This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
Throughout this last decade, photographers have witnessed and captured the changing nature of the country. They've seen the forests and our pristine waters disappear to make way for the oil industry. They've documented the militarization of the nation—whether it be violent repression of protests during the G20 or increased security in the capital. They've captured the faces of those being discriminated against and their fight to have their rights respected from the missing and murdered Indigenous women to religious and ethnic minorities.
Their photographs painted a new picture, one that Canadians needed to take into account in order to make an informed decision on Election Day. And so, in a bid to spread awareness, we took to the streets of Toronto and Montreal, wheatpasting large prints of some of the most striking images of what Canada has become and reclaiming the public space as a forum for discussion thanks to the participation of some of the country's foremost photographers. Tony Fouhse contributed an image of a Leopard Tank stationed in front of Parliament that is part of his Official Ottawa series. François Pesant shared a photo of a woman being charged by mounted police in Queen's Park during the 2010 G20 Summit. Marta Iwanek provided a moving portrait of an elderly couple, one of whom is battling dementia, the other acting as a prime caregiver, despite his old age. Ian Willms supplied pictures from his long-term documentation of the evolution of the Tar Sands in Alberta. Laurence Butet-Roch showed a scene where Indigenous children are seen playing next to a toxic petrochemical plant in Southern Ontario. Rafal Gerszak shared his sobering take on the Highway of Tears, where many Indigenous women have gone missing without generating much official outrage.
It's our hope that upon seeing these pictures, passersby feel the need to get more details, do more research, and get the information they need to cast their vote.
Laurence Butet-Roch is a member of the the Boreal Collective of photojournalists.