In the February 22, 2006 issue of The Sheaf, pages B1-B4 of the issue were devoted to several lengthy opinion articles and letters addressing the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. The Sheaf Editor-in-Chief, Will Robbins, wrote a 1,000-word editorial prefacing the other opinions which outlined the reasons behind The Sheaf's editorial decision not to publish any of the controversial cartoons. Robbins also indicated that the decision not to publish any of the cartoons was not unanimous among the editorial staff. Indeed, in response to this decision The Sheaf News Editor, Jeremy Warren, resigned from the paper.
However, the nuanced journalistic position Robbins staked for The Sheaf was contradicted just one week later in the next issue of The Sheaf.
In the March 2, 2006 issue of The Sheaf, a two-panel installment of the comic strip appeared on in the paper's "Comics and Humour" section depicting Jesus Christ performing fellatio on a top-hatted, monocle-wearing "Capitalist Piglet". The punchline of in the second-panel refers to Jewish food-preparation traditions. The cartoon therefore appears to imply that Christianity is a tool of Capitalism.
The comic had been scanned and laid-out into the newspaper's publication software by the Graphics Editor. The Editor-in-Chief reviewed the first draft of the paper and marked the Capitalist Piglet comic for deletion from the issue. It is unclear whether the Editor-in-Chief instructed the Graphics Editor to remove it or not; Regardless the comic was not removed. The issue went through several more revisions before going to print without the offending comic being withdrawn. The Editor-in-Chief later claimed this was a mistake and due in part to a staff shortage aggravated by the above-mentioned resignation of the News Editor.
In a retraction posted on page A2 of the March 9, 2006 issue, The Sheaf stated that Mark Watson was not an author of the March 2, 2006 Capitalist Piglet cartoon. In a letter appearing in that same issue, Mark Watson explained that his colleague, Y!ph, added his name to the installment "because he was using my character." In the same issue, Jeff MacDonald accepted full responsibility for authoring the comic.
The Saskatoon daily newspaper, The StarPhoenix, published several stories about the incident, beginning on March 11, 2006.
Several Rawlco radio stations also picked up the story, in particular its Saskatchewan AM Radio Talk News stations CKOM and CJME. Morning talk-show personality, and former Progressive Conservative Member-of-Parliament, John Gormley called on listeners to file a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
The comic was reported by other media, including the local CTV station. It garnered national media attention as well, and was heavily debated on many blogs, including popular Saskatchewan blog smalldeadanimals. Canadian University Press also ran a wire story detailing the situation. The controversy was also discussed in the Spring 2006 edition of the [Fraser Institute] Canadian Student Review.
Numerous letters, both supporting and attacking The Sheaf were published in its subsequent March 9, 2006 issue on pages A11-A15.
Shortly after the March 2 edition came out in print, the "Comics and Humour" section - including the offending comic - was removed from the The Sheaf's online version.
According to Robbins' comments in a Star Phoenix article, he was invited to a Sunday meeting at The Sheaf wherein he was informed that all the other staff and editors had lost confidence in his ability to manage the paper and asked him to resign. Reluctantly Robbins resigned. Despite many letters of support for Robbins, The Sheaf Board of Directors accepted his resignation and appointed the Production Manager, Liam Richards, interim Editor-in-Chief and primary spokesperson during the controversy. In a press release, The Sheaf Board of Directors stated that "while the board is of the view that the "Capitalist Piglet" comic is not consistent with The Sheaf's objectives, nor its previous editorial policy, we wish to make clear that our acceptance of his resignation was based primarily on his failure to carry out his duties diligently."