Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

The University of Alberta is being criticized for its decision to give David Suzuki an honorary degree.

Earlier this month, the university announced that the longtime environmentalist will be one of 13 people to receive the honour later this spring.

Andrew Leach, the architect of Alberta’s climate change plan and an economics professor at the university, isn’t pleased.

“He refers to economics as brain damage,” Leach wrote on Twitter. “The @ualberta has 3 departments teaching economics. Is that really the type of public education that my university wants to reward with an honorary degree?”

Some in the oil and gas industry and others from the Opposition United Conservative Party were also critical of the decision on social media.

Suzuki wasn’t available to comment Thursday, but his foundation sent out a statement.

“As Canada seeks to meet its Paris climate accord target and transition to a sustainable renewable energy future, the expansion of Canada’s oilsands has become an extremely divisive subject — as we’re seeing with the Kinder Morgan pipeline project,” said chief executive Steve Cornish.

READ MORE: David Suzuki attends ‘Save Hawthorne Park’ rally

READ MORE: Suzuki, B.C. chefs call for end to open-net fish farms as province reviews renewals

An honorary degree is not a blind endorsement of Suzuki’s perspectives, he said.

“It’s a tribute to Dr. Suzuki’s incredible career as an awarded geneticist, broadcaster and author,” said Cornish.

The university defended its decision to honour Suzuki.

“We understand how important the oil and gas industry is to Alberta,” the school said in a statement. “We, too, are acutely aware of the anger and frustration with the current situation surrounding the Trans Mountain Pipeline.”

The university said an honorary degree doesn’t necessarily mean the institution agrees with the person, but rather recognizes his or her contributions and full body of work.

Suzuki is to receive being given the honorary doctor of science degree on June 7.

Leach, who declined an interview request, said on Twitter that he was glad his economics students would be convocating on another day.

“It saves me from a horrible decision I’d have to make: there’s no way I’d share a stage with David Suzuki as he receives an honorary degree from @ualberta,” he wrote. ”Not a chance.”

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Barriere Bottle Depot signage vandalized

Barriere RCMP say they are currently investigating two incidents of mischief against… Continue reading

TNRD director accuses Tiny House Warriors of harassment

Blue River director Stephen Quinn said the actions of the pipeline protesters need to be addressed

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Drinking water advisory issued for infants in Barriere

District of Barriere advises water from the municipal system should not be used as drinking water for certain at risk populations, specifically bottle-fed infants due to levels of manganese

Special Council Meeting held May 13 in Barriere regarding current water situation

A Special Council Meeting of the District of Barriere Municipal Council was… Continue reading

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read