6. Peter Braid 2 (digital).jpg



Created by Eric.

I have always been interested in Canadian politics. In school my favourite subject was social studies (now called humanities). My interest in Canadian politics might even be described best as an obsession. I read the National Post, The Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, and the CBC several times a day. I discuss politics with friends, family members, and strangers. One of my favourite things to watch on t.v. is Question Period in the House of Commons and there is nothing more fascinating to me than the role citizens play in a democracy. After the 2011 Federal Election I was sad for weeks and avoided the news for several months. I hadn’t given up on politics, I was just fed up. Sick of it all. Tired of the political tactics employed by all political parties over the last several years to (arguably) alienate Canadians from the democratic system that belongs to them. Voting was beginning to foster a sense of helplessness and not the sense of civic pride I feel it ought to.

And then, last October I realized three things: that my vote in Calgary might never result in the election of the political party of my choosing; but that I could substitute my vote with other forms of direct political intervention; and that it is free to send letters to Parliament through Canada Post. These three things meant I could regain some agency and a relationship with Canadian politics in a far more playful and creative manner!

In the Spring of 2012 I wrote a letter (English or French) to ever member of the House of Commons asking them to send me their parliamentary portrait that they had drawn something onto. I loved that 308 members of parliament and their staffers would have to negotiate amongst themselves to determine if what I was asking was a joke or for real (I suppose it was a joke that became real!). I had several phone conversations with MP’s assistants and direct email communication with Members of Parliament themselves. Here I was asking Members of Parliament to make a decision and to influence (even in some small way) the future of Calgary by telling students they can be creative.

These portraits toured to several public schools throughout Calgary during the Fall of 2012 (and were displayed as part of a group show called The Secret Map Flees (with you in mind) at Pith Studio and Gallery.)


Portraits in order of appearance:

Bernard Trottier (Etobicoke-Lakeshore)

Raymond Côté (Beauport—Limoilou)

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain (Manicouagan)

Maria Mouranis (Ahuntsic)

Peter Braid (Kitchener-Waterloo)

Peter Braid (Kitchener-Waterloo)

Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands)

Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie)

Françoise Boivin (Gatineau)

Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe)

Niki Ashton (Churchhill)

Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie)

Megan Leslie (Halifax)

Claude G. Gravelle (Nickle Belt)

Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton — North Delta)

Judy Sgro (York West)

John Carmichael (Don Valley West)

Scott Brison (Kings — Hants)