment moving forward.”

Jon Goldberg, Executive Director of the Atlantic Jewish Council, issued a statement as well addressing the cartoon.

"The tasteless and inappropriate use of the swastika to make a political point only trivializes the horrific crimes of the Nazis. Such a cartoon is offensive to the Jewish community, to all who suffered during WWII, and to Canadian veterans who sacrificed so much to liberate Europe from Nazi rule,” he wrote. “We hope that The Advocate will apologize for its disappointing decision to print this cartoon."

A piece did appear on The Advocate site later Thursday addressing the controversy.

“If our editorial cartoon in the March 5 edition of The Advocate has offended anyone, we sincerely apologize,” it reads. “It was certainly not our intention to offend our readers.”

The Advocate said the cartoon was simply meant as a satire or exaggeration on Harper’s Economic Action Plan and its implications for some segments of the community. The article stated that those are the views of the contributor and not necessarily that of The Advocate itself.

“We regret that the cartoon was not received in the same spirit with what it was intended.”

Cartoonist Rob Denton also issued an explanation.

“The use of the swastika was simply aligning the Harper government’s policies with the Nazis. The fact is, Harper has violated virtually every element of his platform which is taking away the freedoms and rights of all Canadians, especially the disabled and elderly.”

He stated there are no religious connotations, no anti-semitism and no ethnic attacks – “just the suggestion that Canadian politics is headed to fascism.”

 

Organizations: Canadian Parliament, Atlantic Jewish Council

Geographic location: Ukraine, Middle East, Europe

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Recent comments

  • Richard & Esther Provencher
    March 10, 2014 - 23:08

    I find the so called defense of the horrific and hateful action of the Pictou Advocate just as bad as their seriously flawed satire. My father fought in WW 11 for four years, including two in the Battle of Britain and it is offensive to the honour of his contribution. Perhaps the editor and cartoonist should take into account PM Harper has done more for Nova Scotia in terms of helping in a major way the establishment of a ship-building industry and clean-up of the Sydney Tar Pond. Also sadly, it used to be a newspaper staff was to provide unbiased news and not personal and partisan opinions.

  • Spider Man (Crime Fighter)
    March 08, 2014 - 10:18

    If the shoe fits,....wear it.

  • Gus Tapo
    March 07, 2014 - 10:58

    ...tell Harper to get over it -- I'm sure Hitler heard t Harper has plans to he same criticisms -- Harper clearly has a campaign of hate against the regulations and laws that were in place to protect our environment as is evident by his repeal of those laws -- he also hates anything that threatens his dream for Alberta to become a big dirty hole in the ground, but big bank accounts for those who have only money for love that live there...all after polluting much of the northern waterways.... for me this makes Harper very easy to hate and very hard to have any level of respect for...the health of our children should be what we all will defend vigorously...it takes a community to raise a child...but only one shortsighted politician to increase the air pollution that makes them sick....."get up stand up!...stand up for your rights!"

  • Dave from Barrie
    March 07, 2014 - 10:04

    To harper and mackay. If the shoe fits wear it! There are a LOT of Canadians that feel this is an accurate depiction of harper and a lot of his cronies!

  • Dave
    March 07, 2014 - 08:55

    Hit the nail right on the head. If peter doesn't Like the cartoon depiction ,he should quit acting like a ass. He should stand up for the people that elected him . He is just another harper ass kisser.

  • GM
    March 07, 2014 - 08:54

    Let's see, the conservatives have a known "list of enemies" , they close veterans centers but celebrate the war of 1812, money that could have kept the centers open which serve our WWII, Korea Vets etc., They close their meetings to the press, They are attempting to muzzle Elections Canada, they already muzzle scientists and government officials. These are not the acts of people that respect democracy. Is Canada the next Weimar Republic? Possibly. If we look the other way and think it won't happen to us. I think that is the point of the cartoon.

  • steven bryant
    March 07, 2014 - 08:40

    I agree with the picture, Harper has turned Canada into one of the most respected countries in the world into pre-ww2 germany. Take a long hard look at hitler's tactics and look at harpers. I think the only difference is Hitler never committed Treason and it is my humble opinion that harper has committed treason.

  • Loki
    March 07, 2014 - 08:34

    Would it be OK if we call Marois and her band of boneheads very similar to Nazis? Cause that's what they are and appeasing these boneheads will be as successful as early attempts to appease and ignore the Nazis. Incidentally, the cartoon is not even slightly funny, the cartoonist should find another calling, the Advocate should get better editors, and I like Stephen Harper and think this government is doing a good job.

  • chief wiggam
    March 07, 2014 - 08:26

    as "unfair and hateful" as harper himself.

  • PeterWhat?
    March 07, 2014 - 08:11

    Peter: What your government is doing is s deeply offensive, outrageous, insulting and completely inappropriate. I call on all parties involved to make an unequivocal apology. The fair elections act is deeply disrespectful to those who gave their lives to protect our way of life and defend the world from tyranny and oppression. As Canadians, we used to enjoy a level of prosperity, as well as personal and democratic freedom that were second to none. I urge Harper, and those who voted for this unacceptable and despicable bill, to reflect on our history, apologize to all the people of our great country, and exercise far better judgment moving forward.

  • gord
    March 07, 2014 - 07:54

    I dont know when i looked at it i laughed ,my father is a korean vet and he would have laughed too if he were here god bless him ,quit using vets and canadian people in your speeches to try to help deflect the lousy govt you have givin us .This has nothing more to say other than what is there ,

  • dave
    March 07, 2014 - 07:46

    ....and our mla phones the cops over a tweet

  • John
    March 07, 2014 - 07:29

    Looks like the cartoon got it spot on.

  • cole
    March 07, 2014 - 07:04

    Harper is running this country like Hitler ran the Nazi party, that is all that image is saying. When you have the leader of this not so "free" country lying through his teeth and closing veterans affairs offices, sending out one cent cheques to veterans widows and clearly not caring that our soldiers that are serving this country for him are taking their own lives because of PTSD and not doing anything about it. Than yes. Harper is just as much an idiot as Hitler was. Heil Harper!