Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay is demanding an apology from the local paper in his Nova Scotia riding after it printed a cartoon of a flag with a Nazi swastika flying over the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.
The Pictou Advocate published the cartoon in Wednesday's edition along with the words: "Harper's economic action plan."
"I would like to express my strong dismay and condemnation of the editorial cartoon published in the Pictou Advocate," MacKay, the member of Parliament for Central Nova, said in a statement Thursday.
"This image is deeply offensive, outrageous, insulting and completely inappropriate. I call on all parties involved to make an unequivocal apology."
The paper printed a response on its website and said it was "not our intention to offend our readers."
"We regret that the cartoon was not received in the spirit with which it was intended," said the statement.
The Pictou Advocate also included a statement from the unnamed editorial cartoonist, who insisted there was no religious connotation, anti-Semitism, ethnic attack or racism behind the image.
"I certainly didn't mean to offend anybody. The use of the swastika was simply aligning the Harper government's policies with the Nazis," reads the statement.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs also released a statement condemning the cartoon.
"The tasteless and inappropriate use of the swastika to make a political point only trivializes the horrific crimes of the Nazis," said Jon Goldberg, the executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council.
"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."