Order of Canada winner lied about Ph.D

Why no one spotted a top science adviser who ‘misrepresented’ his credentials for 40 years


CP / Fred Chartrand

When Maurice Dusseault heard the news, his reaction was, “Dammit, dammit, dammit. That shouldn’t happen.” Louis LaPierre—then chair of New Brunswick’s new Energy Institute, where he was Dusseault’s colleague, and an esteemed scientist—had lied about his Ph.D. in ecology. In revelations that have shocked the scientific community, it turns out that LaPierre, who received the Order of Canada last year for his environmental conservation work, doesn’t have such a degree. Instead, he has a Ph.D. in education with a focus on the environment. He lied about his master’s degree, too—it’s in environmental education, not wildlife ecology.

LaPierre has refused interviews since he first told Radio-Canada a mix-up in his resumé accounted for the false claim that he received a doctorate from the University of Maine. But last week, he issued a statement admitting he “misrepresented” his credentials.

LaPierre was already at the centre of New Brunswick’s debate over how—or if—the province should develop its shale gas reserves. His 2012 report on the topic helped shaped the government’s plans to allow exploratory drilling. He recommended the province establish an energy institute to provide independent scientific input on public policy decisions over energy resources and, earlier this year, the government picked LaPierre to chair the new body. He resigned the position last week.

Now, with his reputation in ruins, LaPierre may undo the very process he set out to create. Critics have called for reviews of LaPierre’s work. (He’s sat on numerous scientific review panels across Canada and taught at the University of Moncton for three decades, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Environment Canada.) “The future of the institute is in jeopardy,” says Liberal energy critic Rick Doucet and, with it, he adds, the government’s strategy to gain public support for shale gas development. Others are calling for the institute to be shut down.

David Pearson, LaPierre’s colleague on an unrelated environmental review panel overseeing a potential pit mine near Marathon, Ont., is perplexed by the whole affair. There was nothing about the scientist’s performance that suggested anything might be amiss. “I really did find [these revelations] hard to believe,” he says.

So far, the shale gas industry has declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said it was a matter for the government, but added, “We support the Energy Institute and what it was established to achieve.” The government, for its part, has stuck by the institute and rejects calls for reviews of its work.

Dusseault, an engineering professor at the University of Waterloo with expertise in shale gas, argues the institute is more than one person. “[It] has an important role to play,” he says, by helping the government make decisions about energy resources. “I hope it gets over this bump.”


Order of Canada winner lied about Ph.D

  1. If this trend continues, and it probably will, we’ll have to rename it the Ordure of Canada.

  2. Catch me if you can

  3. That is Okay, we also have a dictator masquerading as a “Democracy” running/ruining Canada.

    • Who has taken the Order of Contempt from Parliament eh!

  4. why I’m going to run around claiming I have a Ph.D. in good manners and etiquette and let’s see anyone try to prove that I don’t. Lying has become a normal part of Canadian life so just let him be. :)

  5. It seems the only people in Canada that are worthy of anything other than some serious contempt arethe hard working tax payers who are always ignored and over looked – the people living high off the hog and eating from the tables of the entitled are continually awarding each other with fancy medals and certificates.

    No wonder the average working stiff is becoming so jaded.

    So – ladies and gentlemen – hats off to your Grandmother and Great Grandmother – the ladies who raised your parents and paid their bills so we could be where we are today. My hats off to them.

    As for those in tuxedos and drinking champagne from crystal glasses at the expense of the tax payer – take a hike – I am tired of hearing about you.

  6. “What tales we tell to catch the fancy of the king”

  7. Doesn’t the New Brunswick government (Conservative) understand that when they hire
    people without checking their credentials, it puts their honesty and credibility in doubt too. Oh that’s right they are politicians, so that has already been established.

  8. So he lied about his credentials. Who among us hasn’t massaged the truth a little to get a job or a mortgage? It isn’t really lying anyway, it is selling yourself in the market. In New Brunswick we are leading the country in re-framing the way we do business. Did you know that we are no longer stifled by contract law in our economic environment? We have evolved into a new and braver paradigm that is less rigid and far more flexible and accommodating. This is definitely the province in which to invest, if you feel lucky. It may seem a little chaotic at first but we will be the the shining beacon necessary to guide our backward country in this new century. Keep an eye on us, we are the vanguard in this bold new experiment. Adapt or die.

  9. Strange not to include where his credentials are actually from. Is his PhD in Education from the University of Maine? Also, depending on the programme and area of research, a Phd in Ecology might not be all that different from a PhD in Education focusing on the environment.