Banned On The Hill: Franke James Takes Her Art To Ottawa

We’ve met Franke James, a Canadian visual artist, on 350orbust before. I discuss the Harper government’s interference with a big career opportunity for her, a European art tour, in these posts:  Dear Prime Minister Harper: Please Stop Blacklisting Environmental Artists and Scientists and Is The Kremlin Now In Charge? Harper Government Now Silencing Canadian Artists and Scientists.  Now this creative environmental artist has taken the bold step of taking her art right to Prime Minister Harper’s doorstep, into public spaces in Ottawa:

This week, Franke was interviewed on CBC Radio’s The Current, with this intro:

Franke James creates irreverent even whimsical art with a message about the environment, oil sands and climate change but when a federal bureaucrat accused her of creating a Fantasy, she filed an Access to Information request and discovered an email trail indicating officials at the Foreign Affairs Dept don’t seem to like her art and pulled funding because her work isn’t consistent with government interests. She says that opinion ended plans for a European art tour.

Go to the CBC website to hear the full interview.

And don’t forget to check out Franke’s blog to read her full visual essay, Banned On The Hill (And In Europe!).  And spread the word about her art show on to your circle.  Let’s support freedom of speech in our country, and Franke James!

More links: The Current

My Green Conscience: Franke James

Is The Kremlin Now In Charge? Harper Government Silencing Canadian Artists And Scientists.

Is The Kremlin Now In Charge? Harper Government Silencing Canadian Artists And Scientists

The Harper Government is sending out a clear message at home and abroad that if your politics are not correct your art shouldn’t be shown, and if your findings are inconvenient your science doesn’t matter.

Art by Franke James

A recent Vancouver Sun discussed the silencing of Fisheries Department scientist Kristi Miller. Miller heads a $6-million salmon-genetics project at the federal Pacific Biological Station on Vancouver Island whose breakthrough research into the deaths of West Coast salmon was published in the top scientific journal Science last year. The study suggests the possibility of a mysterious virus killing huge numbers of Fraser River salmon before they reach their spawning grounds. According to The Sun:

The documents show the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister’s Office, stopped Kristi Miller from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years.

...Miller is still not allowed to speak publicly about her discovery, and the Privy Council Office and Fisheries Department defend the way she has been silenced.

But observers say it is indefensible and more evidence of the way the government is undermining its scientists.

“There is no question in my mind it’s muzzling,” said Jeffrey Hutchings, a senior fisheries scientist at Halifax’s Dalhousie University.

“When the lead author of a paper in Science is not permitted to speak about her work, that is suppression,” he said. “There is simply no ifs, ands or buts about that.”

In a similar chilling manner, the Harper Government has recently lead a campaign to silence award-winning artist and author Franke James. James was asked by an international non-profit, Nektarina Nonprofit, which educates, connects and inspires people to care about their communities and their environment, to mount a series of art exhibitions in Europe. As Nektarina’s website states:

The uniqueness of her artwork is in combining science, art and storytelling, creating powerful and thought-provoking visual essays. Franke does not preach, she tells a story, educates and explains, leaving it to the viewers to make their own choices and decisions.

However, since May 2011, the Canadian Government has been using underhanded, behind-the-scenes tactics to get my “What can one person do?” art show in Europe cancelled. As Franke explains:

The goal of the ambitious show, organized by Nektarina Non Profit, is to raise environmental awareness with youth, and inspire teens to make their own climate change art. The show has the support of the Ministry of Culture in Latvia and the Croatian Agency for Environment. It’s a huge honor for me — but I can also see that it’s a direct result of the visual essays I’ve written, and the green conscience workshops I’ve done with students in Canada and the USA.

But apparently, Franke has ignited the Harper Government’s fury by telling the truth about Canada’s footdragging on climate action. And having the audacity to advocate pollution taxes and tougher environmental policies on Alberta’s Tar Sands – recommendations which are in line with many respected environmental NGO’s including the Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation. Nektarina Non-Profit has issued this statement about the concerted effort the Harper Government, through its Canadian embassies, have been making to shut down James’ art exhibit:

When Nektarina decided to present Franke’s artwork in a series  of exhibitions in Europe and Central Asia, we felt confident of the support of Canada – Franke’s homeland.  Regrettably, the Canadian Government has since declined support for the project, verbally explaining that “She (Franke James) speaks against the Canadian Government”. Nektarina Non Profit was deeply surprised and disappointed by the reaction of official Canada, yet we decided to carry on with the project.Nektarina Non Profit believes that it is the right of every person – artists and intellectuals in particular – to freely express their opinion and to be able to pose the question about their government’s accountability on specific decisions.  This is all the more important when such governmental decisions potentially impact the welfare of a large demographic, natural resources or both.

