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Censored Canadian Artist Launches Anti-Tar Sands Art Show in Washington DC

For Immediate Release: October 3, 2013
Contact: Jake Thompson
Email: jthompson [at] nrdc.org
Tel: 202-289-2387

Censored Canadian Artist Launches Anti-Tar Sands Art Show in Washington DC

Washington, DC – Franke James, a Canadian environmental writer, illustrator and activist is bringing her protest art show to DC in the form of a series of bus stop advertisements along Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenue.

The five-figure ad buy will run through November, and features six pieces of art in protest of Canada’s attempts to silence environmental voices, including hers. The bus stop locations are at 7th & Pennsylvania NW, 10th & Pennsylvania NW, 8th & Pennsylvania SE, 7th & Constitution NW, and 15th & Constitution NW.

One poster shows the Canadian Parliament Buildings dropped into the tar sands with the words, “Do Not Talk about Climate Change. It Is Against Canada’s Policy.” Another uses text from The Guardian that says, “Canada Is The Dirty Old Man” and features a Stephen Harper caricature wearing a trench coat and revealing his tar sands oil barrel undergarments.

“Canadians’ right to free expression is being quietly eroded by a pro-oil government insistent on promoting tar sands and silencing anyone who might interfere with those plans,” said Franke James. “Rather than the friendly neighbor to the north, Canada has become the dirty old man.”

James is part of a Canadian delegation that will be in Washington, DC next week for high-level meetings and to share the Canadian perspective of the Harper government, tar sands, and climate change.

Under the government of Stephen Harper, Canada has been cracking down on dissenting voices, including scientists, activists, and artists. Documents show that James fell victim to this aggressive censorship when her 20-city European art show was cancelled as a direct result of behind-the-scenes government interference by high-level bureaucrats, including the Deputy Director of Climate Change, Jeremy Wallace, a Canadian Ambassador Scott Heatherington and a Senior Trade Commissioner in Berlin Thomas Marr.

James has vigorously and creatively fought back against the government’s interference and censorship calling it an infringement on her right to free expression. James used freedom of information laws to obtain 2,172 internal government documents concerning herself, and used those documents as the basis for Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship, the book in which James tells how she first discovered she was being censored by the Canadian government—and how she fought back.

Just this week, James participated in a Toronto event to honor the Chinese activist artist Ai Weiwei and pay tribute to his relentless pursuit of free expression, where she gave a presentation titled “Four Warnings Signs that Free Expression is at Risk in Canada.”

Franke James will be giving an illustrated talk, “Speaking up for the climate and against censorship” at Georgetown University on Wednesday, October 9th at 6:30pm. It is open to the public.

The delegation, featuring some of Canada’s leading environmental leaders, including Dr. David Suzuki and Tzeporah Berman, will participate in a briefing at the National Press Club on Friday, October 11th from 9:00-10:30 am about Canada’s failed climate policies, anti-democratic actions, and tar sands expansion goals.

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Prominent Canadians visit Washington DC to share the truth about Canada’s record


Oh No Canada! Six Poster Locations

No Keystone Eagle
Pennsylvania east of 10th, Washington DC. (Oct 3 to Nov 26)
Do Not Talk About Climate Change
Pennsylvania west of 7th ST F/W Washington DC.(Oct 8 to Nov 4)
Canada Is the Dirty Old Man
Pennsylvania west of 8th St SE, Washington DC. (Oct 8 to Nov 4)
Canada’s Carbon Pollution Is Rising
Constitution Ave east of 15th., Washington D.C. (Oct 29 to Nov 26)
Oh Canada, What’s Going Down?
7th south of Constitution Ave., Washington D.C. (Oct 29 to Nov 26)
Banned By Canada
Pennsylvania 100ft. east of 10th St. NW, Washington D.C. (Oct 29 to Nov 26)

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