David Suzuki compares oil sands industry to slavery

Suzuki dismisses economic arguments for oil sands as ‘immoral’


Environmental activist David Suzuki addresses the media before musician Neil Young's "Honor The Treaties" concert series in Winnipeg

Environmental activist David Suzuki is comparing Canada’s oil sands industry to slavery just as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the country’s premiers discuss a national climate change plan ahead of the upcoming Paris climate conference.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said Monday, ahead of the first ministers meeting, that Canada needs to consider the economy when talking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Whatever it is we agree to going into Paris, whatever we agree to as a country, we need to make sure we understand what impact that’s going to have on jobs. What additional impact will that have on the energy sector, which is already suffering massive layoffs in our country?” Wall said.

Suzuki dismissed Wall’s comments as the same arguments used by those who benefited from owning slaves. “It sounds very much to me like southern states argued in the 19th century, that to eliminate slavery would destroy their economy,” Suzuki said in an interview Monday on SiriusXM’s Everything is Political with Evan Solomon.

Suzuki says 19th-century slave owners prioritized the economy over the goal of ending slavery like Wall is putting the economy and jobs ahead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Who would say today that the economy should have come before slavery?” Suzuki said.

When Solomon pointed out that the oil sands industry might take offence to comparisons with those who perpetuated slavery, Suzuki didn’t back down. “It is the same thing,” Suzuki said. “They’re destroying the very atmosphere that we depend on.”

But when Solomon raised the point that people who work in the oil fields might take issue with being compared to those who worked in the slave trade, Suzuki doubled down on his position.

Suzuki said slavery and climate change are not economic issues, but moral issues. “I’m with the Pope, and as you know, I’m an atheist, but I’m willing to kiss the Pope on his feet, on his hands or anywhere else he wants me to kiss him,” Suzuki told Solomon about the Pope’s position on climate change.

Pope Francis wrote the encyclical “On Care for our Common Home” in May this year. He brought a strong message of the moral imperative to act on climate change to the White House and U.S. President Barack Obama on his recent visit there.

In an emailed statement to Everything is Political following the show, Suzuki clarified that he was not saying anyone working in fossil fuels was like someone who was a slave owner.

“All I was saying was that southern states argued that abolishing slavery would destroy their economy and that is like the fossil-fuel industry arguing against action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will destroy the economy. In other words, they are putting the economy above the matter of slavery and climate change and I think that is immoral,” Suzuki said. “People caught in working for the fossil-fuel industry will have to make a transition, they are not the target of my ire.”

Suzuki said he is supportive of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s new climate action plan.

“Go, girl, go! It’s terrific!” Suzuki said of Notley. Although he praised the premier, Suzuki says the province has not gone far enough to cap or reduce emissions from oil sands production by setting a cap at 100 megatonnes a year, up from the current 70 megatonnes the province currently emits annually. He says Notley is “constrained by the reality of a province that has been built on oil for the last 40 years.”

Suzuki also said his relationship with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is back on track after a rather testy exchange between the two back in June. Suzuki told Everything is Political he called Trudeau a “twerp” after Trudeau dismissed Suzuki’s views on the Liberal climate change policy as “sanctimonious crap” before the election.

“If you ask me what I called Harper, you would realize twerp is a term of endearment,” Suzuki told Solomon Monday.

Suzuki said Trudeau has called him since the election and has not held the exchange against him. “We go a long way back,” Suzuki said of his relationship with Trudeau.

In contrast, Suzuki said he has only spoken to former prime minister Stephen Harper once, when Harper was asked about climate change while doing a television interview on Parliament Hill.

Suzuki said Harper responded to the question by saying the government couldn’t do anything to combat climate change because it would destroy the economy.

“And when he came off I said you don’t know what the eff you’re talking about,” Suzuki said. “He’s never had another exchange with me since”.


David Suzuki compares oil sands industry to slavery

  1. There should be a slavery based equivalent of Godwin’s Law.

    Nonetheless, Wall is correct to say what he said above. One shouldn’t make policies without understanding the consequences of those policies. And, if those policies have negative consequences, they need to be weighed against the good consequences. And, if the good outweigh the bad, then you move ahead and possibly look to mitigate the bad consequences in some manner. That is just about common sense, and is pretty much consistent with what Wall is quoted as saying.

