Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tieleman "demonizes" David Suzuki over carbon tax support for BC Liberals - Suzuki goes berserk on Tieleman at event

War of Words

How I 'demonized' David Suzuki and the screaming mad results

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours /Tyee Column

Longer Tyee version at:

Tuesday June 9, 2009


Arrogance diminishes wisdom.

- Arabian proverb

Last week I discovered that the nature of things can be extremely unpleasant when you challenge the wisdom of the arrogant.

I was attending a reception when suddenly the host of CBC TV's The Nature Of Things was in my face.

"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.

"Then that's completely mutual," I interrupted before the great man could say more.

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.


Gary E said...

It seems to me that when someone gets aggressive like Dr. Suzuki did to you Bill, then they must also realize the enormity of what they have done. Further they are not willing to admit it in their arrogance.
I have respected Dr. Suzuki all my life but it only took this one damaging act to tear down my respect. As I see it he didn't look at all the facts in this unfair tax. I would have agreed with him if it (the tax) had included the big polluters. But under Gordon Campbell I submit that will never happen.

off-the-radar said...

The Suzuki foundation was in bed with the Libs.

And then Zeporah, supporting industrial power projects on BC rivers, is another dimension of crossing to the dark side.

Finally, there was Gregor with his ringing endorsement of Premier Campbell in April, and then helpfully quoted in the Liberal platform. Plus Harcourt's observations.

What's that line about its not your enemies, its your "friends".

That said, the NDP could have won this election if they had run a good 21st century campaign. It's not rocket science. Obama was the model, Howard Dean has been doing it for five years.

The NDP did not get out the vote or recruit younger voters.

People I talked to could not believe the NDP had even a chance of winning.

And to get out the vote you need to believe that you can win and that voters can make a difference.

I hear major changes are happening with NDP HQ staff though (long, long overdue).

Anonymous said...

David Suzuki has lost it and I'm afraid his reputation has been greatly diminished. His blind support for run-of-river power projects and his stand on the Carbon Tax is telling: he is not an environmentalist at all, rather a media maven; a "legend in his own mind."

I washed my hands of Suzuki and his organization years ago over their support for SkyTrain, the most environmentally destructive transit system around!

Treat Suzuki for what he is; a dated media type, a Quisling, who is stuck in a 1970's mind-set, not willing to change with the times.

Adiós Suzuki, you are an embarrassment to us all!

The Evil Eye

Chris said...

If you didn't demonize him in earlier columns, you certainly did in this one.

I can't see how pissing off environmentalists like Suzuki will help the NDP long term. I too was upset that many environmentalists sided with the Liberals solely because of the carbon tax, but I was equally pissed off at the NDP for opposing the carbon tax in the first place. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. Your attitude isn't convincing me to return to the NDP next election.

G West said...

David has a good deal to learn - even at his advanced age - about the ordinary meaning of words...well done Bill - but I kinda wish you'd been more actively involved in the election campaign and not so active in the STV thing.

The sad part about this whole debacle is that we now have the 'worst' of all worlds for the next four years:
1)No electoral reform at all;
2)A continuation of Campbell's phony ungreen policies like the Campbell Tax; and
3)Another four years of backpeddling on the 'real' issues important to all British Columbians.

I can't see there's much to be upbeat about - although I certainly have no quibbles with your views about Suzuki.

Ah well, maybe I can move to Nova Scotia....

Rod Smelser said...

An entertaining and amusing column on one level. On another level? Very revealing and even frightening.

Over the past several years leading up to the 39th Provincial Election, several BC environmental NGOs put heavy pressure on the NDP to do two things. First, they wanted the NDP to strongly oppose a popular and necessary Liberal Govt policy, expanding the province's highway and freeway system, specifically the Port Mann-Hwy 1 project, and to oppose it in any form. Second, they wanted the NDP to step forward and support an unpopular Liberal Govt policy, the carbon tax.

Whenever I mention this totally non-coincidental pair of facts, the self-righteous disciples and true believers who act as the street dealers for BC's best financed and best paid ENGOs react with predictable scorn. That's just what the environmental movement has decided, scientifically of course, is necessary to "save this planet". I should realize this and shutup.

The reality, of course, is that this non-coincidental pair of electorally damaging recommendations were put forward as part of a Liberal-ENGO strategy to sandbag the NDP's chances by getting the party offside with the voters. The people carrying out this strategy, the ENGO chieftains, were apopletic that Carole James refused to take the bait on either trap. Hence the cheesy op-ed pieces from tenured academics denouncing her and Jack Layton as "dishonest" for not supporting the carbon tax, and the specific denunciation of Carole James by David Suzuki, who said in a speech in Nanaimo that he was "ashamed" of her, as if she were someone in whom he owned title to a proprietary interest.

And yet I still hear from environmentalists in the NDP that the BC section of the party asked for trouble and got what it deserved. A brief run down of posts of any one of a number of rabble.ca/babble threads on the BC election will turn up several people, some with actual NDP connections, who think, or say they think, that it was the NDP that was baiting the ENGO industry, and that the people in that industry simply defended themselves and their organizations.

What did the NDP really do to end up being fired upon by several ENGOs when the party has taken many risky stands over the years in favour of more and higher environmental and resource management standards?

I am reminded of the early 1990s when feminist organizations went with the Liberals despite the fact that Audrey McLaughlin had been chosen leader of the NDP by a party that wasn't afraid to take a chance and make herstory. The party's reward for this step forward? A complete skewering from the feminist leadership who were more attracted, they said, by Liberal promises of a national day care plan, which of course was never implemented in thirteen years in power, and by Jean Chretien's rejection of the Meech and Charlottetown and their distinct society status for Quebec. Perish the thought that these feminist leaders were in fact attracted by promises of Liberal patronage.

Anonymous said...


Your .. ."Suzuki Incident" comes as no surprise since for years our BC media celeb-culture has allowed for self-created elites to dominate special interests and issues like the environment.

It doesn't matter if its Suzuki or Tzeporah or even Vancouver's "Foreign Minister" David Cadman . . . once they have become media-darlings they have been crowned by our beautiful BC media and are above critique.

In the case of Suzuki you are taking on a holy-icon of Canadian culture, especially at the CBC.

And now that David Suzuki has joined the "Gordon Campbell Dark Side" ($$$) you can expect CanWest Global and that other eco-celeb David Anderson will soon be gunning for you too.

But for all their greatness these eco-celebs have never been able to kick-the-habit of public sector paycheques and even better . . . public-sector expense accounts.



Anonymous said...

Bill, you're my hero.

I have sat in a few Suzuki audiences where I have seen evidence of the behaviour you describe. At one where he was the keynote speaker, he started by dismissing the topic of the conference as being irrelevant (technology in municipalities). He then proceeded with what was obviously a canned speech. In another, when he was questioned politely about how his personal story, involving his driving his family into nature in a SUV, may not be a useful message for those who could not even afford a car, Suzuki blustered some nonsense. He then proceeded to ignore the speaker for the rest of the very short question period.

Sadly Suzuki has lived this long and has not learned the charm and wisdom found in intellectual honesty as he clings to his bloated ego.

Pat in New Westminster.

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered why someone who studied the genetics of fruit flies thinks he has the qualifications to speak as our leading environmentalist. I guess all it takes is arrogance.

Jeff Barkley said...

Bill! You're my hero! Since Suzuki and Berman made their attack on the NDP, I have been fuming. How could these presumably intelligent individuals have been "tricked" by the obviously corrupt Campbell Liberals? The short answer is, they were'nt. They were backing the BC Liberals to keep a gravy train of corporate donations and government pandering going for their own self-interest. Suzuki is not a stupid man and I refuse to believe that he "just didn't understand" what the BC Liberals were all about.

