David Suzuki tells Americans that the Harper government can’t be trusted

Andy Radia

Is it just me, or there something a little irreverent about one of our own (ie: a Canadian) going to another country to slam our government?

On Friday, a group of Canadian environmental activists — led by none other than Dr. David Suzuki — were in Washington, DC to lobby against approval of the controversial Keystone Pipeline.

Suzuki, author and activist Tzeporah Berman, and artist Frankie James took part in a panel discussion at the National Press Club.

Here is an overview of their message as described by the Globe and Mail's Paul Koring.

"Their message wasn’t just that President Barack Obama should reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Rather, the primary thrust was that the Harper government could not be trusted and was ruthless in its efforts to silence and thwart domestic opposition to oil sands development. To listen to the panel, America’s northern neighbour has become a repressive regime where free speech is silenced and the government has aligned itself with the interests of a single industry – oil.

David Suzuki, the internationally renowned Canadian scientist and recipient of several UN awards, said Mr. Harper’s effort to suppress information had been “learned well from the Bush-Cheney administration.” Mr. Suzuki, a companion of the Order of Canada, compared Mr. Harper’s suppression of scientific information to the rounding up of Japanese Canadians (including his family) during the Second World War and the imposition of the War Measures Act in 1970 when separatist terrorists kidnapped prominent in Quebec."

[ Related: TransCanada Corp. uses Middle East unrest to promote Keystone XL pipeline ]

While Suzuki was busy slamming Harper, the right-leaning Sun News Network has been taking some shots at Suzuki and what they call his "hypocritical lifestyle."

According to Sun News, Suzuki owns four homes in British Columbia.

"His primary abode is a sprawling mansion in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver, worth approximately $8.2 million. At Occupy Vancouver, Suzuki extolled the virtues of his anti-corporate agenda and condemned excess," the report notes.

"Perhaps most interesting is a property on Nelson Island of which Suzuki is one of several co-owners listed on a B.C. land title registry, another of which includes Kootenay Oil Distributors."

I guess it's true what they say: all is fair in love, war and politics.

[ Related: American environmentalists to Harper: 'We’re not taking yes for an answer']

Meanwhile, on the other side of the environmental battle, proponents of Keystone got a boost from American business leaders on Thursday.

According to the Canadian Press, more than 165 CEO’s and presidents of major companies an open letter to President Barack Obama asking him to approve the pipeline project that could potentially transport up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.

Obama has the final say on whether the Keystone pipeline is a go; he is expected to make that decision early next year.

(Photo courtesy of Twitter/@AlexisMarieBay)

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