Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has been fighting for the protection of fundamental freedoms since 1964. CCLA is non-partisan, not-for-profit, and does not receive any government funding. Its Board of Directors includes artists like David Cronenberg, Deepa Metha, and Joseph Boyden.The protection of our rights and freedoms, requires an engaged and informed civil society.Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties is an initiative of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and musician Nathan Lawr to help raise public awareness about the philosophy, mandate and goals of CCLA. Many artists have used art as a platform for protesting the infringement of civil rights. With the introduction of this initiative, artists can continually show their support for the protection of rights and freedoms. Musicians, painters, dancers, filmmakers, and other artists are invited to sign on to this project by offering their names to a list supporting CCLA. It is not a petition and requires no further obligation beyond a name. Artists are able to choose their level of commitment, and those on the list may also be invited to take part in or lend their support to specific events or issues.Artists such as Bry Webb of ConstantinesSarah HarmerLeslie Feist, Dave BidiniChris Brown of Bourbon Tabernacle ChoirJim BrysonCasey Mecija of OhbijouGavin Gardiner of The Wooden SkyBasia BulatCharles Spearin of Do Make Say Think and FeistGlenn Milchem of Blue Rodeo, and John K. Samson of The Weakerthans have added their names to the list. Check out the full list of artists who have taken the pledge below!
“Fundamental freedoms are the beating heart of our vibrant society. They enable us to express ourselves freely, to contribute to important debates and to make an impact on the world around us.
As a Canadian Artist for Civil Liberties, I am committed to protecting civil liberties and upholding democratic values, and I endorse the philosophy, mandate and goals of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.”
>>Take the pledge now!

CCLA and Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties Present the 50th Anniversary Concert Celebration

Saturday, May 3, 2014
8 pm
Trinity St. Paul’s United Church, Toronto


Jason Collett

Arraymusic Ensemble performing an original composition by Owen Pallett

Kobo Town

Axé Capoeira Toronto

Clay and Paper Theatre

Lido Pimienta

Damian Rogers

“TBA” University of Toronto A Cappella Choir 


Visual art by Franke James, Mendelson Joe, and others

CCLA and Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties have organized a special concert event to celebrate free expression and to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association taking place this year. The event will take place on Saturday May 3, 2014 at Trinity St. Paul’s United Church and will feature musicians, a spoken word artist, dancers and visual artists who have all come together to celebrate freedom of expression in the arts.

More information available here! 


Join us for our 1st Annual Toronto Police vs. Artists Hockey Game! 

Saturday, October 19th 2013, 5-6:30pm

Mattamy Athletic Centre (former Maple Leaf Gardens), 50 Carlton Street, Toronto

On October 19, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties will present the first annual hockey game between the Toronto Police Service team and a squad of Canadian musicians, writers, filmmakers and actors. The evening will include a post-game panel to discuss art and free expression’s relationship with authority and censorship (details below!).

The 2010 G20 protests in Toronto highlighted the importance of freedom of expression and issues of effective and accountable law enforcement. CCLA recognizes that both fair policing and free expression are necessary in a healthy democratic society. Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness and to help cultivate a greater understanding and mutual respect between law enforcement and proponents of free expression in Canada, while fostering good will and celebrating both artists and police with a show of sportsmanship.

And introducing the line-up of the Canadian Artists team:

Coach Kevin Lacroix
Nathan Lawr (Minotaurs)
Dave Bidini (Rheostatics)
Scott Remila (Raising the Fawn)
Michael O’Connell (Culture Reject)
Aj Johnson (Minotaurs, Cuff the Duke)
Greg Thomas (actor, Murdoch Mysteries, Rookie Blue)
Keith Hamilton (Beams)
Andrew Frade (filmmaker)
Gavin Bradley Gardiner (The Wooden Sky)
Janet Morassutti
Naty Trembley (the People’s Project and SKETCH Working Arts)
Andrew Cash
and between the pipes
Matt Barber !!

Post-Game Panel Discussion

Freedom to Create: Art, Freedom of Expression and Power

Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 7-8:30 pm

 The 519 Church Street Community Centre, 519 Church Street, Toronto – Rm 301

After the game, players, spectators and the general public are invited to attend an interactive panel discussion at The 519 Church Street Community Centre featuring artist and environmental activist Franke James, Elyse Parker of the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, and Michael Wheeler, artistic director of Praxis Theatre and director of the award-winning play You Should Have Stayed Home: A G20 Romp. Join them as they delve into the often complex relationship between art, censorship, freedom of expression and authority.

Join our event on Facebook.


Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties Launch Event!
Saturday December 1st, 2012, 9pm
Lee’s Palace, Toronto

Photos from the December 1st event!


