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Is fear of the “Dirty Oil” label behind Canada’s tarring of Artist’s European tour?

FRanke James Banned on The Hill and in Europe

Banned on the Hill (and in Europe!)
Canadian Government secretly undermined support for
European climate change education project

Canada’s Climate Change office in Ottawa, secretly worked to undermine a 20-city European climate change education project featuring Canadian artist Franke James. Is concern over the EU Fuel Directive underlying this action? Or is it related to the upcoming COP17 talks in Durban?

Internal Canadian government documents, released through an Access To Information request, confirm that Foreign Affairs Canada initially approved token support for the project, but was then over-ruled by the Deputy Director of Climate Change at Foreign Affairs, Jeremy Wallace, who cancelled funding and refused to offer even "moral support".

The tour's Croatian producer, Nektarina Non Profit, said they "felt patronized and even intimidated". Canadian Embassy officials warned Nektarina not to continue with the Franke James exhibitions, saying "Don't you know this lady speaks against the Canadian government?" 

Government spokespeople denied to the media that support was ever given or withdrawn for this project. However internal government documents show their statements to be misleading and at times false. The actual reasons for Canada's withdrawal of support are redacted in the released documents, under Section 15(1) of Canada's Access to Information Act, indicating that its release could be “injurious” to matters of international affairs and defence for Canada.

The Artist's Response: Banned on the Hill (and in Europe!)

When her European tour was finally called off, artist Franke James was resolute, "I will not be cancelled by the Harper Government." Franke decided to fight back using her creativity and social-media savvy. Franke spread the word on Twitter, and then launched Canada's first crowd-funded media campaign at to bring her art to the Prime Minister's doorstep. Her outdoor art show featuring the "banned art" is up on backlit ad posters on the streets of Ottawa for the month of November. 

Franke James' story, Banned on the Hill (and in Europe!), is published at:

Call-to-action: Don't Let Canada Get Away With This Silencing of Environmental Voices! 

Franke is available for interviews about the government interference, and how it relates to the government's efforts to control messaging around the Alberta Oil Sands and their pattern of silencing environmental messengers. She is also looking for European newspapers and blogs which will feature the visual essay,  Banned on the Hill (and in Europe!).

Canada's Edmonton Journal published the news:

Government officials killed funding for Canadian artist: documents‎
“But newly released documents obtained under access-to-information legislation show that Department of Foreign Affairs officials did initially earmark funding for James’ show, only to withdraw their support days later, citing, among their reasons, that it “would run counter to Canada’s interest.”


Access to Information documents
Highlights from the Access to Information documents: Canada’s Climate Change office secretly killed approval for Franke ... 


Contact Franke James: 416-256-9166 (studio) Email:

For more information: Twitter:

Franke James is an award-winning Canadian artist whose visual essays on environmental and social issues have been reviewed and showcased around the world. She is the author of the illustrated book, Bothered by My Green Conscience. Franke has presented her art workshops in Canada and the United States, inspiring students and educators, corporate leaders and NGOs, and even government ministries, to do "the hardest thing first" to save our planet. Franke has received awards and support from Telefilm Canada, the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, the Banff Centre, and others. She is a member of the Writers Union of Canada, PEN Canada and CARFAC. Franke has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria. She launched her artistic career in 1987 by conceiving and curating Painting the Town, the award-winning, national billboard art show sponsored by Manufacturers Life.


Background Information

Franke James Blacklisted by the Harper Government:

Highlights from the Access to Information documents: 
Canada’s Climate Change office secretly killed approval for Franke ... (with link to entire ATIP)

Franke's LoudSauce campaign to crowd-fund outdoor media in Ottawa

Support for Franke James

"Your Banned on the Hill campaign is very powerful. The fact that you're getting people online to drive something to happen in a real space is profoundly different and potentially disruptive. It will be even more meaningful, than perhaps the show would have been in Europe, for the culture of Canada, for the conversation around what's important, and for how we combat climate change. I'm super inspired. Hoping that we can really inspire others to rock in the same way, and change the world." ~ Colin Mutchler, Co-Founder, LoudSauce

"Franke James is among the tiny handful of really powerful and profound artists who have taken on climate change - the most important topic on the planet, but one so big and all-encompassing that it often defies artistic interpretation. Her work is incredibly important for many of us around the world." ~ Bill McKibben, founder,

"Franke James' commitment to art, free expression and political commentary put her in the cross-hairs of the Harper Government. Come and see what the government didn't want the world to see." ~ Elizabeth May, MP Saanich, Leader of the Green Party of Canada


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