On the positive side, it appears that Suzuki and Berman are beginning to reap what they have sown. What other explanation is there for his poorly orchestrated attack on you? He must be hearing the voices of some of us decrying his pathetic backing of the BC Liberal freight train of environmental and economic destruction. Well, David, suck it up. You chose your side, now live with the disdain of real environmentalists as we have to live with the destruction of our province.

David St. Hubbins said...


I think the ad hominem attacks cut both ways on this one. And not just from you. Look at the comments thus far: not demonizing Suzuki; more a sandbox ridiculing of the man. Reducing one of Canada's most celebrated scientists to a heated comment uttered in private at a reception? Come on, Bill. Tell us you have more in your arsenal on this issue.

The NDP's "Axe the Tax" campaign will go down as one of the great failed counter-punches in BC political history. A huge stumble by Carole James, and quite possibly the reason the NDP failed to win this election. While almost every organization and party on the left, middle and even the right have begun to transcend partisanship in favour of green policies like a carbon tax (BC's has been lauded by social democrats, environmentalists the world over), the NDP tried to make political hay out of it by cynically tap into 'Joe SUV Sixpack' knee-jerk resentment over the taxes in general. It backfired miserably, so much that James had to completely retreat from the issue midway through the campaign because it simply wasn't resonating with voters, most of whom are far ahead of the James NDP on climate change.

I also think that fact that you have gone after prominent environmentalists publicly like this shows just how desperate and sadly out of touch the old guard NDP is with the climate change and peak oil era we exist in.

Is Suzuki saying the Liberal carbon tax is a panacea? Of course not, and shame on you for continuing to misrepresent supporters of the carbon tax as suggesting this; and shame on you for further insisting non-Liberal supporters of the carbon tax are Campbell lapdogs. You're playing politics with the issue, and you know it.

All of this would have turned out a lot better for you, Carole James and the BC NDP had they reacted a little differently to the Campbell carbon tax. All James had to do was show some leadership and bi-partisan courage, step forward and admit something like this: "We support the general aim and intent of the carbon tax, but here's what's wrong with this version, and this is what the NDP will do to make a carbon tax more effective." But no, James had to bank her (and her party's) political future on the issue by throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The strategy failed. Rightfully so. And now you, Bill, and your NDP brass associates, need to stop licking your wounds and come up with a more effective way to deal with Liberal green strategy, because frankly, you guys have been completely embarrassed and outmaneuvered on the issue.

Anonymous said...

sounds as if suzuki was contributing handily to global warming.
it is good that you remained cool. he can't have it both ways. he is either on or he is off the bus. during this past campaign, he may as well have been on the campbell campaign bus.

BC Mary said...

Just wondering ... and just asking ... is it possible that David Suzuki is succumbing to some plain ordinary medical issue?

True, he's not that elderly but for some people these issues show up early.

But the kind of behaviour being reported here seems definitely out of the ordinary. Could be a cry for help. My view. Just wondering.


Anonymous said...

Truth be known BC Mary, the Suzuki operation has probably felt the lack of funds being donated after his support for Run of River and the Carbon/Gas tax - support the Libs fiasco.

The squeal of rage in his outburst has more to do with the 'money taps' being turned off, than anything else.

The 'legend in his own mind' is becoming less of a legend every day.

The Evil Eye

G West said...

Nope, don't think so Mary.

David has been an iconoclast and a loner from day one. His classes (when he was still a teacher) at UBC were always full for the entertainment value - as an academic he's always been a a few tonnes short of a full load.

As for the suggestion that the Campbell Tax was a serious attempt to do anything more than launder money...the problem with the camaign simply was that the NDP didn't attack Campbell and his hired hands (Andrew Weaver particularly) a lot harder.

As for David St Hubbins' comment about tactics:

Your contempt for 'Joe Lunchbucket' seems a little ad hominem to me David - is that fair?

I didn't agree with Bill Tieleman in his approach to the STV campaign - but he didn't use any of the tactics Campbell's crew did every time the mentioned the NDP so please, let's stick to the behavior on display above here.

Public figures don't get a pass - the suggestion that they do is absurd.

As for the Campbell tax, please, explain to me how a tax that hasn't reduced GHG one iota in the 11 months it's been in force AND doesn't even apply to airlines or cruise ships (sometimes four of them at a time belching their foul spew into the air here in Victoria this summer) can be said to be a serious attempt at ANYTHING.

Furthermore, if you'd take the trouble to look at Hansard you'd find out the Campbell Liberals weren't even willing to discuss changes to ANY of their laws in the last session.

Looking for ad hominem soup - check out anything coming out of the mouths of Campbell and his business sycophants...

Anonymous said...

The gas tax was just a tax grab, it was not an environmental plan. All the BC Liberals did was institute a tax on petrochemical energy products, but they had no plan on how to reduce the use of such fuels. They called it a Carbon Tax to dress it up, not to reduce its use. Look at their plans for highway construction and expansion to see the myth that they were interested in GHG reduction. They have no plan to implement to help GHG reduction. You can imagine Joe the Plumber saying to himself, "Gee the gas tax is causing the price of gas to be so high, I need to trade in my 4X4 pick-up and get a hybrid car."
The NDP did have a plan. They were set to implement a Cap and Trade system. They wanted to tax the petrochemicals at their source so all would be covered, including exports. And they were initiating a fund to help establish environmental sound processes to develop and use in our homes and communities.
Not much in the press about that during the election campaign, but lots about attack ads. In fact so much that it became an attack on the NDP.

Kam Lee said...

"David Suzuki has lost it and I'm afraid his reputation has been greatly diminished. His blind support for run-of-river power projects and his stand on the Carbon Tax is telling: he is not an environmentalist at all, rather a media maven; a "legend in his own mind."

This statement speaks volumes about davey suzuki. He rolls anywhere where the money is to support his bloated infrastructure. He was a great, now he is a plain. He is losing it. Davey give it up, show your true roots, not a lieberal funded situation.

Anonymous said...

Only you Bill, could make a well respected mild mannered man go completely ballistic. Was it something you said ? Duh, of course. You have a wonderful way of putting facts completely out of context and then pretend you're innocent.

I suspect there was more to the conversation between "You have no right to demonize me" and "I've always been an ally of the NDP" but I laughed at the finish - "Then that's completely mutual". I couldn't agree with David Suzuki more.

And the ironic part, the opening paragraph, "Last week I discovered ... extremely unpleasant when you challenge the wisdom of the arrogant". That could easily apply to someone other than Mr. Suzuki, right Bill ?

Rod Smelser said...

"While almost every organization and party on the left, middle and even the right have begun to transcend partisanship in favour of green policies like a carbon tax (BC's has been lauded by social democrats, environmentalists the world over), the NDP tried to make political hay out of it by cynically tap into 'Joe SUV Sixpack' knee-jerk resentment over the taxes in general...."

Can anyone name other social democratic parties that have supported so-called carbon taxes that are collected at the retail level, rather than at source? Can anyone name any Scandinavian country that has a carbon tax, but does not apply that tax to oil production in the North Sea? No, not the amount of fuel burned in the production process, but rather the amount of fuel extracted from the seabed?

As for "environmentalists the world over", is there a list of those environmental organizations who have publicly stated their support for the BC Govt's carbon tax? Do any of these international environmental foundations provide funding to local ENGOs here in BC, so that they can afford luxurious Westside offices, high levels of pay, etc.?

"...the NDP tried to make political hay out of it by cynically tap into 'Joe SUV Sixpack' knee-jerk resentment"

I hear this interpretative meme all the time. The Liberals were courageous. The NDP was opportunistic. It's given as fact, when in fact it's pure interpretation, pure spin, and pure falsehood.

By framing the argument in these terms, the writer intentionally distorts reality to fit their agenda. The tax was regressive, and imposed a greater burden on rural and Northern residents regardless of what Dr Jaccard has claimed in his modelling.