    If Wall had dug his heels in and said nothing should be done on the climate change front, that would be one thing. But AFAICT didn’t. He raised issues that need to be understood (and accepted or refuted) in order than any climate change plan can proceed in as orderly a manner as possible.

  2. Suzuki is becoming more and more radical and risks becoming irrelevant as a result. Despite the vilification of the oil sands the facts are that the oil sands provide a very small percentage of the worlds air pollution. If Suzuki wants to have an impact on air pollution he needs to address the massive air pollution in countries like China and India where the air is incredibly unhealthy. Most of Canada has pretty clean air, with the exception of some of the larger cities.

  3. David Suzuki is typical of any number of Lear-jet Marxists. He sees all industry as evil, in spite of the fact that it has been capitalism and cheap energy that has lifted mankind out of the squalor of the past. He fails to make the connection between his own substantial personal wealth, and the private money which was confiscated, and then funneled through the CBC to his own hand, let alone the direct connection between cheap and abundant energy and any number of a million ways our lives are better now than in 1915 or 1815 or 815.
    In Suzuki’s grand vision, we would all live like Castro’s peasants: poor, hungry, dirty, and often ill. Interestingly it is a life he refuses to choose for himself and his own kin. I might be inclined to place a little more credence in Suzuki’s pronouncements if they didn’t routinely sound like the same thing we heard from the Leninists and the Maoists and the Castroistas back when they all were young. And we all know how well that worked out now, don’t we?

  4. Suzuki is completely out of his area of expertise with respect to AGW, all energy industries, pipelines etc…… he should stick to narrating “The Nature of Things”…….. Sadly CBC has created and then unleashed a monster that stands against the economic survival of Canada…..

    Suzuki has a long string of faux pas’s over the years including slanderous comments against the Christian faith, dangerous misleading statements against Canada’s Oil, Gas and Pipeline industries etc. But he did get one item correct….. He claimed that judges and lawyers are scientifically and technically illiterate…… but then so is he with respect to energy. – IMHO!

    • “Suzuki is completely out of his area of expertise with respect to AGW.”

      Indeed. That’s probably why he references the work of climate scientists, rather than pretending he knows better than them.

      • Are you sure that Suzuki references the work of climate scientists rather than the work of the government-sponsored and highly political organizations such as the UN’s IPCC? I’ve not seen his reference list of specific climate scientists from whom he is gathering his information.
        Perhaps you could post some comments from scientists which are not government-funded and then we might better see Suzuki’s real purpose.
        Personally, I’m still waiting for some of the shysters like Suzuki and Gore to lead by example. When do you think we’ll see that kind of action?

        • ” rather than the work of the government-sponsored and highly political organizations such as the UN’s IPCC?”

          Sorry Silver, the IPCC is the work of climate scientists and the relevant work of scientists in other fields.
          Search the scientific literature and you’ll find the same work that you’ll find referenced in the IPCC report.
          But, I’m going to guess you prefer to get your ‘science’ from kook blogs. Am I right?

  5. I used to think David Suzuki was cool…

    Way back in the 1970’s I worked at a University Radio Station and did a live recording of Dr. Suzuki that IIRC was not played on the Campus Radio because at the very start of the Talk, he indirectly advocated the Green Herb so popular on Campuses then and now. At the time, he seemed intelligent, informed and keenly set on his course of advancing scientific awareness and of Man’s place on the Earth.

    Scrolling forward to the present day, I find the good Doctor to be seemingly stuck in the 70’s style of black and white. He is pro nature and pro science, but doesn’t seem to relate that to the need to warm Canadian Homes in even an El Nino warmed Winter, of the need to fuel our vehicles, to be able to travel from point B from point A for any reason, but mostly to get to work.

    China has warmer weather than Canada, on average, yet they pollute many times our Canadian Carbon Dioxide “footprint”. With ~30x more people each with a larger footprint shouldn’t China be a worthier target that would show larger reductions in greenhouse gases that would more positively affect the world?

