Canadian cartoonists unite behind slain Charlie Hebdo artists
Published Thursday, January 8, 2015 8:35AM EST
Cartoonists across Canada are standing in solidarity with their colleagues who were shot and killed at the office of the French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.
French police are searching for two suspects wanted in connection with the massacre at the Paris office of the weekly newspaper. A total of 12 people, including two police officers, were murdered when armed gunman attacked on Wednesday morning. A third suspect surrendered late Wednesday night.
As news of the shooting spread, cartoonists around the world reacted, drawing special cartoons for the slain artists.
Charlie Hebdo has a history of provoking outrage with its stories, jokes and cartoons about politicians, celebrities and religious figures.
The newspaper had been a source of controversy, and had been the target of past attacks. In 2011, its office was fire-bombed and its website was hacked, after it announced an upcoming issue would be "guest-edited" by Muhammad.
In Halifax, Michael De Adder and Bruce MacKinnon both drew poignant pieces for the murdered.
De Adder's cartoon showed a hand writing out the words "freedom of speech," with extremists trying to stop the hand from completing the words.
MacKinnon's showed a tattered French flag flying at half-mast, with a pencil serving as the flagpole.
Both artists said that despite the Paris attack, they won't stop working.
"As negative and traumatic as this is, it has the opposite effect because it proves our relevance," MacKinnon said. "It shows that what we do has an effect and does matter."
De Adder added: "I'm actually more jazzed to continue what I'm doing."
In Edmonton, cartoonist Malcolm Mayes showed a similar resolve.
Mayes, who is the editorial cartoonist for the Edmonton Journal, praised the Charlie Hebdo artists for refusing to be intimidated by past threats.
"They weren't cowed, they weren't afraid," he told CTV Edmonton. "They stood their ground and that's what people have to do in the face of threats like this."
Mayes said he, as well, will never let threats influence his work. "I'm not going to change the way I draw or change my opinion because someone threatens me," he said.
During his career with the Montreal Gazette, cartoonist Terry Mosher said that he courted controversy by drawing a cartoon that was critical of radical Islamists.
"The reaction to that was stunning," he told CTV Montreal.
However, Mosher said that cartoonists must remain defiant.
"Satire is poking fun and questioning hopefully all of our institutions and our attitudes. Nothing is ever 100 per cent right," he said. "So the whole purpose of satire is to test your system and see if we can poke fun at these things and questions them – obviously I believe in that very strongly."
With files from CTV Atlantic, CTV Edmonton and CTV Montreal