Carol Linnitt is Managing Editor and Director of Research for DeSmog Canada.
Carol Linnitt: I'm Carol Linnitt. I am the Managing Editor and Director of Research at DeSmog Canada.
Those early days of Franke's bed bug biting... (laughing) Who helped her perform, access to information requests that showed her how the government was talking about her behind the scenes. I think Franke, in that regard, was way ahead of the curve. I don't think anyone a few years ago would have anticipated that going into this next year, before the next federal election, that some of the major issues Canadians would be concerned about and talking about would be things like democracy and freedom of expression, and freedom of the press. I don't think we would have anticipated the headlines over the last little while saying "Harper's Enemy List," or "Muzzling Of Scientists," or, "Politically Motivated Audits."
In 2006 we had new communications protocols put into place that prevented our scientists from talking to the public, from talking to members of the media like myself. I'll tell any of you stories of what it's like to get an interview with an Environment Canada scientist, it's super interesting. Also, getting an access to information request on that, very revealing. That was in 2006. In 2012, we saw the new omnibus budget bill go through that eliminated a huge portion of our environmental laws, and at the same time, dedicated millions of dollars to investigating and auditing our most vocal, environmental charities. And these are people who are helping get the message out. These are the people who help balance the scales of democracy, that organize on behalf of citizens and individuals to represent our concerns in the political realm. Those groups have been silenced. They're intimidated. They're not speaking up.
So, in steps, Franke… Someone like Franke James, I, when she asked me to write a little quote for her this evening, I said "you know, the government thought that they could silence its citizen.They just chose the wrong one with Franke James." She was obviously the wrong person to try and silence. She's made that abundantly clear again and again and again. She's, in the absence of our journalists losing their jobs and our scientists being muzzled, Franke James has put up that poster, "Do not talk about climate change," across the street from Parliament in Ottawa. She put up that same poster across the street from the White House in Washington DC. She's taking this message with her everywhere. And she's clearly not stopping. And she's got a lot of support. A lot of that support's here in this room.
So, as someone who is, day-in and day-out trying to communicate these types of issues about climate, about environment, we often talk about, how do we talk about the things we want to talk about. We talk about that all the time before we talk about them. And I think Franke has, has stumbled across this amazing and very unique combination of creativity and powerful messaging. And it's not something that everyone can do.
In a dream world Franke would be teamed up with every single climate scientist across the planet to come up with these types of ways to convey messaging. And if you go into her website and you look at the comment sections beneath her, her posters, it's really inspiring. People are asking deep questions about, "Okay, okay, you've got my attention, now what? What's the next step?" And for an artist that is, I mean what better thing could you inspire in somebody who's seen your artwork?
And, Franke is an amazing person, as well as an amazing artist. And I really believe that art is, it not only shows us our world, but it brings new worlds into existence. And that is when the most precious things that art can do, that, that scientists and pie charts can't necessarily do. So what a great role that you're playing for all of us. And you are such an important voice in Canada, and it's really an honor to be here with you in Victoria. Welcome to the, the best side of the country. (laughing) And it's great to be here with everybody in this room celebrating you. So, thank you Franke.