Friday, June 22, 2012

When Artists Fight Back - Franke James "listed" by the Government.

The latest story out of Ottawa, is about the government listing BC artist Franke James.

"Franke James, a Canadian artist, and environmental advocate, blacklisted by the Harper government has obtained internal documents indicating Canadian officials worked behind the scenes to discredit her work."

An internal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) media monitoring report from July 2011 lists James as "an inconvenient artist" ("une artiste qui dérange"), the headline of an article in La Presse. The document was part of the 1,500 pages of internal documents James obtained through Access to Information requests since August 2011.

"To be on the list of hot foreign issues, it was just shocking," James said in a telephone interview. "I'm right up there with Arctic sovereignty and Afghanistan."

This is beginning to sound frighteningly like the secretive actions that communist governments took against poets, artists and intellectuals prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The whole concept of putting a Canadian citizen on a secret government list of  "Foreign Issues" of concern, suggests that James is viewed as an outside threat and not as a citizen, living within her country.

Take a look at her. Does she look like a serious threat. I think not.

This government's attack on the freedom of the artists to express their opinions, if not, undemocratic, it suggests a draconian fear of  'the enemy within'.   About all I will say is that artists are the eyes and ears and voices of the people.

The exerpt, and pictures for this blog entry came from the Vancouver Observor. The news entry can no longer be accessed online.


  1. I've been sort of following this story about Franke James for a while, since I first heard about her being considered subversive. Unbelievable and quite scary. I'm an artist and affiliated with several environmental groups and an official Green Party member...wonder if I'm on a list too...

  2. I am sure that most of us artists are wondering the same thin g. It sounds a bit like the kind of action done by the secret police in former countries. I produce this blog? Is CSIS sniffing around it now? Our faith in democracy is being eroded, isn't it?

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  4. It really shatters our trust and faith in Canadian democracy doesn't it? What is free speech when you end up on a secret list because you criticize the government? No wonders so many artists are speaking out.


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