M999.81.193 | Poor Canada
1998, 20th century
Graphite on paper
43.3 x 35.6 cm
Gift of M. Serge Chapleau
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Cartoon (19139) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , sports (645)
Keys to History
"I love the graphics in this cartoon, which captures our differences so well: a Suzanne Tremblay for francophones and a Don Cherry for anglophones!"
Known for his direct and confrontational style, Don Cherry often uses his televised segment "Coach's Corner," part of Hockey Night in Canada, to vaunt one all-Canadian culture and to deliver anti-French tirades. In April 1998, Cherry raised the ire of many Quebeckers by stating that the Francophone Games in Hull, Quebec, were a waste of money. He added insult to injury by calling Olympic gold medalist Jean-Luc Brassard an "unknown" and French-speaking politicians "whiners.. In June 1998, culture ministers from twenty-two countries met in Ottawa for the International Meeting on Cultural Policy. Quebec did not participate, a fact which angered Suzanne Tremblay, the Bloc québécois critic on cultural affairs who was also known for her straight talk. She accused Sheila Copps, federal heritage minister, of denying the existence of Quebec culture: "Mrs. Copps doesn't have the authority to speak in the name of Quebec culture," she told the media.
Whether speaking out in Quebec or in Ontario, Suzanne Tremblay and Don Cherry do their part to keep the Canadian identity debate alive because whatever they say is transmitted across the country by the media.
In April and June of 1998, Suzanne Tremblay and Don Cherry each, in their own way, found themselves caught up in the controversial "national identities," debate, a debate that rears up repeatedly to animate Canadian political, social and cultural life.
Suzanne Tremblay, politician, member of the House of Commons representing the Bloc québécois from 1993 to 2004, and Don Cherry, sports commentator on CBC, the English-language network of the country's publically owned broadcaster.