People who live in areas where transit isn't viable and never will be had little alternative but to pay up. Changing to other forms of transportation wasn't viable. Ditto for home heating. Jaccard's figures showed similar engergy consumption per "average" household in Greater Vancouver and in the North, but forgot to mention that these averages were the result of Northern residents having long ago purchased greater levels of insulation, thermal panes, etc.

But according to St Hubbins, and many others who parrot this easy meme, there was no policy disagreement, just an opportunistic NDP ploy to capture the votes of 'Joe SUV Sixpack'. Talk about political stereotypes! If that turn of phrase isn't enough to clue a person into the real political gamesmanship behind the carbon tax, nothing will. It was a political gambit for the Liberals to mobilize support among self-styled urbane sophisticates who are contemptuous of suburban and rural voters, and St Hubbins choice of terms makes that crystal clear.

Bill Tieleman said...

Anonymous 12:57 suggests that "I suspect there was more to the conversation."

Let's be clear - I did not approach David Suzuki, I politely disagreed with him despite his obvious anger and bad temper, I did not swear at him or call him names or raise my voice.

There were many people in attendance and several came over to me to ask what on earth had happened.

Yes he did say more than I recorded here - insulting another individual with some other remarks that I won't report.

The only other conversation I've had with David Suzuki was in the CKNW studios a month or so earlier when I said hello and he asked me who I was! Now he knows.

Bernard von Schulmann said...

This speaks more to the nature of David Suzuki than the carbon tax issue.

My experience has been that David Suzuki has a very large ego and does not have any time for anyone that does not agree with him.

Bill, you should go find Dan Gawthrop and have a beer with him and ask him about David Suzuki.

For the record, I am a huge supporter of carbon taxes and dubious about cap and trade.

David St. Hubbins said...

G. West,

You said:

"Your contempt for 'Joe Lunchbucket' seems a little ad hominem to me David - is that fair?"

No, not fair. Just plain wrong. I have no contempt for any blue collar people, rural folk or anyone who struggles to put food on the table. My point is that the NDP willfully pandered to this segment of the voting populace in its cynical attempt to dismiss the carbon tax as nothing more than another rich stealing from the poor/rural. What BCers wanted in this carbon tax debate was a counter-solution, rather than old school class warfare rhetoric. That socialist bird doesn't fly any more. Your NDP allies in Nova Scotia have realized this, and they will likely be rewarded this week with a majority government for that realization that we live in different world than we did 20 or 30 years ago.

Yes, I acknowledge the NDP's attempt to opt for a cap & trade strategy, but this strategy failed because it placed the issue of carbon emissions in either/or terms. Most experts, including the likes of Dr. Andrew Weaver have argued all along that it's not an either/or dilemma. A carbon tax is part of the solution, as is a cap & trade system. The NDP took the low moral road in turning the issue into a political fight in a bid to win points, and all they ended up doing was alienating their environmental constituents.

The NDP got outflanked on the green file, and Bill Tieleman is taking it a bit too much to heart, ideologically speaking. You know you're taking it a bit too personally as a journalist when you start using wine-fuelled comments made at private functions as sources for your very public articles. Not very professional, to be truthful. And in this case, Bill comes off just as bad as Suzuki - two egos in engaged in a pissing match.

What's wrong with the NDP saying the carbon tax is a good, symbolic gesture, but we can do better than what the Liberals have offered? Tell me why this is so hard for NDPers to spit out?

Suzuki and most climatologists who are worth their salt have generally said that the fight against climate change is a multi-pronged battle, and must happen on multi-partisan fronts. Moreover, said climatologists have never made the mistake, like Bill has, of equating a good policy with complicit support of a bad government. Do I support the Campbell government's policies aimed at selling off rivers and promoting oil tanker traffic and drilling offshore? No, absolutely not. But the carbon tax is an important step forward, even if only symbolic in value. It gets people thinking in different terms. My big frustration as a voter on the left is the opposition's failure to offer me a viable alternative on the climate change issue.

Chris said...

Wow. I'm kind of shocked by the comments here. I was hoping that once the NDP lost the election, they would give up the opposition to the carbon tax, and instead try to improve it.

I spent most of the election defending the NDP on blogs like the desmogblog, but if the comments here are any indication of what NDP insiders think, I regret it. No wonder Suzuki is pissed, the NDP has lost all of its environmental credibility.

Bill Tieleman said...

Sorry David St. Hubbins but your "Spinal Tap" take on things is just a bit much.

Neither Suzuki nor I were "wine-fuelled" and I was at no time unprofessional.

Suzuki chose to yell at me at an event where we both knew many of those attending - that's his decision, which is regrettable in my view.

But I have accurately written what was said and I think it's very important that my readers understand how a leading supporter of the BC Liberal carbon tax responds to any criticism - in this case to my column.

Suzuki and others chose to value the carbon tax over all the other environmental degradation the BC Liberals inflicted on this province and to ensure their comments hurt the NDP - that's up to them and is their right to do so.

I disagreed and said so - Suzuki didn't like it and in over a month since my column was published he couldn't find a more rational way to express himself - too bad.

As for the NDP and future policy towards the carbon tax, that's up to them, not me. But I'll continue to oppose it as unfair and ineffective.

David St. Hubbins said...

Rod Smelser,

In answer to a couple of your questions:

Sweden enacted a carbon tax years before climate change even hit the radar. Finland, the Netherlands, and Norway also introduced carbon taxes in the 1990s. Finland was the first among these nations to introduce the tax. Italy also brought a version in in 1998. The UK imposed the Fuel Price Escalator, an incrementally-increasing pollution tax, on retail petroleum products from 1993, which has since undergone some adjustments, but remains in tact. There are others if you care to investigate.

As for my comment about "environmentalists the world over..." - how about I be more specific. Prevailing scientific opinion on climate change (there remain a few contrarians who deny climate change even exists or is human-caused), e.g. - the IPCC, is generally supportive of carbon taxation. I know it pains you to admit that a right-wing regime like the Campbell government is capable of a single progressive policy, but stranger things have happened in politics. The right-wing populist WAC, don't forget, gave us all those wonderful public enterprises.

The rest of your diatribe, sprinkled with big post-modern words like 'meme', really don't amount to much substance. The fact is, prevailing science supports the idea of a carbon tax. You and Carole James do not. And as long as you continue trying to speak of this issue in partisan, ideological terms, you add nothing to the debate. I'm not suggesting Campbell is untouchable on his carbon tax. I think his version hardly goes far enough. But the NDP has not even attempted to touch it; rather, they've bypass it blindly in desperate search for diminishing voter support.

Rod Smelser said...

"Your contempt for 'Joe Lunchbucket' seems a little ad hominem to me David - is that fair?"

No, not fair. Just plain wrong. I have no contempt for any blue collar people, rural folk or anyone who struggles to put food on the table. My point is that the NDP willfully pandered to this segment of the voting populace in its cynical attempt to dismiss the carbon tax as nothing more than another rich stealing from the poor/rural.

David St Hubbins:
You'd be well advised to observe the rule, when you're in a hole, stop digging. Your language proves the opposite of what you assert.

David St. Hubbins said...


If you want to get sidetracked by semantic fourplay, go right ahead, but you'll be using your own hand for that.

You failed to answer a single of my substantive points about the carbon tax or the NDP's position. Which only leads me and others to conclude you have no answer.

Bill T,

I think you need to play back my postings in the key of D-minor (the saddest of all keys) for full impact. But seriously, as another person correctly noted, all you've done here is exposed private comments said to you at a reception. This article is about you and Suzuki, very little about the carbon tax. I would love it if you could give Suzuki a chance to respond, but something tells me he's able to rise above personal insults hurled at a reception party. Moreover, I think he's too busy doing the important environmental work that needs to be done than to get caught up in pissing matches.

