Franke James on “The View Up Here” with @canadianglen

by Franke James


November 23, 2016 – Today at 6pm PT, I’ll be back on the view to chat with host Canadian Glen. I was honoured to be his first guest on The View Up Here two years ago, and now many, many interviews later, I’m going to be his 107th! (Go here to listen to today’s show)

I’ll be chatting with Canadian Glen on what’s happened since. And how I put my experience of being censored by the Harper government to good use (they don’t teach this in school!). I’ve learned so much about how to file freedom of information requests, crowd-fund to shine a bright light on the censorship, and rally supporters from around the world. It’s a helluva an education…

Here are some of the issues we’ll discuss. And some of the music that’s inspired me.

Never shut up: Fighting for Freedom of Expression and against Surveillance


joshpaterson_sept24_zeOpening remarks by Josh Paterson, September 2015: “We believe it is a critical time for free expression in this country. In just the last two years, cities have passed laws curtailing the right to demonstrate, scientists in employ of the government have had their voices muzzled, and ‘anti-terrorism’ laws are being used to limit our rights to free speech.

Franke’s work calls on Canadians to engage in an important public policy conversation, and her own story of censorship is an important reminder of why we must work vigilantly to protect free expression. Not only that, but Franke is a fantastic example of how to shine a bright light on censorship, fight back, and come out of the experience stronger than ever.” ~ Josh Paterson, Executive Director, BCCLA
Art for a Cause – BC Civil Liberties


I learned first hand about freedom of expression by having my rights trampled — by the government. My book Banned On The Hill was published in Spring 2013. The Guardian UK wrote about it saying,

Artist finds inspiration in Canadian government’s attempt to silence her – by Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent, The Guardian UK:
“Visual essays by Franke James reveal how the ‘troublesome artist’ was targeted because her views on climate change clashed with the push to develop Alberta’s tar sands… But there is apparently one woman whom the government can’t shut up: the Toronto environmental writer, illustrator and activist Franke James, who turned the efforts to silence her into material for a new book. Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship, released this week, shows how Canadian bureaucrats tried to silence James because her views on climate change clashed with the Harper government’s push to develop Alberta’s tar sands. The story is told through visual essays as well as official emails obtained by James, in which government bureaucrats discuss the troublesome artist and her work”.

Photo of Franke James by Fred Chartrand

Pen Canada / Ken Filkow Prize Spring 2015:
“James’ struggle shows what lengths the government will go to in order to suppress dissent on key policy issues,” said William Kowalski, chair of PEN Canada’s Canadian Issues Committee. “It shows what certain leaders will try to get away with when they think no one is watching, and it shows just how important one voice can be when it comes to speaking the truth.”

Oh No Canada! Six Easy Ways to Crush Free Expression

  • Redact the Truth — To Conceal Censorship
  • Flag Activists — For Spin Control
  • Classify Art– as a Threat to National Security
  • Sow Contempt — To Justify Hatred
  • Shut Her Down — No One Will Know
  • Blacklist Everybody — Who Questions Government Policies

At the same 2014 BCCLA Awards where I got an award, Edward Snowden showed up (on video link) and congratulated the journalists, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Barton D. Gellman, and Glenn Greenwald, who did the Guardian UK story.

The Real Poop on Social Change

If you want a quick primer on how I reacted to the censorship and surveillance, watch my opening remarks for my art show, “The Real Poop on Social Change”, Oct 2014.

“I never realized how much at risk we are. And how important free expression is in a democracy. But being told to shut up about such an important issue, really brought it home. And so, I’m not going to thank Stephen Harper for blacklisting me, however, (laughs) I have learned an awful lot.Now I know how to file an access to information request. And how to drill down into all those people and who they are.

And so, I’ve had a certain amount of fun in going through all of this. And it’s such a kick to realize that the bureaucrats thought that they could shut me up by preventing my work from being shown on walls in Europe. And going “No, I’m sorry. I’m going to take that work which is digital, and we’re going to put it right in your face in Ottawa, right around the corner from the Parliament buildings. And we’re going to show people, and we’re going to get people talking.” Because so many Canadians have their head buried in the tar sands about the issue of climate change. They are not getting the facts about climate change. They don’t understand the risk. And that’s why it’s important to have messengers like me…” Franke James at The Dock, October 2014

Human Rights Should Be For Everybody

human rights should be for everybody

PETITION: 26,000 have signed Teresa Pocock’s petiton
Human Rights Should Be For Everybody. Forced into LongTerm Care at 49, my sister with Down syndrome wants apology.

“I am alive! I am reborn in Gastown!” says author and artist Teresa Pocock.

Pretty Amazing

PrettyAmazingCover_postTeresa Pocock is an artist and poet living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. In 2016, she won a DTES Small Arts Grant from the Vancouver Foundation which enabled her to create her first book, Pretty Amazing: How I found myself in the Downtown Eastside. Teresa exhibited 18 “Pretty Amazing” artworks as 4ft x 5ft posters in her first solo show at Gallery Gachet which launched on June 29, and wrapped up on July 2.

As a self-advocate with Down syndrome, Teresa presented her story, I Love My Human Rights, at the 2016 Canadian Down Syndrome Conference in Montreal. Teresa is a member of the BC Civil Liberties Association, Gallery Gachet, Inclusion BC, Family Support Institute of BC, and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. She loves chicken pie, word play and spotting the big boats in the Burrard Inlet.

Where to buy Teresa Pocock’s book:
Pretty Amazing: How I Found Myself in the Downtown Eastside is available on Amazon and in Kindle and Apple iBook formats.


BCCLA wrote to the Ontario Ministry of Health re: Violation of Teresa Pocock’s #HumanRights “We are gravely concerned that the government, through its actions, appears to condone the forced placement and mistreatment of developmentally-disabled adults.”

“I Am Alive” by Teresa Pocock


Sep 23, 2016 – “Dear Minister Hoskins, Please send me a letter”
My sister Teresa steped forward as a self-advocate. She has written a letter to Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins asking him to please send her a letter!


Peter Gabriel, The Veil from Snowden, The Movie

The Police – “Every breath you take” I’m watching you
The View Up Here 2014

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