In the past few months we have encountered many difficulties in organizing the exhibitions, usually connected to interventions of the Canadian Government or institutions under Canadian governmental control.  We continued to look for ways to collaborate with the home land of the artist, although at times we felt patronized and even intimidated, as a small NGO trying to reach an understanding with a powerful state.

This was most surprising given Canada´s reputation over many decades as a leader in promoting democratic freedoms, the right of free expression and also supporting the international community (through its role as a peace keeper and in many other ways).  It is clear that Canada has a difficult position to resolve in relation to its narrower national interests (in particular the exploitation of natural resources) and its wider responsibility in the international community.  We will continue to try to reach out to Canadian society and we feel sure that the positions taken do not reflect the attitudes of Canadian society as a whole and we are confident that we have many friends in the country.

To help make Franke’s powerful “What Can One Person Do?” exhibit a reality, please consider donating $5 or more to Nektarina Non-Profit (the corporate sponsor cancelled after pressure from the Harper Government). Click here to donate on-line. And here’s a challenge from me –  I’ll match every $5 that one of you, my blog readers, donates (you let me know in the comment section or by email at  Let’s see what we can do!

To read more about the anti-democratic, bullying actions of the Harper Government, as well as more ideas for taking action, go to Franke James’ blog.

More links:

Nektarina Non-Profit

My Green Conscience

Franke James Needs YOUR Support

Feds Silence scientist over West Coast Salmon Study

Another Canadian Muzzled By Harper

Christopher Monckton Attempts Rebuttal of John Abraham’s Devastating Critique

It seems that Christopher Monckton’s supporters are spreading the word that Monckton has put together a slide show that responds to the one compiled by Professor John Abraham, A Scientist Replies to Christopher Monckton. I received this comment in my inbox this morning, in response to my May 28th posting Climate Change Denier Christopher Monckton’s Fabrications Eviscerated by University of Minnesota Professor . The comment, from somebody calling themselves “a friend” says “Please refer to the following for more information on this subject” and then provides a link to the Science and Public Policy website where Monckton has posted his response to John Abraham (it is also posted on Watt’s Up With That, where it is curiously titled “Abraham Climbs Down“). It should be noted that Science And Public Policy Institute is a global warming skeptics group – read more about its connections to the corporate-funded group The Frontiers of Freedom Institute on

The initial response of The Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley was to threaten Mr. Abraham with being “hauled up before whatever academic panel his Bible College [for the record, Abraham teaches at the Catholic University of St. Thomas], can muster, to answer disciplinary charges of wilful academic dishonesty amounting to gross professional misconduct unbecoming a member of his profession.” For Monckton to question the credentials and honesty of his critics is the height of irony – he has a history of claiming dubious credentials and making questionable statements. To learn more, see Monckton Tries to Incite Academic Hearing Against Author of Devastating Science-Based Evisceration of His Fabrications or Professor Abraham’s original slide show.

If you take the time to view Professor Abraham’s slide show, you will see that he maintains a professional and respectful tone throughout. It is clear that it isn’t a personal attack on Monckton as a person. Rather Abraham, as a scientist, is responding to the scientific assertions that Monckton makes in his public presentations on climate change, or more accurately his presentations that try to prove that there are no human-caused changes in the climate occurring. What comes through, over and over, in Professor Abraham’s presentation, is that the assertions that Monckton makes do not meet the widely accepted standards of science. For example, in his response to Monckton’s criticism of his critique, Professor Abraham asserted:

You suggested that your temperature graphs referencing your own organization were properly cited. I disagree. It is the obligation of a scientist to show the original source of data, your work did not meet this standard. Citing your own organization is, in my view, improper, particularly since your organization was not involved in obtaining the data.

In contrast, Monckton’s response to Professor Abraham has been vitriolic and very personal. Besides calling the University of St. Thomas a “bible college” he said “at least we are spared his face —he looks like an overcooked prawn.” Monckton, it seems,  makes a habit of threatening the livelihoods of uncooperative academics – see The Monckton Files – More Threats for more on this. Just yesterday, on the anti-climate science blog Watt’s Up With That, Monckton appealed to readers to contact the President of St. Thomas University [at least he’s stopped calling it a bible college] to ask him to take down Abraham’s talk from the University’s servers, and instigate a disciplinary inquiry. What is Monckton so afraid of, I wonder? What is it about having his claims exposed to scientific analysis that makes him so alarmed? Dr. Abraham’s debunking of Monckton’s rubbish is firmly grounded in science. No wonder Monckton is so threatened by it.

If you’d like to show Professor Abraham support in the face on Monckton’s attempts to intimidate him,  go to Hot Topic and leave your name on a comment on the post Support John Abraham. Gareth Renowden will ensure these messages of support get to Abraham’s employers.

More links:

Hate-speech Promoter Lord Monckton Tries to Censor John Abraham

Monckton exposes his rebuttal: So much blather; so little substance

Monckton Tries to Censor John Abraham

Support John Abraham against Monckton’s bullying