All in all, no one can accuse you of avoiding the carbon tax question. I just wish you'd offer a more substantive opinion on the tax, rather than on one of its proponents.

Rod Smelser said...

Sweden enacted a carbon tax years before climate change even hit the radar. Finland, the Netherlands, and Norway also introduced carbon taxes in the 1990s. Finland was the first among these nations to introduce the tax. Italy also brought a version in in 1998. The UK imposed the Fuel Price Escalator, an incrementally-increasing pollution tax, on retail petroleum products from 1993, which has since undergone some adjustments, but remains in tact. There are others if you care to investigate.

As I expected, David St Hubbins has deliberately evaded the question. I asked, which Scandinavian countries have imposed a carbon tax at the retail level, rather than on primary production?

I think the sincerity level of this discussion can be found in St Hubbins remarks about climate change deniers and in his ignorant assertion that the IPCC recommended a carbon tax. They did not do any such thing because that's not their role. Their business, as natural scientists, is to measure the physical problem; it's up to others, such as the economist Nicholas Stern and his group, to discuss the policy solutions.

It might interest St Hubbins to know, and of course there's always the very distinct possibility that it won't, that the world's most distinguished climate change economist, Yale University's William D. Nordhaus, advocates a carbon tax over a cap and trade system. Yet he takes issue with Stern over the level and timing of that tax because he thinks Stern used far too low a discount rate. Others have argued the same thing. I can given St Hubbins a reference to the Journal of Economic Literature if he's genuinely interested, which I personally doubt.

When people pretend to know something, they really do need to do their homework first. For example, for St Hubbins to refer to David Suzuki as a "climatologist" is an absurd inaccuracy. Suzuki is a geneticist and a broadcaster and has never been a climate specialist. Similarly, the UBC economist who organized a petition urging Finance Minister Carol Taylor to institute a carbon tax is a labour economist with no publications in the field of environmental or climate change economics.

Jeff Barkley said...

David St Hubbins said

"My point is that the NDP willfully pandered to this segment of the voting populace in its cynical attempt to dismiss the carbon tax as nothing more than another rich stealing from the poor/rural."

I believe history and reality show that the BC Liberal carbon tax IS nothing more than another rich stealing from the poor/rural scenario. Perhaps you are too young or uninformed to understand how right-wing politics works in BC. Stop trying to put lipstick on a pig...its still a pig and all the spin and disingenuous talk will not change that.

How, exactly, does the construction of dams on all of our rivers, to generate power for export and the enrichment of Liberal insiders lower BC's carbon footprint? Supporting the Liberal's carbon tax to the exclusion of all else is similar to being thrilled that someone came by and painted your mailbox while they burned your house down. The carbon tax was nothing but a greenwashing attempt by people who desire to take profit at any cost to the environment and needed a smokescreen. They played the egos of David Suzuki and his ilk like a violin...

G West said...

Nope, David St Huggins

I disagree.

Words matter.

Those were your words and 'claiming' you didn't 'mean it' is silly.

Any more than claiming public figures get a pass for the things they say in public.

If you'd wanted to say that the NDP was trying to appeal to the 'average working man' who's trying to meet his obligations without the kind of tax incentives that the Campbell government specializes in and for whom the phony 'revenue neutral' Campbell tax is utterly useless, then you'd have said so.

To try and pretend something different is pointless.

Furthermore, to put this whole issue in class-warfare terms when the NDP campaign was very clear about the need to really address the GHG issue is dishonest.

It's the Campbell forces who pretend that the Campbell tax has done anything but launder money...I say it is the phony environmentalists who supported Campbell's sophistry, people like David Suzuki and Andrew Weaver who actually made a robocall to my home number in Victoria to urge me to vote for this useless joke of a premier who have egg on their faces.

If what you say is true and the citizens of BC are only saddled with Campbell for another 4 years because people like you who don't understand what this human stain of a premier is doing to the province supported him (or were confused by his lies) don't blame the NDP.

They told the truth, not loud enough and despite a complete lack of equity in the media, the Liberals, and Suzuki and his type are the liars.

His bizarre enmity toward Bill Tieleman is about all the extra evidence one needed to see that the choice of Jim Hoggan as the executive director of the foundation was hardly an accident. Maybe Mary is right – Suzuki may be suffering from some kind of borderline personality disorder.

The only people impressed with the Campbell Tax are people who haven't actually read it and people who think it's actually done something.

Serious economists have decried the immorality and ineffectiveness of Pigovian taxes for at least two generations...time to wake up.

David St. Hubbins said...


You obviously have more time for Bill Tieleman's comments section than I do. Nonetheless, you make very cogent points and valid corrections to a couple of my sloppy, unsupported arguments. I give credit where it's due. Well done.

I think it's fair to say that the majority of climatologists and other scientists who study this issue, especially those who study it from a policy point of view, believe that the general idea of a carbon tax is a good one. It could all be moot, as there is a growing opinion that we are way too late in addressing climate change and peak oil (see dieoff.org for fun dystopian reading).

The BC NDP seem way out of touch with the times. Bill seems way out of touch, and a bit childish in using comments uttered to him at a party as inspiration for an article.

I make no claims to scientific expertise. I hold no party cards (burned my NDP card more than a decade ago after).

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

David who.........??
Just another reflection from days gone by.
Bye, Bye....

Your assessment, the proverb and the treatment you took Bill, are all just a reaffirmation of what those that have know him already knew; ego gone wrong, namely arrogance.

Kevin P.

record said...

Carbon taxes vs cap and trade, a wasted exercise in futility. Neither is worth the time of day. The NDP was right to oppose the carbon tax, they just did it for the wrong reason.

Serious carbon reduction will only come from restricting the supply of carbon available by reducing extraction and refining and controlling imports so that there is no more carbon fuel available beyond what is deemed to produce a safe level of emissions.

Both the tax and cap and trade approaches are attempts to fix a problem using the current economic system, a system which itself is part of the problem. That economic system has to die if we are to salvage the ecosystem that we depend upon. No political party yet is willing to face this fact.

Mike Geoghegan said...

I have thought that for some time that Suzuki was a prima donna but since his comments last year about jailing people who happened to disagree with his views I have been wondering if they guy is not truly losing it.

DPL said...

Some people here say the NDP was against the gas tax so they might get elected.Cap and Trade just wasn't in the cards, although other places use the system. Nobody else is using the Gas Tax that Gordo brought in. Others seem to think David S. is some sort of a God. Sure some environmentalists are divided on the way to go and some get their noses out of joint if we don't all figure those folks are always right. How many of them actually run for elected office?

I wonder how much energy was used on those rather childish TV Commercials with David poking his head through assorted windows telling little kids that their parents were wrong and his flogging of weather stripping sure looked weird as well. Go walk past his Point Gray house and wonder if he is narrowing his carbon foot print. I'm pretty convinced that if he blew his composure at a public meeting that maybe just maybe Tieleman wasn't tricking him to sound like an idiot. He was doing it all by himself.

Any more anons about to add to the mix?

Norman Farrell said...

Arrogance diminishes wisdom.

- Arabian proverb

The remainder of your column proves the first 3 words to be factual. Bravo.

Rod Smelser said...

Bill, a question.

What was this reception? I am just wondering what the occassion was and what the crowd was where David Suzuki lost his temper so profoundly.

ambrose said...

How can a man with such a scientific reputation and I take it a keen mind not understand what a STUPID comment he made that to any MORON was a support for that LYING Bast... Campbell. All he needs is someone like S. to back his lies and he will even believe them himself.

Anonymous said...

I can fully understand David Suzuki's fury. As a life-long NDP supporter, I felt a similar rage about the dishonest "Axe The Tax" campaign. I am not, and doubt I ever will be, a supporter of the Campbell Liberals, for all the reasons you list - and more. I had no choice but to vote Green this time, because I fully support the carbon tax (it is dishonest and misleading to call it a gas tax). If the NDP had won the election - efforts towards reducing climate change with necessary and inevitable carbon pricing would have been set back enormously. I was furious that my party could be so backward and unprincipled. This opinion is not an endorsement of the Liberals - simply a support of the carbon tax.

