Dr David Suzuki expressed his willingness to remain as a volunteer of the foundation. (Photo: David Suzuki Foundation)
David Suzuki quits foundation
Thursday, April 19, 2012, 00:20 (GMT + 9)
Dr David Suzuki has announced his decision to step off the board of directors of the David Suzuki Foundation because of “bullying” from the federal government and entities such as the Sun News Network.
The biologist stressed his pride in how the Foundation takes science and solutions to environment problems and vowed to ensure the Foundation continues to have the ability to solve critical environmental issues. He will also remain one of the group’s most active volunteers and major donors.
“But I have reached a point in my life where I would like to consider myself an elder. I want to speak freely without fear that my words will be deemed too political, and harm the organization of which I am so proud,” he stated.
“I am keenly aware that some governments, industries and special interest groups are working hard to silence us. They use threats to the Foundation's charitable status in attempts to mute its powerful voice on issues that matter deeply to you and many other Canadians. This bullying demonstrates how important it is to speak out,” Suzuki added.
He said his outspoken political opinions have started to be used against the Foundation, such that he has become a liability to it, Toronto Sun reports.
"Sun News and others have come after me, saying 'lookit what Suzuki Foundation is doing, they are very political, they shouldn't be a charity,' and I realized that the proudest creation of my life, the David Suzuki Foundation, was being hampered in doing their work by me," Suzuki said, CTV reports.
He pointed out that the Foundation's science-based, solutions-oriented research and educational work are strictly non-partisan, as required by the laws governing charities, and has made the Foundation one of the most trusted environmental groups in Canada.
He believes the Foundation’s opponents are redoubling their efforts to marginalize it by getting at him, personally.
David Suzuki Foundation Communications Director Jim Boothroyd agreed that “smear tactics” by the group’s opponents in various governments have been increasing. Postmedia and Sun Media are two of the most notable opponents, he said, Vancouver Observer reports.
Still, Mary Ann Dewey-Plante, spokesperson for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, explained that although Suzuki can say whatever he wishes, charities that accept donations from Canadians are required to meet transparency and accountability standards, which include not engaging in “excessive political activities.” This is meant to ensure donations are used “appropriately” and encourages continued giving.
By Natalia Real