Alberta premier says environmentalist David Suzuki incited violence with pipeline comment

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is standing by his accusations that environmentalist David Suzuki was inciting violence with comments at a protest on Saturday.

The premier tweeted a National Post article quoting Suzuki as saying, “There are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on.”

At a news conference on Tuesday, Kenney said Suzuki is implicitly inciting people to eco-terrorism.

“It’s like in the gangster movies where they say, ‘You know, nice little pipeline you’ve got there. It’d be a terrible thing if something happened to it.’ This is totally irresponsible,” he said.  

Kenney added that Suzuki has a track record of outrageous comments that should have had him “cancelled.”

WATCH | The premier defends comments on Twitter accusing David Suzuki of inciting violence:

David Suzuki’s comments on pipeline anger ‘totally irresponsible,’ says Alberta’s premier

19 hours ago

Jason Kenney says David Suzuki’s warning that “pipelines will be blown up” if there is no climate change action, along with other comments made over the years, should get him cancelled. Find out why. 3:47

He cited an example from 2016 when Suzuki opined that former prime minister Stephen Harper should serve prison time for “wilful blindness” to climate change, which was reported by the National Post at the time.

“We resolve differences peacefully and democratically, not by threatening to throw our opponents in jail,” Kenney said.

“And now he’s basically saying, ‘Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, be a terrible thing if something happens to those pipelines.’ This is outrageous and should be called out as such.”

 The premier also criticized CBC and other organizations giving Suzuki a platform.

Suzuki responds

Suzuki told CBC News he does not condone blowing up pipelines but that he suggested it may happen if groups get fed up with inaction.

“Our leaders are not listening to the urgency that is demanded to meet the issue of climate change. And I was worried that this is just the next step — if it goes on — to people blowing up pipelines,” he said.

Suzuki says many protests have been examples of “peaceful civic disobedience,” with violence coming from the government and RCMP.

“If you look at the people at Fairy Creek, what are they doing? They’re fighting to protect Mother Earth, and the violence is all coming from the forces that want to maintain the status quo.”

He added he feels Kenney is deflecting from the important issue of climate change by making things political, as well as knocking the credibility of critics.

“He doesn’t discuss climate change. It’s all, ‘These people are against the Alberta economy or they’re foreign-funded radicals,'” he said.

“I would suggest that right now his avoidance of the serious discussion about climate change [and] Alberta’s role in that and where to go in the future is something that is very, very serious for voters to think about.”

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