Your column was smug and insufferable. Thank you, David Suzuki, for expressing the rage that so many of us feel towards the NDP's "Axe the Tax" campaign. Sometimes it's absolutely appropriate to express anger. We have a planet at stake here, Bill.

Anonymous said...

I interviewed Suzuki 2 years ago and he went ballistic on me when I dared question global warming. I've got it on tape.

DPL said...

Well anon 11:57 tells us she or he was a life time NDP supporter. Loves the gas, sorry carbon tax so fixed everyone by voing green. The folks who their leader claimed would stop all logging on vancouver Island.(she got 15 percent of the vote in the riding, coming in third). So lets get another big number of folks unemployed. a spokesman for the Sierra Club stated on a radio station yesterday that it's all very well to have a tax on fuels but shouldnt they work toward a number of things such as off shore oil.( Can't trust him, he used to be in a union) .Other columnists say the revenue from the gas tax should be going to improve public transportation. And by God, unlike anon 11:57 they all have the balls to identify themselves. If one belieevs in something strongly, they should be prepared to defend their position by at least taking some sort of a name when writing their opinions. Any one of us could argue both sides of any issue by being anon.

Rod Smelser said...

Anonymous 11:57 PM

I can fully understand David Suzuki's fury. As a life-long NDP supporter, ...

Your column was smug and insufferable. Thank you, David Suzuki, for expressing the rage that so many of us feel towards the NDP's "Axe the Tax" campaign. Sometimes it's absolutely appropriate to express anger. We have a planet at stake here, Bill.

I personally believe that this post was written by someone in the BC Liberal Govt's Public Affairs Bureau. It has no credibility whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

"Thank you, David Suzuki, for expressing the rage that so many of us feel towards the NDP's "Axe the Tax" campaign. Sometimes it's absolutely appropriate to express anger. We have a planet at stake here, "

What nonsense, you act as those the NDP are climate change deniers, when all they offered was a different path.

There are valid concerns with the fairness of the tax and how it affects different regions. Would the NDP path been effective? Probably as effective as the carbon tax (which is to say not very much). Emissions in BC are going up not down, despite your beloved tax!

You feel rage at the NDP? Choose another party or join the NDP and work to make it different.

Personally, I feel rage towards those environmentalists who would settle for the BC Liberals whose platform was no where near as green as the NDP's platform. Talk about tunnel vision.

Kam Lee said...

According to my sources, there are up to 8 people from gordo's office that follow and write comments on your site. If they had any balls they would use their real names. I think we know who they are. LOL

Anonymous said...

Hmm, very interesting story by Bill. Did this incident occur at the CPRS annual convention at the Westin yesterday? Suzuki would not answer questions, though perhaps this is standard fare.

I noticed that Suzuki was introduced by a guy named Kevin Boothroyd, whose card says "VP of Corp Comms and Public Affairs" for a company called Syntaris Power, which is very active in Run of the River projects in both Canada and the USA. Now, other posters have mentioned this apparent connection between Suzuki and IPP (which I did not know about).

Suzuki's speech to the CPRS reprised a lot of what he's said/written in the past, then at the end he said, 'oh, but we can turn it around, as you'll see if you buy my new book' or words to that effect. Earlier in the conf, Boothroyd told me that opposition to the IPP/run of the river projects came primarily from unions at BC Hydro.

It's pretty obvious that Suzuki is sleeping with the enemy on some keyissues, while he tops the charts as 'most admired Canadian' in others. Depending, of course, on how you define the enemy.

Anonymous said...

I see that the Liberal Trolls are in fine fettle slandering you on the Tyee. Gee Whiz, you certainly pissed off the Libs and Suzukiites.

Well a pox on David Suzuki and his anti carbon/gas tax, it all a Liberal tax scam.

Suzuki supports SkyTrain, yet the mode is one of the most environmentally detrimental transit system around! Not only is it very expensive to build, it really hasn't attracted the motorist from the car.

On another blog, someone is suggesting that the Carbon/gas tax is to subsidize the RAV/Canada line as those "200,000 car drivers a day" the prem Gordo says RAV gonna take off the road is just a massive wet dream.

So Suzuki in supporting SkyTrain and RAV, really is supporting more car use and more car use creates more carbon - go figure!

Evil Eye.

Anonymous said...

DPL, Rod and Kam: In your responses to Anonymous 11:57, you have some rather boneheaded comments. Let's be honest, the real problem is the NDP supporters that come hell or high water insist on following their leader regardless of her poor choices.

"Axe The Tax" made me sick, not because I disagree with the idea, but because it wasn't an NDP policy idea. It was an anti-Liberal policy idea. Designed to win votes regardless of what the NDP thought would be best for the province.

The post from 11:57 lacks credibility ? Why, because someone had an independent thought during the election and voted with their conscience instead of following the blinded masses that thought the two worst options available were the only choices ?

And the corker from Kam, identifying the anonymous contributors from his "sources". Now that's a lack of credibility.

Now just to clear up a couple of misconceptions you will have by now, I am not a Liberal supporter. I am one of the majority of people that can't stand either party but there's no reason you should or will believe me.

Would these comments be any more believable or credible if I attached a made up name ? No. Then my anonymity is irrelevant, just as your names are. You will just have to take my word for it, I have the balls to stand up for what I believe is right. That's why I'm here. I used to sign my name but I don't expect it to ever happen again.

Any of you want to meet (Vancouver) to discuss further ? Anonymity is not synonymous with cowardice.

Anonymous said...

"I have thought that for some time that Suzuki was a prima donna but since his comments last year about jailing people who happened to disagree with his views...

...the term "eco-fascism" comes to mind....and I've met a few "eco-fascists" before... this behaviour was typical...

Kam Lee said...

Wow, I have woken the sleeping tiger. Yes my insiders are right. They do not dare to say anything against the pisstank, fearing for their jobs. Don't worry you pretty lil head about me and my sources. Unlike you, they are real. Sir you are a coward.

G West said...

Lots of people have the balls to stand up for what is right MR ANON 7pm.

Have you read Bill 37?

If the Campbell Tax took one penny of its administratively costly cash grab and put it to some positive purpose then you'd have a point...IT DOESN'T. All it does is launder money, most of it to the upper income brackets in tax savings.

The lies and manipulation are all on the Liberal side and especially on the ‘green’ side.

Sadly, a lot of nice people like you appear to have been taken in. That’s too bad, but it’s not my fault and it’s not Bill Tieleman’s fault.

David Suzuki should be embarrassed.

This tax does nothing BUT HURT the small businessman and woman and middle class and lower middle class workers.

It is simply another reach around to Campbell's friends AND furthermore, it has not reduced GHG one gram nor will it ever do so - even after it reaches its 3 year high.

That's an honest, truthful appreciation of someone who KNOWS about Pigovian taxes and understands economics and how we’ve gotten ourselves into this ridiculous predicament during the past 30 odd years.

SO please, don't consider yourself too noble - you're not the only one with a conscience who pays service to the truth.

Anonymous said...

I recently accidentally cut David off in traffic. He was pissed. I thought it probably wrecked my karma but upon hearing how much of a dick he is I think I may have just been his Karma getting balanced out.

Eleanor Gregory said...

What a fascinating read this thread has been!

Word from the wise (not me, but a word said to me when I ran for public office) there is no such thing as a 'heated comment uttered in private at a reception'. When you are a public figure, and that includes well-known environmental figures, everything you do is subject to scrutiny.

