An Ontario man is calling out a member of the Trump family for using an image of his young son as part of a political attack on those opposing the American president.
Jeremy Rupke says Donald Trump’s son Eric showed “disrespect” and lack of forethought when he included an image of four-year-old Mason Rupke in a recent social media broadside against Democrats.
Left-leaning politicians have stepped up criticism of the U.S. president in recent days after he told four congresswomen of colour to “go back where they came from,” prompting Eric Trump to liken his father’s rivals to peewee hockey players.
To illustrate a tweet on the subject, Eric Trump used a screenshot taken from a video of Mason playing hockey in his hometown of Barrie, Ont.
Jeremy Rupke fired back, criticizing the president’s son for using Mason’s image to push a political message.
He says that while he doesn’t believe he has the right to insist the image be removed, he found the use of it “distasteful” and needlessly invasive.
“Clearly that is somebody’s child,” Rupke said in a telephone interview. “Maybe he wanted to get more views on his tweet and added pictures so it stands out more, but he could find a stock picture from a distance so it’s not personally involving anybody … Clearly someone in his position could afford to go through the right channels to get content.”
Rupke, who coaches hockey, said he had no idea of his son’s newfound notoriety until Wednesday afternoon when a friend reached out to him on social media.
He said he had no history of discussing politics with this particular friend and was puzzled to see that he was being referred to a post by the president’s son. All became clear, however, when he saw Mason’s face peering back at him from below the tweet sent Wednesday morning.
“Watching the Democrats reminds me of pee-wee hockey — funny, makes zero sense & they can’t get out of their own way,” Eric Trump tweeted before narrowing his focus to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the congresswomen included in his father’s recent headline-grabbing remarks.
“AOC is the gift that keeps on giving — skating circles on the far left and unknowingly taking down her own teammates. Please keep it up. You are guaranteeing 2020.”
Rupke said that once he got over the shock of seeing his son’s image alongside the tweet, he felt obligated to call out what he felt was poor online etiquette.
“Hey @EricTrump maybe don’t use a picture of my kid for your political propaganda,” he tweeted back.
Rupke also pointed out that children playing hockey in Mason’s age bracket are not classified as peewee, a designation the Ontario Minor Hockey Association reserves for players aged 11 and 12.
Rupke said he has not received and is not expecting a response from the president’s son. Eric Trump did not respond to request for comment.
Mason briefly became a viral video sensation when his father recorded him skating at a hockey practice earlier this year.
The video posted online showed Mason working to master skating and providing off-the-cuff commentary to accompany his efforts. His remarks were rarely focused on hockey, but instead touched on a desire for a nap and craving for a meal at McDonald’s.
Rupke included the clip of his son amid the rest of his video content, which largely focuses on hockey-playing tips and techniques.
He said he’s developed a particular distaste for the U.S. president’s brand of politics and added that the younger Trump appeared to be playing from the same book.
“(As a hockey coach) I’m always teaching respect, care compassion, looking after other people and just being an over-all good person,” Rupke said. “I think that (Donald) Trump doesn’t really reflect a lot of the values I try to teach.”
Rupke drew plenty of support on Twitter, with many critiquing the use of Mason’s image.
“If you knew anything about hockey you would realize that this kid is way to (sic) young to be a Pee Wee,” one user tweeted at the president’s son. ‘So what you are reporting is Fake News!”
“He didn’t even pick a kid made in America,” quipped another.
Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press
151st Cowichan Exhibition includes new category: best home-grown pot
VICTORIA — One of Canada’s oldest fall fairs is putting a new twist on its annual showcase of local livestock, produce and fruit by adding a new category for best home-grown marijuana.
The Cowichan Exhibition in Duncan, B.C., which dates back to 1868, has created a best cannabis category to embrace legalization and celebrate local pot growers, said exhibition vice-president Bud James.
The fair starts Friday and the cannabis entries will be on display in the main hall at the Cowichan Exhibition Grounds along with the region’s top vegetables, fruits and baked goods. First prize is $5, second is $3 and third place gets a ribbon.
