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.




Slipping Support For Bill C-51

Oh Stephen Harper, has it crossed your mind Canadians are on to you? You’ve had a good run, managing to forsake rights of first nations, women, environment and veterans with admirably callous disregard. Your vision of my Canada as “warrior nation” allowed you to dabble in sand boxes of true war mongers. Alienating the United Nations, insisting our military fly in the face of front-line conflict, strutting about like a holier than thou defender of morality – all the while, banking on polite Canadians to roll over and thank you for making Canada a “warrior nation”.

Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson spoke in Ottawa today, imploring Commons support for Harper’s intended expansion of Canadian military in Syria and Iraq. Despite parliamentary approval last year of six months participation in a U.S. led coalition of air strikes against ISIL in Iraq (expires on April 7), NDP and Liberal members are less than supportive of continued involvement, preferring humanitarian aid and support.

Pay attention because these next words from Nicholson are worth pondering.

“Canada is in the fight because the militants have threatened the country directly”

Ah yes, militant threats – AKA, Stephen Harper’s wet dream. No self respecting warrior nation exists without reason – when in doubt, create a reason to ruffle militant ire. Oblivious to the essence of Canada, void of the slightest inkling as to our uniquely inclusive, compassionate or peace keeping perspectives, Stephen Harper set about making Canada unrecognizable.

Harper wasn’t content with a nation of peace keepers, his Canada needed to play with the big boys. His wish was bat shit command – push hard enough and eventually “crazy” will deliver an attack on Parliament Hill. Justification for warrior reason and Bill C-51.

C-51 epitomizes Harper’s intent to undermine the fabric of Canada. A vague re-scripting of anti-terror legislation lacking oversight, accountability and definition. A law of epic proportions, one that gives unrestricted rights to security services, legislation enacted to strip Harper’s Canada of Canadians who value our once great nation.

Nice try Mr. Harper – Canada isn’t about to roll over. Despite admirable use of tax payer’s money funding hysterical militant fear mongering – we’re Canadians who won’t tolerate nonsense for long. There’s a reason why the “Stop Harper” movement is unprecedented in Canadian history – falling support for your legislated police state demonstrates futility of thinking we back your vision of Canada.