I noticed a real ebb and flow in the posts. Various pointed jabs, followed by attempts at being more conciliatory. I sense a real desire among all those who have posted here a genuine interest in dealing with and addressing environmental issues in a meaningful and productive way.

But what do I know? I'm just a one-term wonder school trustee who didn't have the b**ls to run for a second term.

Anonymous said...

As a life-long New Democrat, I feel sooo alienated from the NDP right now.

So many of the comments here are so insulting to me as a British Columbian who grew up in the sticks, enjoys cutting down trees, and loves nature and our wilderness areas too.

The Green-Brown debate should be dead. Corky Evans himself came to the same conclusion.

But here we have Tielman and the Farworth/James NDP playing cheap politics with the environment for NO reason.

As someone who has worked all over BC, I recognise Suzuki's important contribution to helping protect our environmental heritage and patrimony.

I don't like Campbell. The run of the river thing is a sell-out. I love Howser Creek.

But the NDP needs change real bad. A good place to start would have been to have taken whatever Tielman suggested, and then done the opposite.

It sure would have been nice and progressive to have given STV a try. Coulda changed it back if it didnt work. Sure woulda been nice and progressive to have had the NDP push for a carbon tax that funded rural infrastructure and transportation; and which provided rebates where there arent any viable options. Sure woulda been nice to have had all the progressives together in one happy tent in support of not only principled policies but also principled politics...

But no. We had to split the progressive movement. We had to call great British Columbians nasty names. We had to play us rural folks for fools by putting the carbon tax issue at the top of the agenda. Didnt even get Charlie Wyse reelected. Over 50% stayed home.

I really feel alienated from the NDP right now. Dont be fooled by the disproportionate comments here. There are many many more like me. Bitter lifelong New Democrats.

We need change. May the new and young MLAs like Michele Mungall, Rob Fleming, Nic Simons, and Spencer Herbert have the confidence to stand up and speak loudly for a whole new generation of principled politics and policy.

Bill Tieleman said...

I find it fascinating how many commenters here and at the Tyee can't deal with the issue of Suzuki's position and the NDP's without raising the STV question and my role in defeating it.

We can debate STV again if you want but it's over.

The unfair carbon tax goes up again next month - so let's stick to that topic, regardless of your views on STV.

And would those NDP MLAs you mention including Corky be the same ones who voted against the BC Liberal gas tax?

Rod Smelser said...


Thanks for starting a very interesting discussion here and at the Tyee as well. I would still like to know what this gathering was, where and when it was held, just to be able to picture the scene and get a better idea of the context.

Also, I would like to repeat my beef about allowing any anonymous posters. Letters to the editor must be signed with a real name and a real address and phone number given.

But it seems to be part of the Internet's committment to dumbing down discussion that anonymous and phoney names are not only tolerated, they're encouraged. I think this is a stupid mistake, and I put it down to clever public opinion manipulators who have enshrined this approach knowing full well that it's not going to produce the background revelations from insiders that they claim, but rather will lead to a further cheapening of the tone and a further degrading of the content of public debate.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks Rod. At times I too wonder about the policy of allowing anonymous comments but I also know demanding verifiable names would dramatically reduce the debates and range of posters.

I'm not publicizing the actual event where the Suzuki blowout took place as a courtesy to the folks who invited both him and me.

I have no reason to drag them into this fray so you'll have to be satisfied with what I've already said, which is that it was last week, in Vancouver, with a fair number of people in attendance for a book launch.

Rod Smelser said...

Thanks for your answer, Bill. It sounds like the people who hosted this event don't want to be associated with The Explosion.

On a related note, I was told three years ago by an agonomist who knows people at the DSF that David Suzuki was furious with Jack Layton over his decision to work away on the Conservative Clean Air Act instead of forcing an election, primarily because Layton hadn't cleared it with Suzuki first. Sound like someone you've met?

Hopefully one day the political climate around Internet usage will change, and the use of real names will become standard, and the use of psuedo-nyms a privilege granted only when the editor is satisfied that the request for anonymity is justified by real world circumstances, an actual whistle blower in government or industry for example. I think the Alcoholics Anonymous atmosphere on Internet chat boards, far from encouraging honesty and candour, has become a licence for the very opposite.

On the brighter side, at least Luke S. doesn't fill your blog with his stuff!

DPL said...

I wonder what Dr.Suzuki the expert on things enviromental will have to sat about the Conservative plan to approach carbon outputs from a different perspective? Maybe some of the anons will get right onto that subject. We pay 1.07 for regular gas in Victoria where the word competition doesn't exist. It's about to go up again. I see no improvement in the bus system and the HandiDart system is overloaded with requests for those who , if a bus comes by, jump on it. They are a bit slow at jumping. Wonder if Dr.Suzuki rides the bus, walks or bike? Just asking . The cruis ships keep showing up making lots of smells as the run thier generators at all times. They of course arn't subject to Gordos Fuel tax. Are the airlines as well?
My address is available on request providing the party asking does the same.

Anonymous said...

Just got a few minutes for this. Not enough time for detailed messages. I was Anon 7PM. DPL, I look forward to meeting up with you soon. (excess@shaw.ca if you want more info)

Bill, I know you have trouble understanding but STV is not dead. Look around, you will see it still exists in many parts of the world. As for BC, it was never alive except for discussion purposes and as you can see that is still happening. Your wishful thinking will never stop that.

Kam, let's not bother with each other, you sound as ridiculous to me as I do to you.

Wish I had more time to discuss the last few comments as there were a lot of positive things said. Someone mentioned Bill 37, no I haven't read it so I can't comment further. If it's vital to know this to understand the NDP position, then why was that not made more mention of by the NDP ? Got to run, will catch up tomorrow evening.

Anonymous said...

Bill comments:

"I too wonder about the policy of allowing anonymous comments but I also know demanding verifiable names would dramatically reduce the debates and range of posters."

Part of the process of debate and free speech is the question of accountability. Anonymous (or alias) commentators may indeed add a range and volume to a forum like this, but the lack of accountability diminishes that range. Quantity online does not necessarily result in quality. This comments section is clear proof of that.

I completely agree with Rod on this issue, and the only reason I stand here as anonymous is because you permit it - and I haven't been encouraged to sign up for a blogger account. I have other reasons, but that's neither here nor there.

If you restricted comments access to people who at least take time to fill out a blogger form (this itself, of course, is no guarantee of true identity, but it's a step beyond anonymity), I would likely join up, and I might feel the environment was of a bit more credible. When I put my identity on the line, I want others to do the same. Level the ID playing field, if you will.

The Internet has skewed the concepts of free speech and publishing rights. The allowance of anonymity may pave the way for a wider range of debate and larger numbers of users, but it also encourages the cyber-phenomena known as 'flaming' and 'trolling' - it's jolly easy to say anything when you hide behind anonymity.

If you want a more quality, credible debate, you need to make users more accountable for their comments in the way most newspapers do in letters to editor sections. And by the way, I notice even Rod is not commenting as a signed up user, but is simply entering a name in the given box upon posting. I have no reason to question his ID, but how many others plug names in that are aliases. I'd say the majority.

I notice Harvey Oberfeld has strict rules about comments, requiring people sign up. His comments sections may not have the sex appeal and range, but at least I know people there are a bit more credible.

Those of us who pre-date the Internet, really know how nasty the allowance of anonymity can be for a public debate. Kids who grow up with this medium, it's likely a non-issue, indeed, anonymity is likely seen as one of the entitlements of online culture.

Free speech does not mean anonymous free speech. It means accountable, responsible free speech. All I see these days on the Internet blogs and forums are anonymous trolls yelling fire in a crowded theatre.

Rod Smelser said...

Anonymous, be assured that Rod Smelser is my real name. A check of the phone book will confirm that.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks Anon 2:06 - you do note that one can post a name without signing up on Blogger and I certainly encourage the use of at least pen names so we can follow your comments - if you are unwilling to go public with your real name.

