Rogers in the Cartoon Section

Graham Harop's Back Bench Cartoon in the cartoon section of the Globe and Mail, March 1, 2006 has a bit of a story that goes along with it.


As I was on my way to the pre-trial conference for my Small Claims Court action on March 1, 2006, a friend called me and told me to look in the Globe and Mail’s review section, under the cartoons, where I found Graham Harrop’s cartoon.


Angus, the pseudonymous associate at Lang Michenener, LLP who is representing Rogers Wireless Inc, was about ten minutes late for the pre-trial. So as we were waiting to begin, I showed the judge Graham Harrop’s cartoon. He hadn’t seen it.


But when I asked the pre-trial judge whether he could take judicial notice of the other events that had emerged since I submitted my original pleadings on September 19, 2005 or whether he had missed the whole thing and I should give a run down on recent facts, he told me that it was almost impossible to miss the whole Rogers and Me debacle: it was splashed all over the front page of the Globe and Mail for several days running.

Angus turned up and we got through the pre-trial conference.


After the pre-trial, as the judge was out of the room photocopying the endorsement, I turned to Angus and said:

Susan: Come on, Angus [a pseudonym], just between your and me, you've got to admit this whole Rogers thing is pretty damn funny, don't you think?


Angus: You know, I have to say, this whole cartoon in the Globe today, on the very day of the pre-trial, makes me wonder whether someone didn't put the cartoonist up to it. Maybe Peter Cheney got him to do it. You know I don't think it's coincidental that Bell Globemedia owns the Globe and the Globe did such a massive story on a Rogers cell phone when for months no one else would touch your story."


Susan: Wow. Very interesting, Angus. I've seen those conspiracy stories about how my story ended up getting covered [and by CBC and CTV as well, of course, and newspapers around the world from Syria to Wyoming]. So you too think the ownership of the media by telecommunications warps what journalists can say. Hmm. I guess then you'd have to agree that the 100% ownership of McCleans by Rogers kind of puts a crimp in the style of McClean's journalists.


Angus: Well, Rogers doesn't own 100% of McClean's anymore. And I think it's a valid question to ask about how a story that was so damaging to Rogers was basically spread out on pages A-1 to A-8 of the Globe and Mail for several days running.


The pre-trial judge returned with copies of the pre-trial endorsement at that point and so the rest is covered by pre-trial confidentiality.

When I got home later that day, I looked up Graham Harrop and sent him and email about the controversy stirred up by his cartoon. He was very kind for someone who had never before exchanged a word with me.


“Hi Susan,” Graham wrote. “Thanks for the e-mail!. Nice to get the background although I was struggling with some of the words....'trial'...'judge'....'court'.”


[I had tried to describe what a pre-trial conference was all about and how I didn’t believe what I was sharing with him was covered by pre-trial confidentiality as it hadn’t been a matter discussed at the conference proper, in the presence of the judge.]


“You are very welcome to use the Rogers' cartoon on your website,” Graham cordially offered. “I'm sorry the Rogers lawyer didn't think it was funny, but that was the intent (to be funny...not have him think that it wasn't funny...).


“As for the conspiracy I told the Warren Commission...there's nothing to it. Hope things go well with you...I think what you are doing is admirable.


All the best,


Graham Harrop.”