I present a political cartoon that looks much like a comic book frame.
Here's the issue: like most municipalities, Port Coquitlam has its share of social inequality. Sometimes, that bias results in bullying and harassment. Local schoolgirl Amanda Todd could no longer bear being the target of bullies, and tragically she took her own life. Her suicide became the focus of international media attention.
Now, Port Coquitlam is poised to be the first city in British Columbia to enact anti-bullying bylaws. Anyone caught harassing or bullying someone else will face a stiff fine. However, the by-law is not intended to be a money-grab. If the accused bully agrees to attend an anti-bullying workshop, the fine will be waived.
Mayor Greg Moore is the champion of this new by-law. I can see where Mayor Moore is coming from: he is a socially-active politician who is also a devoted family man. Like some sort of super-hero, Mayor Moore is swooping in to do what he can to make his City a better place, using the powers he has at hand.
Predictably, there is some public resistance to the by-law. Some people don't want the City to tell them what they can or cannot do in their private lives. Others point to similar by-laws in Regina, Saskatchewan, that have been enforced only a handful of times. Even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who would be responsible for local law enforcement, are unsure as to how exactly they would ticket bullies. This is so despite that the RCMP suggested to Mayor Moore the by-law in the first place.
While I have some sympathy for with those sentiments, I also believe that public safety takes a higher precedence than privacy concerns. I applaud the action that City Hall is taking to bring this new law to the table. I doubt that there will be many tickets handed out, but that's not the point. Here we have a unique and valuable opportunity to keep the topic of bullying in the spotlight. Intelligent dialogue is an important means to defeating the bullying culture, as is a dependable resource network that includes social media, counselling services, and workshops. The point does not lean towards punishment but instead to rehabilitation: the offender, the victim, and the community. Concurrent with the passing of the by-law will be the first annual Snowflake Walk in support of the movement against bullying. The snowflake has been adopted as the local symbol for the campaign to stop bullying and harassment. Citizens of Port Coquitlam will gather December 9th to raise awareness and help bring an end to victims' suffering.
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So, in light of all of this tremendous civic work, I can't help feeling that my political cartoon comes off as incredibly arch and perhaps patronizing. This wasn't my intent. Lesson learned: putting people you know into superhero costumes generally does not work out all that well. I did consider trying for an art style more suited to political cartooning (please click here to see an example on JSVB), but I decided I wanted to emulate classical comic book ink and halftone.
I also had trouble compositing this piece. By mistake, I ended up cropping the lower half of Super Mayor Man, which showed him ripping off his work suit to reveal his hero costume like Clark Kent would. Instead, that action to me looks ambiguous. Good thing I have a wall of text to describe what I forgot to draw.
JSVB viewers who don't follow Port Coquitlam politics will likely not understand why I drew Lex Luthor in Superman's costume. The answer is that in appearance, Mayor Moore looks almost exactly halfway between Superman and Lex Luthor, which presents a striking visage. Mayor Moore is a very large, powerfully built, lantern-jawed man, maybe a head taller than I am. He is also smooth-headed just like Lex Luthor. By coincidence, Mayor Moore received his MBA degree from Royal Roads University, the site of Hatley Castle, which has often doubled for Luthor Mansion in film and television (Hatley Park is also the exterior grounds for Professor Xavier's X-Men School!).
Good thing Mayor Moore has the heart of a super man, and I hope a sense of humour too, if and when he sees this post!