Well-known Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki has stepped down from the David Suzuki Foundation he helped create so that he can continue to speak out on issues without harming the foundation’s charitable status, reports Gordon Hoekstra on the Vancouver Sun.
“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 said in an open letter posted Friday on the foundation’s website.
“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,” he said in the open letter. The David Suzuki Foundation has raised concerns about Enbridge’s proposed $5.5-billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline that it has the potential to harm the environment.
“This bullying demonstrates how important it is to speak out,” he said.
Their decisions come as the federal Conservative government has targeted groups such as the David Suzuki Foundation as “environmental radicals” that are stopping resource development in Canada, including for projects such as Enbridge’s $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline. The federal government accused the environmental groups of sourcing money for their campaigns from U.S. foundations, and committed $8-million in its recent budget to help the Canada Revenue Agency target registered charities.
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