    Dr Suzuki seems to travel a lot with all of his paid speaking engagements, often by air and I imagine he uses Taxis or when legal, Uber to get around wherever he is at any moment. (I would be more willing to listen to anti-Oil Sands fervor if people walked or maybe road horses to these staged events, didnt wear anything that was made from petroleum, etc. but i quibble for expecting people to practice what they preach…)

    The affect of unemployment on a family’s income and economic health and welfare is seemingly denied, along with all the other aspects of a reduced economy including the societal, mental and other intrinsic costs that are not covered by any government in Canada.

    As for comparing the Oil Sands to Slavery, he has lost at least one more “fan” for pushing too blindsidedly past the point of believability for this informed mind to swallow without losing IQ points in the process…

    In brief, I stopped drinking the “Suzuki Kool-Aid” so very long ago…

  6. A fruit fly scientist with a god complex. Suzuki ceased being relevant a long time ago. His personal carbon footprint rivals many corporations and completely invalidates anything he has to say about the environment. Fraud!

    • It’s probably not your fault that basic logic escapes you, but what Suzuki says about climate change isn’t actually invalidated by anything he has or hasn’t done.

      • Actually, if Suzuki doesn’t have the courage to follow his own recommendations, it seems rather shallow of him to suggest such a primitive and unworkable course of action to others. Of course his comments have nothing to do with climate change but they sure say a lot about him.

  7. David Suzuki, you need to answer a few questions. How many houses do you own? How many vehicles? How many hours a year do you log in planes and ships? But most importantly how can you say that climate change is not an economic issue when everything that you say we do to contribute to it affects and involves the economy? Your simplistic view is commendable in its intent, but realism has no part of it. Churchill once said that “If you are not a liberal when you are 25 you have no heart, and if you are not a conservative when you are 45 you have no brain.” What can be said of a person your age who still thinks like a teenager?

    • “But most importantly how can you say that climate change is not an economic issue…”

      Might want to work a little harder on your reading comprehension skills. Particularly if you’re going to comment on how other people “think”.

  8. Most countries would give their eye teeth to have an intellectual like Dr. Suzuki as one of their leading citizens.

    But in Canada, we have a bunch of public school intellectuals, criticizing his work, when they have no idea what it even is. Stay in the backwoods folks, Canadians aren’t interested in your redneck prattling.

    • >>Most countries would give their eye teeth to have an intellectual like Dr. Suzuki as one of their leading citizens<<
      You mean most countries would give their eye teeth to have a wealthy, globe-trotting pontificator who doesn't care that his viewpoint would relegate millions, if not billions, of the world's poor to continued poverty?

      Yes, I'm sure that there are many governments throughout the world what would love to have Suzuki endorsing their "keep the poor in their place" policies.

      • OH LOOK, the moron in the corner with the dunce cap is blathering ideological nonsense.

      • I want to see the day when Suzuki is charged with Wilful Lying!

  9. David Suzuki, you continue to disappoint me with that kind of statement. I fail to understand your hatred for all Canadian oil. Destroy our economy and shut off the local tap, but continue to bring in oil from offshore. We are all defendant on fossil fuels at the moment, remember that next time you hop a jet to criticize the very industry that helps drive the economy, the royalties and taxs generated that helps pay the wages of you and your buddies at the CBC.

    • Yes 13 fields in California and most Venezuelan oils are as dirty or dirtier than the oil sands, yet no one complains as they use them? The US coal fired power generation industry emits 50 times more CO2 than the oil sands, yet know one complains?

      Eco hypocrisy is like a cancer on human development!

  10. I find it incredulous that Suzuki would tell Harper he doesn’t know what the f*** he is talking about. Watch this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4SaIFsyxgA) of Suzuki at a climate change q&A session with experts then you decided who doesn’t know what they are talking about. Suzuki has 3 homes and a HUGE carbon footprint but wants others to reduce.He is rch so doesn’t care about others. He’s is a disgusting, petty human being.

    • Keep standing up for Alberta! Why can ships come in to the St Lawrence from Middle East and Nigeria, but are not allowed on the west coast? Make rules, regulations, mitigations and help Canada succeed.

  11. If you actually believe this blatherskite, you’re more of a flamin’ eejit than I previously thought. Tell it to the NEWFIES and CAPERS who’ve been sending their “dirty oil industry” paycheques home to put kids in dance and music classes, and pay off their mortgages. No words express my SCORN for you, #DavidSuzuki.