“We just decided this year, because it’s an agricultural product, and it’s been grown in the valley for years, and now that it’s finally legally grown, we would allow people to win a ribbon for the best,” said James.
He said fair officials believe the Cowichan cannabis category is the first of its kind in Canada.
An official at the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, a non-profit organization representing rural and urban fairs, said she had not heard of any other cannabis judging contests prior to the Cowichan Exhibition, but couldn’t confirm it was the first.
A fall fair in Grand Forks, B.C., is also judging local cannabis, but the event starts Saturday, one day after Cowichan’s fair. Those who enter the competition in Grand Forks can compete for best indoor- and outdoor-grown cannabis.
James said fair organizers contacted the local council and RCMP prior to adding the cannabis category. The mayor and council did not oppose the contest and the RCMP referred organizers to B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, the agency monitoring retail sales of non-medical cannabis, he said.
Organizers decided to go ahead with the event after its plans were not rejected, James said.
“Our interpretation of the rules are you can’t make it attractive to people under 19 years and we are not making it attractive,” he said.
James said the cannabis entries will be placed in a glass display case and the individual entries will be sealed in clear zip lock plastic bags.
“It’s being judged to the same standard of judging garden and field produce,” he said. “It’s done by uniformity. You want all three buds to be the same size, same shape, same colour. It’s also the dryness, texture and smell. It’s exactly the same way you would judge apples or carrots or hay bales. It’s all done the same way.”
James said the contest doesn’t involve sampling the product.
Bree Tweet, the manager of a medical cannabis dispensary in nearby Ladysmith, will judge the marijuana entries, said James.
The exhibition received 18 cannabis entries and James said the contest created a buzz at the fair.
“The enthusiasm of the entrants, the people bringing their entry forms, they are so enthusiastic it’s unbelievable,” he said. “They are so thrilled that it’s happening, that we’re doing it because they’ve been waiting for years for legalization and now, they finally got it and now they have a chance to show what they can do.”
James, who has entered his prized Dahlia flowers at past fairs, said the addition of the cannabis category has exceeded expectations with the 18 entries.
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
School board defends book pictured on principal’s desk after online uproar
A Toronto-area Catholic school board says an online firestorm that erupted after a book on how to teach black students was photographed on a principal’s desk stems from a misunderstanding over the book’s contents.
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board says the book, titled “The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys,” has a provocative title but is actually a helpful resource on tackling racial and cultural oppression in education.
Michelle Coutinho, the board’s principal of equity and inclusive education, says such materials are a particularly useful reference given how diverse the student population is in the district and at that specific school.
The controversy emerged this week after a Brampton, Ont., high school, Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School, posted a photo of its new principal on Twitter.
The photo, which shows the book on her desk, set off heated debate, with some suggesting it was a sign of racism or incompetence, or a prop meant to bolster the school’s image.
The image was also shared on instagram by 6ixBuzzTV, a popular account with roughly 1.2 million followers.
“LOOOOL. No principal should make it this far while subsequently needing a book like this,” one person wrote on Twitter. “She a bad principal,” wrote another.
Some defended the book, however, and the principal’s efforts to educate herself. “She’s making an effort to connect with her students, it’s more than most principals do,” another tweet read.
The board said it was surprised by the uproar and hoped people would look up the book before jumping to conclusions based on its title.
The principal intends to address the photo in a public announcement and invite any students with lingering questions to see her, said Bruce Campbell, the board’s spokesman.
The book, written by three researchers and published in 2017, aims to improve outcomes for black students by helping teachers create learning environments in which they feel nurtured and engaged. The title references the fact that white women make up the bulk of the teaching force in the U.S.
Coutinho said the book asks educators to challenge the biases they may bring into the classroom.
“We know that we’re steeped in a colonized kind of world view and how do we break out of that in our everyday practices?” she said, noting it has been used in the board’s anti-oppression training in the past.
Cardinal Ambrozic’s new principal was involved in a book study at several schools that delved deeply into the text last year, Coutinho said.
“If we’re going to make any changes to the education system, we have to start talking about these things and talking about them openly and honestly without shame or blame.”
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
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