Banned Artist Raises Questions About Freedom & Climate Change
With the birth and international growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protection of human and civil rights has once again become part of our dialogue as a species.
With people being pepper sprayed and physically assaulted in an effort to silence their protest, it would seem like a piece of artwork would be the last of the 1%’s worries. But in Canada, an environmental artist is at the center of what seems like a coordinated government effort to prevent its citizens from learning about climate change.
Franke James‘ popular visual essays – about rising emissions, loafing leaders and her personal responses to our environmental challenges – have earned her a spot on the Harper Government’s blacklist. Earlier this year, Franke’s 20-city European art tour was cancelled after interference by the Harper Government.
In media interviews, the Harper Government has denied any interference saying, “funding was never withdrawn nor was it guaranteed.” However, internal government documents, released this week through the Access To Information Act, show that funding was approved and then withdrawn under orders from the Deputy Director of Climate Change at Foreign Affairs.
PEN Canada and the Writers’ Union of Canada recently expressed their concern over the Government censorship.
“The government of Canada has no right to determine what is an acceptable opinion for an individual citizen, on climate change or any matter of public interest,” said Charlie Foran, President of PEN Canada, “To do so is clearly not in the spirit of the Charter and the long history of freedom of expression in Canada.”
Greg Hollingshead, Chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada, “The right to freedom of expression includes freedom from official disapproval, including the sort of bureaucratic interference encountered by Franke James.”
Why would the Canadian government feel so threatened by an art exhibit about climate change? Could it have something to do with the country’s massive tar sands oil deposits that several energy companies are just itching to exploit?
Each barrel of oil extracted from the tar sands creates three times the global warming pollution as conventional oil. In fact, oil sands are now the fastest growing source of global warming pollution in Canada. They are also one of the most expensive forms of gasoline on the planet.
Could it be that the United States isn’t the only country to be controlled by the profit-obsessed fossil fuel industry?
Please take the time to read the in-depth reports about blacklisted artist Franke James published previously on Care2, and sign the petition to end Canada’s attempt to keep its citizens in the dark about climate change.
Image Credit: frankejames.com