Photo: Frivolous attacks poison the well of discourse

By Peter Robinson, CEO

We pride ourselves in seeking science-based solutions to the urgent challenges of our time. But recently we've had to respond to attacks against David Suzuki and the Foundation, many from Sun Media.

We'd rather focus on our work, but we believe it's important to shed light on the claims. To that end we've published a rebuttal on our website that we've shared with supporters through email and Facebook. Canadians from across the country have responded with an outpouring of support.

Most of the allegations are untrue, exaggerated or ad hominem — that is, they are aimed at perceived flaws in an individual's character rather than his arguments. To start, David Suzuki is not the head of a corporation, as claimed by one Sun News host. The David Suzuki Foundation is a registered Canadian charity and David Suzuki has never been a paid staff member. He's one of our most generous donors and volunteers. He's lived in the same house for decades, a home he has shared with his in-laws and in which he has raised his daughters.

He does not own land with an "oil company". David and a friend bought into co-owned land on remote Nelson Island many years ago to protect it from development. Another owner's family ran a company in the 1950s and '60s that supplied oil to households and small businesses, mainly for furnaces. He has made other investments in real estate to provide for his retirement and family.

And, although Sun Media derisively refers to David Suzuki as a saint, he isn't. He has received many awards and honours, but he has not been sainted or knighted. He's a 77-year-old grandfather who has devoted his life to communicating the wonders of science and finding solutions for our shared environmental problems.

Many of Sun Media's TV hosts and newspaper columnists are vociferous supporters of the fossil fuel industry who often stoop to petty attacks against environmentalists, First Nations and anyone raising questions about policies that could harm the air, water, land and biodiversity we need for our health and survival. They have been found in violation of the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council's ethical guidelines, deny the overwhelming scientific evidence for human-caused climate change, and even question the value of recycling.

We appreciate that some media outlets would rather engage in mud-slinging and political rants than providing honest information and news coverage. But we continue to hope the negative noise will be drowned out by positive and rational discourse aimed at creating a healthy, sustainable future. We'd like to thank all of those who stand with us, and who see through the lies and keep working to protect our planet. Please contact my team at the Foundation if you have questions or would like to discuss this further.