What is Harper afraid of?

By Franke James

Hey Mr Prime Minister What are You Afraid ofAre you afraid of rivers that turn black and run into the sea, writing and illustration by Franke JamesAre you afraid of birds falling from a heavy sky, writing and illustration by Franke JamesAre you afraid of people fleeing from a toxic land, writing and illustration by Franke JamesOr are you most afraid of Alberta tar sands oil being labeled dirty, writing and illustration by Franke JamesI can tell you what I am afraid of, writing and type-illustration by Franke James, photo by Ian McAllister, Pacific WildI 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 WildAnd the Great Bear Rainforest, writing and type-illustration by Franke James, photo by Ian McAllister, Pacific WildDoes that make me a radical? No way, writing and type-illustration by Franke James, photo by Ian McAllister, Pacific WildBut 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 flyerFear 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 JamesI asked Joe a Fundamental question, what bothers your green conscience, Photo-illustration of Joe Oliver by Franke JamesJoe 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 JamesWhich is Exactly what I am afraid of, Writing and illustration by Franke JamesWith all the changes you're making, list of changes, Writing and illustration by Franke JamesWe could be hit with some major environmental catastrophes, Writing and Black Swan Canada Flag illustration by Franke JamesIt is like you have declared war on Mother Nature, Writing and Harper Oil Barrel War on Nature illustration by Franke JamesIt is like you have declared war on Mother Nature, Writing and Harper Oil Barrel War on Nature illustration by Franke JamesJoe told me, 'I am someone who likes to gather the facts, Joe Oliver Facts illustration by Franke JamesJoe 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 JamesWhich 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 WildAnd 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 WikimediaAnd 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 JamesThe independent evaluation sounded good -- but since then you've squashed their power.; Alice illustration and writing by Franke JamesAnd now Joe and your cabinet are making the final decision; Harper with cabinet illustration by Franke JamesBut Joe is not qualified to decide; Joe Oliver and Alice illustration by Franke JamesEverything you discuss in cabinet is SECRET; Secret cabinet illustration by Franke JamesAlberta and Big Oil will be making trillions; Harper Dirty Oil illustration by Franke James, Photo Syncrude 2007 -12 Photo © 2007 David Dodge, CPAWSBut B.C. will be facing huge risks; type illustration by Franke James, photo of Great Bear Rainforest Fog by Ian McAllister, Pacific WildOne 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 OrgOne 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 photographsAnd 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 WildThere'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 JamesWhen 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 JamesIsnt 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 JamesHow 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 InstituteTake 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 JamesSo 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 SchindlerIn 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 JournalThe 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 JamesMr. 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 JamesJust 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 JamesIt 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, CPAWSThe fact is, you’ve got people who are eating contaminated fish. And that’s wrong; photo-illustration by Franke JamesThe fact is, you’ve got people who are eating contaminated fish. And that’s wrong; photo-illustration by Franke JamesMr 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 InstituteYou’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 Jamesyou 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 OrgBut 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 JamesBut 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 JamesPlease Mr Harper Don't Put the Pipeline Through the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo Ian McAllister, Pacific Wild, type illustration by Franke JamesPlease Mr Harper Stop Polluting the Pond. Photo David Dodge, type illustration by Franke James

Make Harper really afraid, illustration by Franke JamesCall 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: https://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:

2010 News:

Can Whack the PM accurately predict Canada’s federal election results?

Whack the PM is the election polling game no leader wants to win.

So far our track record is 100%. Can we do it again in 2008? We need your help.

In 2004, Stephen Harper received the most number of whacks, giving him the dubious distinction of being the most despised leader. Whack the PM predicted that Harper would lose the election. And he did. (Click on the image to view it bigger.)

whack the pm final results screen from 2004

You can also read an analysis of the results: 2004 Whack the PM Summary. It shows the issues the leaders were getting whacked for. And the differences by region, right across Canada.

In the 2006 election, Paul Martin received the most number of whacks. We predicted that he would go down to defeat. And he did. Uncanny but true. Correct for both elections.

whack the pm final results screen from 2006

Will Whack the PM accurately predict election results for 2008?

We don’t know. As of today, September 17th, Stephen Harper is leading, which would mean he’ll lose the election. But that can’t be right can it? All of the official polls have Stephen Harper winning the election. So, we’ll just to have to wait and see.

Add your voice by playing www.whackthepm.ca

Summary:

Whack the PM, an online polling game and strategic voting tool at www.whackthepm.ca, is helping Canadians address the election issues and decide who they should vote against.

Whack the PM puts the leaders of the five top parties in a simmering hot tub with tough questions about global warming, the economy, leadership, food safety, Afghanistan, minority governments and the kicker — “All politicians are liars. Why should I trust you?”

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2004 and 2006 Media Buzz on Whack the PM:

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“www.whackthepm.ca, created by the clever and irreverent minds of Bill and Franke James of Toronto’s The James Gang, not only sweetens an otherwise humourless campaign, but also ties a fun game to a (highly informal) poll.” Jack Kapica, The Globe and Mail

“Arguably the most fun un-scientific election prognosticator is the Web site “Whack the PM!” run by the James Gang…” Tom Blackwell, The National Post

“Hot: Whack the PM. The Internet election game has been a big hit during this campaign, and not only in Canada. Recent statistics show that 33 U.S. Government employees have even played the game as well as 230 people in Britain and 11 in Switzerland. Says the game’s operator, Franke James: “I thought the Swiss were neutral.” Jane Taber, The Globe and Mail

2006 Articles:
Jane Taber: Whack the PM is HOT
National Post: Whack the PM is Front Page News
Jack Kapica: Whack-a-pol: Here’s an election poll nobody wants to win