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6 Posters by Franke James, Canada's Blacklisted Climate Activist Artist

"Banned by Canada!"

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From October through November, bus stops in Washington, D.C. are displaying a series of provocative posters like this one, which depicts the Canadian government's alleged silencing of tar sands critics. The illustrations are the work of Canadian environmental artist Franke James, pictured in the poster.

Three years ago, James found her name on an "enemy list" of the Canadian government for her activism. Since then, she has dedicated her work to exposing efforts by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government to undermine scientific understanding of climate change and restrict the flow of information about the climate and environmental impacts of the tar sands.

"No Keystone XL"

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In this poster, an oil-soaked eagle sits atop the U.S. Capitol Building with the words "No Keystone XL" in bold letters.

James' six-poster exhibit, known as the "Oh No Canada!" series, coincided with an October lobbying visit by Canadian environmentalists to persuade the Obama administration and other officials to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

"Do not talk about climate change"

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This poster sheds light on the Harper administration's attempts to silence advocates of climate action and critics of its tar sands policy, including James.

After hearing rumors that the Canadian government played a role in canceling one of her art shows in Europe, James filed an Access to Information request for the release of all government correspondence regarding her and her art. The documents showed that James was on Harper's "blacklist." Content of an email from a government official about James can be seen in this poster.

"Oh Canada, what's going down?"

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This poster seeks to depict the environmental and human damage already being caused by the development of the Alberta tar sands. It also illustrates the possible damage that could arise from future pipeline spills if lines carrying tar sands crude, such as the Keystone XL, are approved.

"Canada's carbon pollution is rising"

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According to many scientists, Alberta’s booming tar sands industry is spewing dangerous levels of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. "Canada is breaking its promise to match USA reduction targets," James' poster says, showing an oil-loving "bureaucat" who resembles Stephen Harper releasing a cloud of CO2 into the air.

"Canada is the dirty old man"

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This poster depicts Stephen Harper clad in an oil drum. It seeks to convey just how carbon-intensive and polluting heavy tar sands oil can be compared to conventional oil.

"Producing tar sands oil up to 350% dirtier! than producing convention oil," the poster says in the top left corner. "Keystone XL Guaranteed pipeline spills! Kalamazoo clean-up costs $1 billion!" it says in the top right.