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Newspaper apologizes for cartoon showing swastika flying over Canada's parliament

Readers have been slow to forgive over satire that was 'simply aligning the Harper government’s policies with the Nazis.'

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Canada's Parliament raises the Ukrainian flag on March 4, 2014 in Ottawa, Ont., in solidarity with Ukraine a day after the House of Commons voted to "strongly condemn" Russia's military intervention in Crimea. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

KELOWNA, British Columbia — A small Canadian newspaper that drew national condemnation for an editorial cartoon that showed a swastika flying over Ottowa's Parliament Hill has apologized. Sort of.

The Pictou Advocate said on its website late Thursday it hadn't intended to insult anyone.

According to the unsigned statement, “the cartoon was simply meant as a satire, or exaggeration” regarding Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s economic policies. Harper leads the Conservative Party of Canada.

“If our editorial cartoon in the March 5 edition of The Advocate has offended anyone, we sincerely apologize. It was certainly not our intention to offend our readers,” the statement said. “We regret that the cartoon was not received in the spirit with which it was intended.”

Pictou is a small community in the Maritime province of Nova Scotia.

Rob Denton, who drew the offending cartoon, said it was meant to suggest the Canadian government “is heading toward fascism.”

“The use of the swastika was simply aligning the Harper government’s policies with the Nazis,” Denton wrote online. “All Canadians, but especially the Atlantic Provinces, should be absolutely irate over the latest budget and announcements which are continuing to oppress the poorer provinces.

“That is why I used the swastika. There are no religious connotations, there is no anti-Semitism, there are no ethnic attacks, there is no racism. … Just the suggestion that Canadian politics is heading toward fascism.”

Editor Jackie Jardine invited “all residents of Pictou County” to use the newspaper as a “forum for debate and opinion.”

But she’s getting opinions from outside her county, too.

The Atlantic Jewish Council called the cartoon “tasteless” and insulting to Second World War veterans. Executive director Jon Goldberg also called for an apology.

“The tasteless and inappropriate use of the swastika to make a political point only trivializes the horrific crimes of the Nazis,” he said. “Such a cartoon is offensive to the Jewish community, to all who suffered during WWII, and to Canadian veterans who sacrificed so much to liberate Europe from Nazi rule.”

Justice Minister Peter MacKay, who hails from Nova Scotia, said he’s canceling his subscription.

More from GlobalPost: Does this cartoon make Mark Zuckerberg look racist, or just hungry?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/140307/pictou-advocate-newspaper-apologizes-cartoon-swastika-nazi-canada