Alberta demands David Suzuki apologize for ‘blowing up’ pipelines remark

Alberta demands David Suzuki apologize for 'blowing up' pipelines remark
A file photo of Jason Kenny (File/CBC)

The Alberta government isn’t thrilled with David Suzuki’s recent remarks about pipelines.

“There are going to be pipelines blowing up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on,” Suzuki told CHEK News at an Extinction Rebellion protest in downtown Victoria on Saturday, without elaborating further.

Suzuki’s comments, which were in response to a question about why he was at the Extinction Rebellion protest, have attracted national attention and set off a firestorm on social media — with a handful of politicians expressing concern that the prominent Canadian’s comments could incite acts of violence.

“This type of rhetoric is dangerous and undemocratic. It implies that energy workers and infrastructure should be targets for acts of terrorism. All political leaders should unreservedly condemn this statement,” Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole said Monday on Twitter.

READ: David Suzuki says pipelines will be ‘blown up’ if leaders don’t act on climate change

B.C.’s public safety minister, Mike Farnworth, said on Monday that Suzuki’s comments are unhelpful at a time where “thousands of individuals have been displaced” in the province due to catastrophic flooding.

“I think that’s just not helpful at all,” said Farnworth, adding. “Have a climate action plan. That’s the way forward, that’s the way we’re going to address climate change. Not by making statements that alarm people or cause concern.”

Suzuki’s foundation clarified the comments Monday, saying it had been in touch with Suzuki who confirmed the comment was not a direct threat.

“David Suzuki has been predicting environmental consequences for decades. Similarly, this comment was a predictive reflection on the escalating stakes and potential for conflict due to the effects of human-caused climate change.”

The remarks also caught the attention of Alberta’s UCP  government, which not only demanded an apology from Suzuki but moved a motion to formally condemn him.

“We want to call today, immediately, for David Suzuki to apologize for what he said and to stop any remarks that can in any way be used to support eco-terrorism of any kind,” Jason Nixon, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and member of the governing United Conservative Party, said during an Assembly session Tuesday.

Nixon, who is Alberta’s house leader, said Suzuki’s comments about blowing up a pipeline are wrong and unacceptable.

“Comments calling for the blowing up of anything, I think, are unacceptable,” he said.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called Suzuki’s remarks “totally irresponsible” and that they create a “rationalization” for violence.

“I think it creates a context that people could use to rationalize violence and that is why it is so dangerous,” said Kenny on Tuesday.

Suzuki, for his part, told CHEK News Monday that he wasn’t trying to incite violence of any kind but stressed that he stands by what he said.

“We’ve come to a time where civil disobedience is what we have to do now — to put our bodies on the line — because if we don’t do this, then I fear what the next stage will be, which will be people will start to blow up pipelines,” he said.

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Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod

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