Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
David Suzuki’s idea of a “truly sustainable future” is one in which freedom of the press doesn’t exist.
Last night, David Suzuki was supposed to speak to a live audience in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. Members of the public paid $15 per head and were promised “an evening of discussion on how to create a truly sustainable future” featuring Suzuki and Canada’s own peak oil guru, Jeff Rubin.
A media release was issued and Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, stepped in as a replacement moderator at what her website says was a “public event.”
But according to Sun News journalist Jessica Hume, Suzuki refused to appear. At all. After he learned that she and a cameraman were present.
In Hume’s words:
When we first arrived we were welcomed, asked how long we’d like with the good doctor and where we should set up our shot. When it was revealed we represented Sun News, we were no longer welcome.
David Suzuki didn’t just refuse to speak to us. He refused to appear altogether, sending a handful of hostile event organizers to remove us from the premises. They would, eventually, but not before creating a real drama in front of a real audience that exposed the real nature of David Suzuki.
After much debate and my reiterating I would be staying to ask a question, one of the event-organizers-turned-Suzuki-mandated-attack-dogs turned to the sizable crowd, incensed that I wouldn’t leave quietly, and yelled for someone to call 911 – help! A reporter is trying to do her job!
No one did anything except Green Party leader Elizabeth May…who got up, ran across the floor and pleaded for me to be allowed to stay, yelling to the organizer: “Only Rob Ford calls 911 on the media!” [referring to unannounced visits by comedians/journalists to the Toronto mayor’s private residence] Then she gave me a hug.
But May’s intercession was unsuccessful. She deserves credit for recognizing the outrageous nature of what was going on – and for pointing out that similar behaviour is ridiculed when someone politically right-of-center does it.
But none of this alters the fact that a woman who aspires to be our next Prime Minister was unable to solve this rather simple problem. Her persuasive powers were insufficient to convince Suzuki to do the right thing.
It remains unclear whether or not the event proceeded after Hume and her cameraman were ejected. If so, everyone in that room has learned firsthand that a “truly sustainable future” is one in which freedom of the press doesn’t exist.
They’ve also learned that Suzuki is a coward. That he’s a celebrity who expects adoration – rather than a serious intellectual who’s prepared to defend his ideas.
As Hume says:
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they respond to being challenged. Those with courage of conviction and the confidence that comes with real intellect will back their positions and rise to the occasion.