Why David Suzuki called Justin Trudeau a twerp - Macleans.ca

Why David Suzuki called Justin Trudeau a twerp

Environmental crusader tells his side of a conversation about the Liberal plan for the environment

Trevor Hagan/Reuters

Trevor Hagan/Reuters

During a testy phone call, Justin Trudeau dismissed David Suzuki’s views on the Liberal climate change policy as “sanctimonious crap,” according to Suzuki. Suzuki revealed the contents of the conversation during an interview on SiriusXM’s Everything is Political with Evan Solomon. Suzuki says he fired back, calling Trudeau a “twerp.”

The renowned scientist, broadcaster and activist says Trudeau called him personally June 28, 2015, to talk about the Liberal platform on climate change that was to be revealed the next day. “I didn’t call Justin, he called me,” Suzuki said. “He wanted an endorsement and he wanted to tell me exactly what his program was.”

For the record: Justin Trudeau’s speech on the environment: June 29, 2015

The program includes support for the Keystone XL pipeline, a rejection of the Northern Gateway pipeline and a commitment to work with the provinces to establish a cap-and-trade system.

“I said, ‘Justin, stop it, you’re just being political, you just want to make headway in Alberta,’” Suzuki says he told Trudeau. “You’re for the development of the tar sands, you’re for the Keystone pipeline, but you’re against the Northern Gateway, you’re all over the damn map!”

Maclean’s explains: Where the leaders stand on the environment 

Suzuki went on to advise Trudeau that taking the target of a two-degree rise in temperature seriously means 80 per cent of the oil sands has to stay in the ground. Suzuki believes stopping oil sands development will mean “no debate about pipelines or expanding railways or shipping stuff offshore—none of that comes into it.”

Suzuki says this is when the exchange turned nasty. “He said, ‘I don’t have to listen to this sanctimonious crap.’ I proceeded to call him a twerp.”

Trudeau ended up with the support of environmental scientist Wade Davis, an honourary board member of the Suzuki Foundation. Davis introduced Trudeau at his Vancouver event the next day.

No Liberal would comment on the exchange, but sources tell “Everything Is Political” that Trudeau was not formally seeking an endorsement, but rather making a courtesy call to Suzuki about the plan.

Suzuki says he has not spoken to Thomas Mulcair or Stephen Harper about their climate change or their plans for the environment. “My feeling is that none of the parties except for the Greens is really taking it seriously.”

During the conversation with “Everything Is Political” Suzuki also said he is troubled by the debate about the niqab and Stephen Harper’s use of the term “old stock Canadians.”

Related reading: The nature of David Suzuki

“The ‘old stock’ sent a shiver up my back,” Suzuki said. During the Second World War, Suzuki and his family were among thousands of Japanese Canadians interned in camps. “I’ve lived through a time when my Mom and Dad who were born and raised in Canada couldn’t vote. ‘Old stock’ implies that somehow there is difference if you are a Canadian, that there are differences that matter.”

Suzuki says such distinctions invite divisiveness. “Either we are citizens or we are not,” he said. “It’s very scary to me.”


    Why David Suzuki called Justin Trudeau a twerp

    1. That they do not like each other just increased my respect for both of them.

    2. So, David…did it send a shiver down your spine when Stephan Dion used the term as well?

    3. Well, you can only oppose half of Keystone anyways since the southern half from Oklahoma to the Gulf coast is complete.

      But the rail cars are full of bitumen out of Alberta.

      Perhaps the battle cry should be: “No to half of Keystone, support shipping by rail!”

      But that might sound too political for Suzuki.

    4. Will Federal leaders have an open and honest debate about “Green Energy”? Watch TV Ontario “The Agenda” with Steve Paikin (first aired March 25, 2015). This is the first time media has had an open debate on this issue. Wind proponents have a very hard time explaining why Wind struggles to reach less than 5% of Ontario’s power capacity. All this despite enormous government push, subsidies, and priority access to the grid.
      tvo DOT org/video/programs/the-agenda-with-steve-paikin/wind-power-wind-problems

    5. Dr. Suzuki, You are the one Mr. Harper refering to as the old stock Canadian. And you don’t even know that!

      Canada had a patently racist immigration policy in the book until 1967. Then canadian fear then was cruel but understandable, and it is no different from in the post 9/11 era. But at least there is a strong legal system to identify the induvidual and prosecute instead of persecuting the whole.

      On the dress code, one girl was murdered in Canada for not wearing the same thing the other girl wants to wear. Canada is a free society – first girl must be allowed live and the other girl must be allowed to wear it without being punished.

      But I doubt if she has a right to see and provides service to me at a counter if I cannot see see her. No one is commenting about Hudderites’ dress code.

    6. QUOTE: “…thousands of Japanese Canadians interred in camps.”
      Er, Evan, I know Japanese Canadians were not treated well during WWII, but surely they weren’t treated as badly as YOU say!
      DEFINITION: “INTER: place (a corpse) in a grave or tomb, typically with funeral rites.”
      DEFINITION: “INTERN: confine (someone) as a prisoner, especially for political or military reasons.”
      -Japanese Canadians were INTERNED in camps (made prisoner), not INTERRED (made dead & buried)!

      -My brother made the opposite error recently in referring to numerous people
      to an interment ceremony for a relative’s ashes as “internment.” Sheesh.

    7. Until Suzuki starts practising what he preaches, Trudeau is right about the crap. Suzuki and the other celebrity objectors to global warming could better further their cause by reining in their extravagant life styles. The impression I am left with is that we should all change our lifestyles (and we probably should) and huddle around our last candle for light and warmth, but I do not think the celebrities feel that they should have to participate in that particular exercise. If they want to be effective, they should down size their homes (and other possessions), stop flying around the country (and the world) and try and have a smaller footprint in general. On the scale of: Mother Teresa being the best and priests from residential schools being the worst, Suzuki et al are closer to the latter than the former. They talk a good pious fight, but fall short on delivery.

    8. The only thing I will ever agree upon when it comes to Mr. Fruitfly and the empty suit. Their opinion of each other.

    9. “sanctimonious crap” and “twerp”, how well they know each other!

    10. I am now a Trudeau supporter! I am happy that he called out Suzuki for his B.S. When will David retire and just go away? Not soon enough for me! PS @ David Suzuki: According to Andrew Weaver at UVic, his article in Nature found that full development of the Alberta OIL Sands would amount to 0.36 °C. If you are truly concerned for CO2 emissions, then you should be attacking coal power generation. Full stop. Coal has the potential to raise global temperatures 15°C. Why do you not focus on that? Oh right… you have your own political agenda.