I understand lots of reasons why people choose to post as Anonymous - job concerns, personal relationships, business connections etc - and I have no problem with that.

This isn't a newspaper and I'm not going to enforce the standards for letters to the editor because this is a different forum.

I also publish everything submitted - unlike a paper - so long as it is not defamatory or obscene.

If that means "trolls" from various interests can post here - so be it. If it gets out of hand I'll consider troll filters but so far it hasn't bothered me and I think the wide range of opinions here is well worth while.

Norman Farrell said...

So CBC News tonight pictures David Suzuki doing a public appearance to promote Save On Foods. So, if you want to buy endangered or farmed seafood species from an approved supplier, visit your local SOF and say, "David sent me."

I wonder what his fee is for special appearances.

Norman Farrell said...

I just had a terrible thought. Pretty soon, Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd fund raising organization will look good by comparison.

Who'd a thunk it.

A. G. Tsakumis said...

David Suzuki is a complete fraud. He is a glorified fruit fly biologist who happened upon an opportunity (actually several) to attempt to revitalize his flagging career, by pretending he cares about ecology.

Ad Hominem attacks one poker claims? Alright, what about attacks by Suzuki on the environment?

1) Flying in from Port Hardy several times a week instead of staying put overnight.

2) Multiple residences.

3) Getting caught fishing in protected waters

4) A cross-country diesel bus trip to promote environmental awareness...that stopped one mile before ending in Victoria harbor, because cameras happened to appear--SO HE RODE HIS BIKE FOR THE LAST MILE.

5) Supporting an illegitimate, ineffectual and punitive carbon tax and essentially aiding and abetting an ethically unqualified Premier to be reelected.

6) Advocating for fucking the working man of this province, by encouraging enviro-fascist policies, like Professor Marc Jerkoff's (SFU) suggestion that the carbon tax should be quadrupled.


Not for Dr. Bullshit, who has made a career out of being wrong, but we can't go off and question a visible minority PhD holder because that wouldn't be polite or correct, right? Right?

Fools, any of you who think this man Suzuki to be anything but the fraud we have uncovered him to be.

I'm extremely proud of my colleague Bill. Great column from a great columnist.

DPL said...

excess@shaw.ca mentioned that I should contact her or him but the address gets me nowhere.

I too saw Suzuki flogging Jimmy Patterson's fish counter . The camera panned to a display of farmed salmom. Great to be totally independent David. Your followers will be rushing out to Jimmy's stores to buy the stuf raised in pens, in our bits of ocean, laced with drugs, and colouring. "Real fish don't eat pellets" and a lot of people don't eat farmed fish in this neck of the woods. Nobody I know eats the stuff. At restaurants we always ask, and the places we eat at don't use it either. a couple of places get offended that we would actually ask.

Henri Paul said...

After reading what David Susuki said to B.T. then, after reading all these comments, I gotta admit, my view and opinion of him have turned 180.

Anonymous said...

Suzuki - like all the Canwest pseudo critics - probably voted Lib.

When I see someone like him point the finger, I wonder what he is deflecting from.

Good news. The one-man catastrophe who has misruled the Supreme Court for 9 years, is retiring. Don Brenner leaves to take his $200,000 per year pension, that he "earned" by managing an access to the rich and powerful system. He leaves a minefield of concealment. You may have read that attornies (paid by us) for the cops who are subject to Braidwood-Commission scrutiny, are seeking an injunction to prevent Braidwood from finding fault, viz cops who used a tazer for 31 seconds, even though instructions limit use to 10 seconds. But in which courtroom? Robson lists nothing in Chambers. Neither the Commission nor the Registry would help. Money for nothing.


Anonymous said...

Tsakumis asks: "Ad Hominem attacks one poker claims?"

Actually more than one. Here's your contribution:

"[David Suzuki] is a glorified fruit fly biologist"

"Advocating for fucking the working man of this province, by encouraging enviro-fascist policies, like Professor Marc Jerkoff's"

"Not for Dr. Bullshit, who has made a career out of being wrong"

"but we can't go off and question a visible minority PhD holder"

Tsakumis, you just embarrass yourself by using these types of ad hominem blurbs. Any actual, supported argument you might be making is overshadowed by your poor sportsmanship.

"Dr. Bullshit" and "Professor Marc Jerkoff"? And who exactly are you, and what are your credentials?

Bill, this is a colleague of your? Hmmm.

Norman Farrell said...

I think it takes remarkable cowardice for an anonymous person to offer a diatribe against a contributor that signs his real name.

G West said...

I notice Suzuki's foundation also lists some 50+ corporate donors (2005/06)including : EnCana Corporation (natural gas production and oil sands development), ATCO Gas, Ontario Power Generation Employees’ and Pensioners’ Charity Trust, Bell Canada, Toyota, IBM, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Microsoft, Scotia Capital, Warner Brothers, RBC, Canon and Bank of Montreal.

Seems rather at odds with David's claim that "corporations have not been interested in funding us"

Guess that now includes Save on Foods eh?

Rod Smelser said...

Anonymous 10:06

Perhaps Alex Tsakumis is being impolite in using the appellation Dr Mark Jerkoff.

I personally think it's great when intellectuals, such as tenured academics from the universities, become politically active either as government or opposition advisers, the so-called "brains trust". But when they do that, and when they write cheesy, aggressive partisan op-ed pieces for the CanWest machinery, I think they should have the intellectual and personal honesty to admit that they have joined the party system, that they have given up their non-combatant status as intellectuals in favour of active political involvement.

But there are some jerkoffs who just don't have the honesty to do that, largely because they know that if they admit they're being party soldiers their despicably dishonest op-ed pieces will have less persuasive power in the minds of the gullible, the people pollster Allan Greg once called "the urban stupid".

DPL said...

Anon 10:06 has some comments about a columnist but somehow doesn't get around to saying just which anon he actually is. Yep some folks are concerned about their jobs and such but if taking the effort to complain about others, one would be taken more seriously if they actually at least used some nom de plume or heaven forbid their own name. Tieleman and A. G. Tsakumis and all other journalists use there own as well. But Bill has let you anons off the hook, it's his blog so I guess it's OK to slag others with no real chance of rebutal. But in my view it lowers the strentgh of the comments. Must rush off to see what position Ms. James, the ex gas tax critic has shifted or dropped so far today. Gordo will be laughing out loud at her latest shift. He gets to laugh at her quite a lot , unfortunatly for all of us who figure he is the goof.

Skookum1 said...

Anonymous 11:24: "It sure would have been nice and progressive to have given STV a try."

I tend to agree, but not with the current/recent STV proposal, but with the one that nearly passed in 2005 and, were it not for Carole James' opposition, would have been used in this recent election. It didn't have mega-constituencies or proportional calculations built in, it was pretty much a preferential ballot like the elections of '52-'53.

The result would have at least been a Liberal minority, or even an NDP minority, depending on where the chips and the second-choice ballots fell. The NDP, I think, remember the catastrophe of 1952, when Social Credit was propelled to fringe party status when the second-choice votes of NDPers went to them, PLUS the second-choice votes of Tories and Grits, who hated each other enough to NOT put each other's parties as the second-choice. Upshot of this comparison is, if the 2005 system had been used this time, second-choice Liberal votes might well have been Green rather than Tory and certainly wouldn't have been NDP; and NDP second-choice votes would mostly have been Green....the Greens could have been catapaulted to Official Opposition status, or even (as was the case in 52 with the Socreds) to minority government status. What must also grate the NDP is the decision made by Labour candidate in East Kootenay, Tom Uphill, to side with Bennett instead of the CCF, thereby securing WAC's minority government (instead of a CCF one). Another likely possibility is the second-choice of a lot of Liberal voters might have translated into Tory votes, and we'd have a few Tories in the current House, too, as well as a clutch of Greens (or a whole passle of 'em).

