How I 'demonized' David Suzuki and the screaming mad results
Longer Tyee version at: http://thetyee.ca/Views/2009/06/09/DavidSuzuki/
Tuesday June 9, 2009
By BILL TIELEMAN
"I want to talk to you!" a red-faced and agitated David Suzuki said, finger pointing at my chest.
"You have no right to demonize me!" he yelled, causing people around us to back away.
How did I manage to "demonize" the internationally known celebrity scientist?
Apparently it's not that hard.
All I did was write a column in 24 hours and online at The Tyee April 22 saying that Suzuki, Tzeporah Berman and other environmentalists had launched a "well timed attack" on the New Democratic Party over its opposition to the B.C. Liberal carbon tax as the provincial election began.
Here's what Suzuki said April 17: "If [B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell] goes down because of axe the tax, the repercussions are the carbon tax will be toxic for future politicians. No politician will raise it. That's why environmentalists are so upset."
I wrote: "Neither Suzuki nor Berman have yet endorsed Campbell outright but they knew their assault would hurt the NDP and help the B.C. Liberals."
Hardly rocket science but perhaps Suzuki was more upset that I quoted Alexandra Morton, the respected biologist who is fighting B.C. Liberal expansion of fish farms that destroy wild salmon with sea lice.
"As the living systems of this part of the world are under the final assault by the B.C. Liberal government, you make headlines. You seem to have no idea of what Gordon Campbell is bringing down on us," Morton wrote Suzuki in an open letter.
I also argued that Suzuki and others were assisting a Campbell government that: "Promotes offshore oil and gas drilling, privatized rivers and streams for power projects, slashed wildlife protection, ended a ban on trophy hunting for grizzly bears and offers hundreds of millions in tax incentives for fossil-fuel exploration."
Suzuki didn't see it that way, obviously.
"I've always been an ally of the NDP!" Suzuki claimed.
"No you haven't," I replied, noting his endorsement of Campbell's unfair gas tax.
After more of Suzuki yelling and me responding calmly but pointedly, he tried to put me in my place.
"I don't give a shit about you...." Suzuki almost screamed.
Suzuki spluttered, threw up his hands and rushed away, leaving the event immediately.
Ironically, the reception was for a book about conducting good public relations - something Suzuki clearly has yet to learn.