Canadian Artist Harperized

In 2011, Canadian artist Franke James from Victoria B.C. received a $5000 Federal Arts Grant. She intended to take her work on a European art tour in partnership with Nektarina, a Croatia based environmental NGO. Her show, aimed at inspiring people to reduce their carbon footprint was quickly deemed UN-Canadian. Two days later, a letter from the senior director of the Foreign Affairs Dept. Climate Change Division revoked her funding as something that would “run counter to Canadian interests”.

So what business has the Foreign Affairs office with Canadian Art Grants? Franke James asked the same question, one that led to four years of bat shit bureaucratic red tape, the possession of over 2000 government emails obtained through freedom of information legislation, and an award winning book – Banned on The Hill (winner of the 2014 Independent Book Publishers Gold Award for Best Regional Non-Fiction)

So what could possibly lurk in 2000 internal government documents? Astoundingly, you first have to dissect original disclosure from eventual disclosures. Initially, “multiple phrases in the original documents were exempted from disclosure under the Access to Information Act. The government claimed making them public would, as stated in the law, be “injurious” to international relations and would violate the confidentiality of unidentified third parties who supplied government with information”.

Tireless complaints to Office of the Information Commissioner, Depts. of Foreign Affairs, and Trade and Development delivered uncensored documents – verification of Stephen Harper’s conservative government stance on Canadians who dare oppose his precious tar-sands. Dozens of emails from senior officials detailing monitoring of James for her views on  oil-sands, and not “supporting Canadian interests”.

Said James: “What is surprising and so shocking (with the latest disclosures) is that they’re using high-level security clauses in order to black out stuff which is partisan and embarrassing. These guys have been abusing that (exemption) clause in my case, they’re blatantly covering up stuff.”

Pondering Franke James, Canadians have to understand, this happened in 2011 – years before Bill C-51, in a time when Canadian minds retained a shred of innocence, a glimmer of idealistic naivety that Canada stood for something remarkable. I shudder to think what might become of Canada if Stephen Harper is allowed to continue his crusade.

Artist Franke James lost a government grant over her climate change views.




6 thoughts on “Canadian Artist Harperized

    • Canada is in big trouble if he’s re-elected this fall. He thinks he can get away with this crap and no one will notice. The CBC for example (in my opinion one of the last remaining bastions of journalistic integrity) aired a documentary on Harper’s ties to a fundamentalist Christian church. Within days, he slashed funding for the CBC, put hundreds of people out of work, and accused CBC radio in Quebec of being the hive of left wing anti-Harper sentiment. Holy crap!

  1. LOL — you Canadians are always poking fun at US government — but you have to admit you have your share of loons too. And don’t even get me started on redaction. Grrrrrrr.

    • Aside from a post on James Inhofe tossing a snowball in Senate, I haven’t had a single poke at America in ages (for me anyway). Canada is in big trouble. Harper is of deep concern, as in bat shit and out of control. Sigh. 🙂

      • It’s not just Canada or the US that are in trouble. I think we have technologied ourselves to a point where we have outsmarted ourselves. At a time when people are still killing each other over race and ethnicity our governments can’t get past the littlest politically incorrect details. At some point the weight will just become too heavy and collapse will result…. And my ‘Canadians’ comment was in the way of a sigh of relief — it’s nice seeing one of y’all picking on your own government. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s