Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The State of Editorial Cartooning in Canada


For some years now, full-time editorial cartoonists in Canadian daily newspapers have all but disappeared.

In the USA, editorial cartoonists such as Mike Ramirez at the LA Times, Mike Keefe at the Denver Post, Tony Auth at the Philadelphia InquirerNick Anderson at the Houston Chronicle and Kevin Kallaugher at the Baltimore Sun have even lost their staff positions not long after winning a Pulitzer.

Canada has seen the disappearance of the full-time jobs held by Denny Pritchard at The Saskatoon Star-PhoenixFrank Edwards at The Kingston Whig-StandardRoy Peterson at the Vancouver SunJohn Larter at The Calgary SunVance Rodewalt at the Calgary HeraldDan Murphy and Bob Krieger at the Vancouver ProvinceMarc Beaudet at the Journal de MontréalCam Cardow at the Ottawa CitizenDale Cummings at the Winnipeg Free Press, Susan Dewar at the Ottawa Sun and, more recently, Adrian Raeside at the Victoria Times-Colonist.

Patrick Corrigan and Theo Moudakis (Mou) are now freelancers at the Toronto Star, while Merle Tingley (Ting) was not replaced at the London Free Press when he retired.

In fact, save for Malcolm Mayes at the Edmonton Journal, there is no longer a permanent position west of Hamilton, Graeme Mackay having been fortunate enough to be hired by the Spectator twenty years ago. This rare occurrence has not been repeated since.

The trend has spared the Quebec press thanks to the absence of syndicates in the francophone market.

This business model makes it possible to publish editorial cartoons at a lower price without having to pay social benefits or pensions to their freelancers.

Since there are only nine daily newspapers in Quebec, it is not profitable for freelancers to offer their services during the cartoonists' vacations.

Furthermore, the two press groups (Groupe Capitales Médias and Québécor), who share the market with La Presse and Le Devoir, exchange the work of their cartoonists.

This is how Mario Lacroix of the Quotidien and myself are published in Quebec City's Le Soleil   when André-Philippe Côté is absent.

We also find ourselves in Sherbrooke's La Tribune where we fill the void left by the departure of  Hervé Philippe, who saw his permanent position disappear last January.

According to my calculations, there are no more than seven staff positions for editorial cartoonists in the country.

Quite a change from forty years ago when I joined the profession.

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