    • Yes please expose this fraud! Where is our responsible MSM? Expose this Climate Scam! Let’s charge Suzuki with Wilful Lying!

    • Climate change can’t be real – oil pays for music lessons!

  12. We need PM Trudeau to support a strong Canada! We need MORE new, safe, controlled and known design-life pipelines, not less!!!

    PM Trudeau, please enable a National Pipeline Corridor, for new pipelines East and West! Just like the TCH and National Railway, we need a pipeline from Alberta and upgraders along the length to help market our World Class products and strengthen our futures. The Climate issue is a UN/IPCC/Obama scam! Sign NOTHING in Paris without a solid escape plan to dissolve our involvement as this fraud is unveiled!

    • The scariest part is how serious Suzuki is when he talks of jailing the climate change heretics. We’ve seen that movie before. In Russia, China, and Cuba it started with jailing the “counter revolutionaries” to dispensing with trials and just shooting them. It was not long before it became a capital offence to merely lack enthusiasm for the revolution.
      You can pretty much bet Comrade Suzuki would be happy to hand out such sentences for the high crime of idling your car in the drive-thru or taking too long in the shower, all while safely ensconced in his high tower above the yacht club.

      • “We’ve seen that movie before. In Russia, China, and Cuba it started with jailing the “counter revolutionaries”

        Greenwood is explaining this to a guy who just told us Suzuki should be charged with treason.

        • What your tiny intellect doesn’t allow you to grasp, chowder boy, is that every Marxist-Leninist movement, whose ideology the good Dr. Suzuki most evidently shares, has never had any qualms about picking a new batch of heretics to send off to the firing squads or the gulags every once in a while. The list of groups who went from being friends of the revolution to political prisoners overnight is as long as a Russian novel.
          What if you are one of those heretics? What if you suddenly get accused of not being quite enthusiastic enough about “the cause”?
          The question you gotta ask yourself (cue the Clint Eastwood squint) when the Suzuki Revolution comes is; Do you feel lucky?
          Well, do ya punk?

          • “Marxist-Leninist movement, whose ideology the good Dr. Suzuki most evidently shares”

            To bad everything you wrote is premised on this entirely unsubstantiated assertion.
            But you should ask your pal, Trevor, whether he favours capital punishment for treason.

  13. What a crass oaf Suzuki has degenerated into.
    The only thing Trudeau and I agree on is that Suzuki is full of “sanctimonious crap”
    Good for Justin.

  14. Of course slavery required kidnapping people and forcing them to work without compensation. The oil industry has some of the highest wages in the country and you can leave the industry any time you want.

    A law should be passed forcing Mr. Suzuki to wear a Chicken Little outfit any time he wishes to make another pronouncement – that would set the proper tone.

  15. Suzuki is not a climate scientist and hasn’t done field research or crunched numbers in decades! He’s nothing more than a CBC shill using ignorance and guilt to elicit handouts from taxpayers!

    The truth is that while CO2 has risen some, there has been NO terrestrial warming in the past 19 years, and only 0.8c average warming since 1850. What’s more, the Earth’s ice coverage is far greater now than it was when Al Gore made his nonsense film. In fact, over the past 600,000 gears, the Earth has been on average 8c warmer than it is now, and there was greater biological diversity of plants and animals in the past, with higher temps and higher CO2 levels.

    • Beautiful.
      Jill criticizes Suzuki for not being a climate scientist, when he makes it quite clear that he isn’t and accepts their expertise. Then Jill shares her fantasy in which she’s overturned the field of climate science.
      Irony is still dead.

  16. Why does anyone even give this hypocrite any air time? He adds more pollution to the air in a single year from his multiple mansions around the world, and the jet flights getting to them, than multiple Canadians will in their lifetime. The CBC should be embarrassed to have him as an employee and spokesperson. But then again, that’s the CBC.

    • Suzuki made his name on The Nature Of Things as an entertainer and a damned good one. Then hubris took hold and he began to pontificate about the environment (about which he understands very little). Now, it appears that the poor man has drifted into senility. Sad really.

  17. Who made this circus side-show act an authority on either climate or politics? Isn’t he just a TV personality, comparable to Mr. Greenjeans (from “Captain Kangaroo”) or Jim Fowler (of “Wild Kingdom”)?

  18. The old boy went past his best before date some time ago.

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