Sorry, it's not funny this week.
I have wanted to create editorial or political cartoons many times in the past. I’m not shy about my political opinions or pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes. But I do so in a way that doesn’t really get a lot of attention. I don’t make political cartoons that could be shared outside my sphere.
I don’t do it, not because I am afraid for my life, but because I am afraid for my livelihood, because I am afraid of my government.
I am pretty sure that when it all comes out decades from now my e-mails and Facebook posts will be in a government file somewhere. I am on a list. I don’t live in the middle-east or in some political hotspot. I live in Canada. I live in Canada, where over the course of the last 10 years it has become illegal to protest with anything covering your face. This is a country that has a six month winter mind you. If I go to protest and don’t want to get frostbite or even more reasonably don’t want the media or police to take my picture I can go to jail.
This is the country that can cancel any out of the country art shows I can get by cancelling my visa and restricting my travel if they don’t like the message my art has . This is the country that uses the Canada Revenue Agency (aka the taxman) as a weapon against people and organizations that dare to hold the government to account. This is a country whose Prime Minister restricts access to the media, excepting outlets that are close to him and are essentially his PR arm.
I live in a country that yells loudly that we defend free speech while doing as much as it can to muzzle it, and I am afraid. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to travel, that my business will undergo costly CRA audits, or that I will be arrested for doing something that constitutionally I am allowed to do, but that the government wants to label as a terrorist activity .
So what do I do now? How can I explain to my children that all the things I have done to try and change their country for the better was not all I could do because I was afraid?