List of Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties

  • Glen Alan (musician)
  • David Anderson (musician, performance artist, theatre artist)
  • Kate Arms-Roberts (performance artist, filmmaker)
  • Mona Atwell (visual artist, dancer)
  • Paul Aucoin (musician)
  • Jason Ball (musician)
  • Stuart Berman (journalist, author, The Two Koreas)
  • Dave Bidini (musician, actor, Rheostatics)
  • Lindsay Anne Black (set and costume designer)
  • Giles Blunt (author)
  • Rosemary Bockner (visual artist)
  • Jonas Bonnetta (musician, Evening Hymns)
  • Christine Bougie (musician)
  • Anne Bourne (composer, performer)
  • Enrique Brieba (poet)
  • Felicia Brooker (filmmaker, screenwriter)
  • Chris Brown (musician, Open Hearts Society, Bourbon Tabernacle Choir)
  • Julian Brown (musician)
  • Mark Browning (musician)
  • Melanie Brulée (musician)
  • Jim Bryson (musician)
  • Basia Bulat (musician)
  • James Bunton (musician)
  • Tyler Clark Burke (visual artist)
  • Rich Burnett (musician, Bry Webb and the Providers)
  • George Elliott Clarke (poet, playwright)
  • Ceada Casarin (musician, visual artist, filmmaker)
  • Adam Chalcraft (musician)
  • Pierre Chrétien (musician)
  • Jason Collett (musician)
  • Brian Cooley (visual artist)
  • Ayesha Costales-Khan (musician, poet)
  • John Crossingham (musician, Owl Kids, Raising the Fawn)
  • Scott Cudmore (filmmaker)
  • Timothy Dawson (musician)
  • Thomas Dearnley-Davidson (author, screenwriter)
  • David Demchuck, (author)
  • Christine Didur (performance artist, poet)
  • Michael Duguay (musician)
  • Robin Easton (musician, instrument technician)
  • Cheryl Ellis (visual artist, milliner)
  • Katie Ewald (dancer)
  • Anne Faulkner (visual artist)
  • Leslie Feist (musician)
  • Nick Ferrio (musician, poet)
  • Julie Fowler (record store employee, Summerworks Toronto)
  • Kevin Fox (musician)
  • Andrew Frade (filmmaker)
  • Matthew Frade (filmmaker)
  • Chris Frayer (artistic director, Winnipeg Folk Festival)
  • Paul Freeman (visual artist, filmmaker)
  • Jaron Freeman-Fox (musician)
  • Leslie Fritz (visual artist)
  • Jonquil Garrick (actor, stagehand)
  • Steward Gunn (musician)
  • Jim Guthrie (musician)
  • Thomas Hammerton (musician)
  • Sarah Harmer (musician)
  • Rev. Karen Harrison (artist)
  • Michal Hasek (musician)
  • Neil Haverty (musician, Bruce Peninsula)
  • Ray Henderson (performance artist, author)
  • Keith Higgins (visual artist, author, cultural worker)
  • Ellen Hurley (performance artist)
  • Tariq Hussain (musician, CBC Radio 3, Brasstronaut)
  • Paolo Iannucci (musician)
  • Steve Jordan (founder/executive director- Polaris Music Prize)
  • Kim Juneja (music publicist)
  • Ali Kazimi (author, filmmaker)
  • Vish Khanna (CBC Radio)
  • Samir Khan (musician, Tusks)
  • Alex Kingsmill (visual artist, filmmaker)
  • Kevin Konnyu (filmmaker, photographer)
  • Kevin Lacroix (musician)
  • Steve Lambke (musician)
  • Nathan Lawr (musician, Minotaurs)
  • Ron Leary (musician)
  • Paul Lee (filmmaker, producer, film festival programmer)
  • Su-Feh Lee (dancer/choreographer)
  • Kate Lepla (musician, visual artist, arts journalist)
  • Paul Lowman (musician, Cuff the Duke)
  • Maggie MacDonald (musician, visual artist, performance artist, author)
  • Terrill Maguire (choreographer, dancer)
  • Dan Mangan (musician)
  • Casey Mecija (musician, Ohbijou)
  • Barbara Meneley (visual artist, performance artist, filmmaker)
  • Glenn Milchem (musician, Blue Rodeo)
  • Michelle Mohabeer (author, filmmaker)
  • Pierre Mongeon (musician, composer)
  • Ruth Moody (musician, The Wallin’ Jennys)
  • Lisa Moran (artist manager, The Art Counsel)
  • Mark Morrissette (musician)
  • Patrick Murray (musician)
  • Craig Norris (CBC Radio)
  • Alexander Offord (performance artist, theatre director, author)
  • Kathleen Olmstead (author, filmmaker)
  • Iriz Paabo (interdisciplinary artist)
  • Doug Paisley (musician)
  • Wayne Petti (musician, Cuff the Duke)
  • Justin Peroff (musician, Broken Social Scene, Eight and a Half)
  • Carlo Guillermo Proto (filmmaker)
  • Michelle Ramsay (theatre lighting designer)
  • Gentleman Reg (musician)
  • Daniel Roher (filmmaker)
  • Justin Rutledge (musician)
  • John K. Samson (musician, author, The Weakerthans)
  • Dustin Seabrook (musician)
  • Brad Sheffield (musician)
  • Alison Smiley (actor)
  • Charles Spearin (musician, Feist, Do Make Say Think)
  • Sharon Stevens (visual artist, performance artist, filmmaker)
  • Mark Swartz (author)
  • Jason Tait (musician, The Weakerthans)
  • Yas Talaat (musician, Dead Celebrity Status)
  • Darrah Teitel (author, playwright)
  • Lisa Tomack (visual artist)
  • Dave Tough (musician)
  • Chad Van Gaalen (musician)
  • Pearl Van Geest (visual artist)
  • Gary Varro (visual artist)
  • Jennifer Vong (visual artist, new media)
  • Meredith Vuchnich (screenwriter)
  • Vaughn Warren (visual artist)
  • Kathy Wazana (filmmaker)
  • Bry Webb (musician, Constantines)
  • Ben Whiteley (musician)
  • Jeff Woods (musician)
  • B.H. Yael (visual artist, filmmaker, professor OCAD U)


#CCLAExpressYourself – Nathan Lawr and The Woodshed Orchestra
We want you to express YOURSELF! Create and upload a video of your choosing .
Include “#CCLAExpressYourself” in the video, and we’ll share it here!


CCLA thanks Jacob Rolfe for the original artwork he created for Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties. You can check out Jacob’s work on his website: