Book Review: Banned on the Hill by Franke James

How to catch the eye of friends who ignore our climate plight?

Put this on your coffee table, even your kids will pick it up:

What would you do if you discovered you were blacklisted by your own government for speaking up on climate change and the tar sands? In Banned on the Hill, artist and author Franke James, tells how she first discovered she was being censored by the Canadian government — and how she fought back.

It’s an inspiring story that shows how creativity, crowd-funding and investigative digging can work together to shine a bright light on a government that is more interested in message control than a citizen’s democratic right to free expression. Through eight visual essays, James traces her personal journey as an active citizen discovering the power of speaking out. Interviewed in the Guardian UK newspaper James said that she hoped the book would serve as a how-to guide to other activists hoping to take on the Harper administration, especially with humour. “It’s kind of like a judo flip, meaning that you can actually flip someone who is much bigger than you.”

In Banned on the Hill, Franke James assembles her funny yet factual visual essays on her observations, evidence, and experience as an everyday Canadian who is losing her identity: Canada the free-thinker; Canada the conscientious; Canada the conservationist.

Not only does James express the sense of helplessness felt by so many Canadians fighting to protect treasured natural landscapes and resources, she also exposes the Harper Government’s flagrant censorship of public employees (elected Ministers included) and publicly funded scientists, along with apparently one of Canada’s most obvious national security threats: artists.

Where words fail, James’ art fills in the emotion and visceral sense of the current identity shift in what it means to be Canadian under Harper’s Conservatives. Canada’s reputation as a world leader in clean air and water is giving way to a reputation of a nation that trades clean water for dirty oil and blacklists anyone who objects.

“The Canadian government has clamped down on scientists who tell the truth about the tarsands—and it’s tried to shut up artists too. Happily, Franke James is indefatigable!” ~ BILL MCKIBBEN, Founder,

“Whether deflating ethical oil or unraveling our access to information system, Franke James defends Canada’s natural capital with provocative imagery and tough questions. Banned on the Hill may be the planet’s most enjoyable how-to-write-to-your-elected official guide, and it reveals that the Harper regime can’t bully every foe into submission.”
ERIC RUMBLE, Editor-in-chief, Alternatives Journal

On behalf of Canadians left speechless by the Harper Government, Franke James says it all, despite being Banned on the Hill.

Check back for your chance to win a signed copy of Banned on the Hill!

Or, if you can’t wait, get your own copy at Amazon.

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About ahemmayispeak

Environmentalist Egalitarian Engineer Writer There, I finally said it. View all posts by ahemmayispeak

4 responses to “Book Review: Banned on the Hill by Franke James

  • blessedgrandpa

    Hi Bets- got this blog just after we left the book store on the way back from putting Muriel on the plane – looks like a good read – how is everyone?



  • Common Sense

    Sadly, this is just another one of the problems that needs corrected. The system is broken (pick any part, government, legal, whatever) and those that try to bring light to it are bullied and abused, even legally, by the same system. I fear for the future.. for all of the people all over the world. People would often ask “what is this occupy movement anyway, no one seems to know what its all about”. Well, this is one of the thousands of things… Together we can stand strong, but only if we stand… I am trying to, won’t you join me?

    • ahem_mayispeak

      Agreed. And I suppose that’s the argument for the Internet, it allows us to connect despite the bullies. The challenge is sifting through the noise. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s a first step.

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