Political Cartoon Representations of Freedom of Information in Canada


  • Kevin Walby University of Winnipeg, Department of Criminal Justice
  • Sanjam Panag University of Winnipeg, Political Science




freedom of information, political cartoons, transparency, rhetorical vision, secrecy / accès à l’information, caricatures politiques, transparence, vision rhétorique, secret


Background: This article examines political cartoon depictions of access to information and freedom of information appearing in Canadian newspapers published between 2005 and 2019.

Analysis: It focuses on three dimensions of these cartoons. First, many of these cartoons mirror the categories of political cartoons devised by Ray Morris. Second, several spatial metaphors regarding blockages, walls, and locked doors are used to represent government information control. Third, many of the cartoons suggest secrecy is germane to government across Canada and that transparency and secrecy are imbricated.

Conclusion and implications: The implication of the findings for literatures on freedom of information, transparency, and political cartoons is assessed.


Contexte : Cet article examine la manière dont les caricatures politiques représentent l’ac- cès à l’information dans certains journaux canadiens publiés entre 2005 et 2019.

Analyse : Cet article met l’accent sur trois dimensions de ces caricatures : 1) plusieurs de ces caricatures reflètent le type de caricature politique conçu par Ray Morris; 2) plusieurs métaphores spatiales (obstructions, murs et portes verrouillées) sont utilisées pour repré- senter le contrôle de l’information par le gouvernement; 3) plusieurs de ces caricatures laissent entendre que le secret est une caractéristique des divers gouvernements au Canada et que la transparence et le secret sont imbriqués.

Conclusion et implications : Pour conclure, cet article évalue en fonction de leurs réper- cussions les données recueillies sur la littérature relative à l’accès à l’information, la trans- parence et les caricatures politiques.

Author Biographies

Kevin Walby, University of Winnipeg, Department of Criminal Justice

Kevin Walby is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Winnipeg. He has authored or co-authored articles in British Journal of Criminology, Qualitative Inquiry, Qualitative Research, Punishment & Society, Antipode, Policing and Society, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, Urban Studies, Surveillance and Society, Media, Culture, and Society, Sociology, Current Sociology, International Sociology, and Social Movement Studies. He is author of Touching Encounters: Sex, Work, and Male-for-Male Internet Escorting (2012, University of Chicago Press). He is co-editor of Brokering Access: Power, Politics, and Freedom of Information Process in Canada with M. Larsen (2012, UBC Press). He is co-author with R. Lippert of Municipal Corporate Security in International Context (2015, Routledge). He has co-edited with R. Lippert Policing Cities: Urban Securitization and Regulation in the 21st Century (2013, Routledge) and Corporate Security in the 21st Century: Theory and Practice in International Perspective (2014, Palgrave). He is co-editor of Access to Information and Social Justice with J. Brownlee (2015, ARP Books) and The Handbook of Prison Tourism with J. Wilson, S. Hodgkinson, and J. Piche (2017, Palgrave). He is co-editor of Corporatizing Canada: Making Business Out of Public Service with Jamie Brownlee and Chris Hurl (2018, Between the Lines Press). He is co-editor of the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons

Sanjam Panag, University of Winnipeg, Political Science

Sanjam Panag is a Senior Research Assistant and recently completed an undergraduate degree in Conflict Resolution Studies and Political Science. Email: sanjam.panag@gmail.com