What is Harper Afraid Of?

What is Harper Afraid Of?
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By Franke James

UPDATE: Watch the animated video version here.

Hey Mr Prime Minister What are You Afraid of

Are you afraid of rivers that turn black and run into the sea, writing and illustration by Franke James Are you afraid of birds falling from a heavy sky, writing and illustration by Franke James Are you afraid of people fleeing from a toxic land, writing and illustration by Franke James Or are you most afraid of Alberta tar sands oil being labeled dirty, writing and illustration by Franke James I can tell you what I am afraid of, writing and type-illustration by Franke James, photo by Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild I am afraid of your plans to build the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline through the Rocky Mountains, writing and type-illustration by Franke James, photo by Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild And the Great Bear Rainforest, writing and type-illustration by Franke James, photo by Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild Does that make me a radical? No way, writing and type-illustration by Franke James, photo by Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild But Joe Oliver says anyone who questions the pipeline is a radical. That is radical, writing and type-illustration by Franke James, Scan of Joe Oliver flyer Fear not! I did not take that name-calling to heart. I sent Joe a Valentine asking for a meeting. On March 3rd my husband and I met with Joe, Valentine illustration by Franke James, Photo of Joe Oliver by Franke James, photo of Franke by Billiam James I asked Joe a Fundamental question, what bothers your green conscience, Photo-illustration of Joe Oliver by Franke James Joe said 'I don't think in those terms. My impact as the Minister of Natural Resources is much bigger than as an individual, Photo-illustration of Joe Oliver by Franke James Which is Exactly what I am afraid of, Writing and illustration by Franke James With all the changes you're making, list of changes, Writing and illustration by Franke James We could be hit with some major environmental catastrophes, Writing and Black Swan Canada Flag illustration by Franke James It is like you have declared war on Mother Nature, Writing and Harper Oil Barrel War on Nature illustration by Franke James It is like you have declared war on Mother Nature, Writing and Harper Oil Barrel War on Nature illustration by Franke James Joe told me, 'I am someone who likes to gather the facts, Joe Oliver Facts illustration by Franke James Joe told me, 'I am influenced by what objective scientists have to say, and you know government policy has to be grounded in a factual basis'; Quote from March 3, 2012 meeting, Joe Oliver Facts illustration by Franke James Which all sounds great but then why is the Harper Government muzzling scientists, Muzzled scientists illustration by Franke James

Joe says he likes facts, so I shared some facts with him --- like how the B.C. coastline has had a 40 year ban on tankers because the waters are so treacherous; writing and type-illustration by Franke James, photo by Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild And how the tankers are as long as the Empire State Building is tall.; writing and type-illustration by Franke James, photo of Empire State Building by Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia And how the route to Kitimat is very skinny with many hairpin turns which are tricky for big tankers; Living Oceans Map of Tanker route to Kitimat; writing and type by Franke James, map illustration by Living Oceans Map in detail And Joe replied, 'I don’t know the answers to that question. I’m not a scientist, so that’s why we’re getting an independent evaluation.'; Quote from March 3, 2012 meeting, Joe Oliver illustration by Franke James The independent evaluation sounded good -- but since then you've squashed their power.; Alice illustration and writing by Franke James And now Joe and your cabinet are making the final decision; Harper with cabinet illustration by Franke James But Joe is not qualified to decide; Joe Oliver and Alice illustration by Franke James Everything you discuss in cabinet is SECRET; Secret cabinet illustration by Franke James Alberta and Big Oil will be making trillions; Harper Dirty Oil illustration by Franke James, Photo Syncrude 2007 -12 Photo © 2007 David Dodge, CPAWS But B.C. will be facing huge risks; type illustration by Franke James, photo of Great Bear Rainforest Fog by Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild One big spill could wipe out B.C.’s entire tax revenue of $1.2 billion -- which is forecast over 30 years; writing by Franke James; Dogwood Initiative 'No Tankers Loonie Decal'; Photo of tshirt with Sinking Feeling About Enbridge courtesy Living Oceans Org One big spill could wipe out B.C.’s entire tax revenue of $1.2 billion -- which is forecast over 30 years; writing by Franke James; Dogwood Initiative 'No Tankers Loonie Decal'; Photo 'Ultimately, US citizens ended up paying the additional costs.' source: What’s at Stake? the Cost of Oil on British Columbia’s Priceless Coast; Raincoast Conservation Foundation. 2010. Queen of the North illustration by Franke James based on archival photographs And the real truth is... clean up costs cannot bring the birds, fish and whales back to life. Writing Franke James; Photo of oiled Birds killed as a result of oil from the Exxon Valdez spill. Photo courtesy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council; Wikimedia. Or the Spirit Bear who is dependent on the salmon; type and fish illustration by Franke James, photo of Spirit Bear by Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild There's a whole circle of life that includes people.; Circle of Life illustration by Franke James, Photo Wikimedia NOAA Oil Sheen From Valdez Spill So, here's a question for you... Would you let your family eat the fish or drink the water from the Athabasca River? Illustration by Franke James When I asked Joe, he told me, 'I do not know enough about the Athabasca River. I would want to know from the government whether it is safe to do that.' Quote from March 3, 2012 meeting, Joe Oliver illustration by Franke James Isnt it Joes responsibility as the Minister in charge of the oil sands mining to know if his oil sands are polluting the air, land or water?; Alice illustration by Franke James How Can Joe Not Know Photo-Illustration features Alice illustration by Franke James with photo of Suncor upgrader complex adjacent to the Athabasca River © 2002 Chris Evans, Pembina Institute Take a look at this Environment Canada report on the oil sands pollution. It’s labeled 'secret'; Alice illustration by Franke James
Link to secret report
When I showed it to Joe, he said, 'Its secret to me too.' At first Joe said it must have come out before he was appointed. And then he said, 'Its not my Ministry.' Quote from March 3, 2012 meeting, Joe Oliver illustration by Franke James So I reminded him that the news of the contaminated fish was reported in 2010. And then Joe admitted, 'Yeah, yeah Ive heard something.' Quote from March 3, 2012 meeting, Joe Oliver riding a fish illustration by Franke James. Fish photo research archive David Schindler In 2010, Dr. David Schindler presented evidence of deformed fish. Schindler told me he would NOT drink the Athabasca River water near the tar sands. Photo of Dr David Schindler by Ed Kaiser, Edmonton Journal The internal government report says, 'Contamination of the Athabasca River is a high-profile concern... elevated levels of pollutants near mining sites raise questions about possible effects on health of wildlife and downstream communities.' photo-illustration by Franke James Mr. Prime Minister, This is a BIG problem. And this secret report shows that Environment Canada KNOWS it is a big problem; photo-illustration by Franke James Just recently, a BBC news article reported that the Cree Lake Nation are taking fish out of the water that have cancerous tumors on them; photo-illustration by Franke James It seems that the government has been hiding from the truth; photo-illustration by Franke James, Tar Sands photo background: Syncrude 2007 -12 Photo copyright 2007 David Dodge, CPAWS The fact is, you’ve got people who are eating contaminated fish. And that’s wrong; photo-illustration by Franke James The fact is, you’ve got people who are eating contaminated fish. And that’s wrong; photo-illustration by Franke James Mr Harper I know what you are really afraid of; photo-illustration by Franke James, Tar Sands photo background: Syncrude oil sands plant at night; Photo copyright 2005 David Dodge, The Pembina Institute You’re afraid of dead ducks -- illustration by Franke James You are afraid of spirit bears because they inspire everyone to care about Canada's wilderness. (And say no to the pipeline.); Spirit Bear illustration by Franke James you are afraid of killer whales because First Nations are asserting their rights to protect their land, water and way of life; Killer Whale illustration by Franke James. Photo of First Nations protest courtesy Living Oceans Org But you’re most afraid of beavers. (that's us hard working Canadians who are toiling away like busy beavers). Because we are waking up... Harper Dirty Oil and Busy beaver illustration by Franke James But you are most afraid of beavers. (that's us hard working Canadians who are toiling away like busy beavers). Because we are waking up... Harper Dirty Oil and Busy beaver illustration by Franke James Please Mr Harper Don't Put the Pipeline Through the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild, type illustration by Franke James Please Mr Harper Stop Polluting the Pond. Photo David Dodge, type illustration by Franke James