All pie-in-the-sky what-if now that the 2005 referendum is the stuff of history; how Carole James could rationalize dismissing a 57% majority of the electorate, in 77 or 79 ridings, when her own party has never gotten anywhere near that much in either vote-percentage or seats is sadly ironic, and not slightly karmic in nature. Campbell was only too happy to oblige, having left it to her to decide on proceeding with the change-over despite the lack of the artificially-high 60% majority required (all other referendums in BC have been 50% plus one); maybe he offered to accept the public's will, if the NDP would go along, because he knew they'd turn it down.

I think the reality is that both fo the big parties crave majority power, i.e. monarchical power, and view minority government, as our media do, as "weak" even though it allows for more input by all sectors of society, instead of just the one that won the round of craps otherwise known as an FPTP election. And, of course, the NDP have no intention of allowing an electoral system which would put Greens in the House, or anyone else for that matter. As with the MLA salary increases, I'd say the Grits played the NDP for fools on this issue re the '05 referendum...

Too bad, so sad, can't fix it now; we're stuck with another FPTP-based Liberal majority government. And the newer BC-STV reminds me of the story of having a committee design a horse (and winding up with a camel, I think the joke goes). Also the story of a group of blind men groping an elephant, though I can't remember what it was they decided it was....

Bill Tieleman said...

Sorry Skookum1 but not only have you forced me to break my own rule to not discuss STV here but I have to tell you that you are also wrong.

The BC STV proposed in the 2009 referendum was exactly the same as in 2005 - it was not, repeat, not, at any point the preferential or alternative ballot of the 1952 BC election.

The only changes in 2009 were that the Electoral Boundaries Commission worked out riding boundaries under STV - there were only "guesses" from a variety of unofficial sources in 2005 - and the ballot question was different.

The system proposed both times was the the one developed by the Citizens Assembly.

Since we're on this, the major difference is that the 1952 preferential or alternative vote only elected one member in a single riding. Voters could rank their choices but would not elect multiple members in large ridings.

Anonymous said...

Bill, please tell Carole she looks great in flip-flops - especially while dropping her opposition to the carbon tax!

G West said...

Anon 9:22 - What flip flop?

Here's James's statement:

"The election is over with and I said the tax is here to stay, now it's our job to make that tax more effective and more fair," she said. "That's the work we'll be doing."

Remember, we have FPTP - the guy who wins a plurality - however small - gets all the apples.

James is just a realist - Campbell will have his way with the province for another 4 years...recognizing that reality isn't a flip-flop it's simply calling a space a shovel.

Anonymous said...

Norman Farrell said...

"I think it takes remarkable cowardice for an anonymous person to offer a diatribe against a contributor that signs his real name."

I take it, therefore, that you approve of usage like "Dr. Bullshit" and "Professor Marc Jerkoff"? - just as long as one signs on with their real name? And any anonymous user who calls such usage into question is a coward?

Nice reasoning there, Norm.

I think this discussion has maxed out, now that Carole as conceded on the carbon tax. Bill, how about something fresh and relevant. Anything new on the BC Rail front? I think there's lots of good material to draw from in the new, bigger Campbell cabinet. A hot-head like Falcon charged with health care? Can you say "big cuts are coming"... Time to move on to more relevant issues.

Anonymous said...

Omigod! Thanks Skookum1 for putting a fresh perspective on the defeat of STV. It simply had not occurred to me that people would have thought they were different ideas. Does justice to Bill's opinion that the more people hear about STV the more they will dislike it. For the life of me, I can't understand why. But that's just me.

Of course as Bill pointed out, you weren't really that informed about electoral processes, just a lot of misinformation or misunderstandings. I look forward to a time when the population is properly informed and we can have a legitimate referendum. Way forward, probably not in my lifetime.

Anonymous said...

Well Bill, I'm impressed.

Who would have thought that an incident with "BC's God of the Environment" would generate so much electronic text.

Whatever in the past this eco-snake-oil-salesman was selling must be really dropping in personal investment value for him to sign onto the Darth Campbell Darkside and the CanWest Global plutocratic empire.

Next thing you know Comrade Suzuki will be trading in his green ($$$) ethics for an Adam Smith monogram tie and his picture arm and arm with Michael Walker hanging next to Augusto Pinochet's picture in the gallery of great capitalist leaders at the Fraser Institute.


Anonymous said...

I have long thought of Suzuki as a fraud; unfortunately he continues along as the “Internationally respected scientist” that the average joe thinks he is and Bill Tielman will sink that much lower in the partisan NDP hack no credibility department; again in the eyes of the average joe.

I admire what you did Bill unfortunately because of your blatant NDP bias you come across looking like a guy crying sour grapes after the NDP loosing the election instead of appearing like a legitimate journalist calling spade a spade. In this case Suzuki is a huge fraud and good on you for calling him out. It’s just too bad that your reputation precedes you so heavily in favor of the NDP and undermines your credibility as a result.

Bill Tieleman said...

Ha-ha - quite the compliment Anonymous 8:49! Gee, if only I weren't and NDP supporter - then I wouldn't have written the column and Suzuki would have ignored me!

Listen - credibility doesn't come from what politics you hold, it comes from what you do and how you conduct yourself.

There are credible people in every political party that I respect even if I disagree with their perspective.

Like I always say, criticize what I report for errors - I welcome it and will correct any mistakes - but my personal beliefs are my own and I take them wherever I go.

Anonymous said...

8:49 am says...So you are saying that you cannot comprehend how your NDP bias might create a public perception that your anti Suzuki stance had more to do with Suzuki’s attacking than the NDP during the election than anything else ?

Do you not think that someone like Vaughn Palmer would carry far more credibility in this circumstance as opposed to a pro- NDP’er like you ? I am surprised for being a former spin doctor you cannot see the forest beyond your NDP trees.

Either way I still salute your taking on Suzuki I was only pointing out that ultimately he will still win in the bigger picture, after all he IS David Suzuki. And you are viewed as an NDP'er crying sour grapes.

You should work on trying to at least appear more non-partisan if you are looking to expand your "journalist" career outside of the lefty circles. Just a suggestion, but as always you know best.

Gary L. said...

Dr. Suzuki's claim to fame was the Study Of The Fruitfly. He then engineered becoming a Media darling, and the rest is self serving rubbish to carve himself an enviable life style, and "retirement" Fund, er, that is if you are without a conscience.

Anonymous said...

this topic looks like a comment record.

Bill Tieleman said...

No question - this is easily a record for comments! Thanks to all - pro and con.

DPL said...

CAx Radio Sunday .
Jun 14, 2009




"so now there's this schism where you've got environmental groups who have decided to go big time, and you have the others, like myself, who have disengaged from that process and we remain owners of our own voices"


Chris said...

I'm glad to see the NDP drop it's opposition to the carbon tax. Maybe Suzuki was right.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Suzuki was right....maybe not, debate will go on long after this thread but the NDP did not change their mind on the carbon tax, still opposed to it and if they had any say in the government they would make that part of their message. That's the part that saddens me, 35 wasted voices in Victoria continuing to support Liberal majorities. 36 if you count Vicki Huntington, our slim hope for the future of BC. At least she will not be seen as a Liberal supporter.

Steve McClure said...

Dear Bill,

I was very sad to read of your unpleasant contretemps with Suzuki. Perhaps he was having a bad day; being a media celebrity can be so taxing, so to speak.

At the risk of sounding like the proverbial Monday-morning quarterback (and one who does not live in the fair province of British Columbia, to boot), I think the critique of the carbon tax would have been more effective if it had focused more on the tax's regressive nature, as well as raising the question of how the extra revenues from the tax were to be used.

All the best,


bill said...

Arrogance diminishes wisdom.

- Arabian proverb

How many pictures of you on your front page again?