Make Harper really afraid, illustration by Franke James Call your Member of Parliment! illustration by Franke James

Visual Essay Credits

Hey Mister Prime Minister, What are You Afraid Of?” © 2012 Franke James
Writing and illustration by Franke James (see additional photo credits below).
Transcript: Features quotes from Franke James’ March 3, 2012 interview with Joe Oliver, Federal Minister of Natural Resources.

Franke James is an award-winning artist whose illustrated essays on environmental and social issues have been reviewed and showcased around the world. In November 2011, James’ art show “Banned on the Hill” appeared in Ottawa, around the corner from Parliament Hill. The crowd-funded billboard show protested the silencing of environmental voices by the Harper Government. James is the author of the illustrated book, Bothered by My Green Conscience, and a member of the Writers Union of Canada, PEN Canada and CARFAC. She has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria and lives in Toronto. For more information see: http://www.frankejames.com. Franke on Twitter: http://twitter.com/frankejames

TAKE ACTION:

The Green Party of Canada: Sign the Petition to Stop Bill C-38
Lead Now: Tell Finance Minister Jim Flaherty: Stop the Budget Bill from Selling Out Canada’s Natural Heritage and Economy
Dogwood Initiative: Sign the No Tankers Petition
Avaaz Petition: No Enbridge Tankers/Pipeline in BC Great Bear Rainforest!
Support Environmental Groups: Blackout Speakout on June 4th
Pacific Wild’s Action Tips: Writing Letters to Local and National Newspapers

Thank you to the following organizations for photos and resources:

Pacific Wild
All Great Bear Rainforest photos © Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild

How did they vote?
Member of Parliament “look up” API technology: How did they vote?

Living Oceans Society
Living Oceans photo: T-Shirt with “I have this Sinking Feeling about Enbridge”
Living Oceans photo of First Nations “We say no to Enbridge” protest
Living Oceans Map of Proposed Tanker Route to Kitimat

Pembina Institute
Tar Sands Mining Photo: © David Dodge, Pembina Institute
Photo: Suncor upgrader complex adjacent to Athabasca River © 2002 Chris Evans, Pembina

Dogwood Initiative: No-Tankers Loonie decal

Additional photos used with permission
Dr David Schindler photo: Ed Kaiser, Edmonton Journal
Syncrude 2007 -12 photo © 2007 David Dodge, CPAWS
Empire State Building photo © Daniel Schwen, 2008, Wikimedia
Oil Sheen From Valdez Spill photo Wikimedia © NOAA
Dead Oil Covered Birds Photo © Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council; Wikimedia.

Selected Background Research:

Oil Sands Pollution, Pipelines and Tankers:

Silencing the Scientists (The Shortlist)

Silencing Franke James

RESEARCH, NEWS AND REPORTS:

2012:

2011 News:

2010 News:

What is Harper Afraid Of?

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