In the midst of the greatest dispute between two provinces since the 1995 Quebec referendum, the University of Alberta stepped in it, big time.
They announced on April 10 that Dr. David Suzuki, of The Nature of Things fame, was to be honoured with an honourary doctorate in science. Apparently the doctorate he already holds isn’t enough. He only holds honouary degrees from 25 universities already, so he obviously needs one more.
In the current pipeline war environment, they would have been better off giving it to Justin Trudeau. He’s arguably more liked in Alberta than David Suzuki. At least a few people voted for him in Alberta. More on that later.
David Suzuki is arguably the very symbol of the worst British Columbia hypocritical earth muffin anti-oil, anti-oilsands, anti-energy, anti-Alberta person there could possibly be. And they’re honouring him? At a time when a freaking NDP government is threatening to cut of B.C.’s oil and refined products and to bring the Lower Mainland to its knees?
The incredulity of this entire prospect knows no bounds.
Okay, fine. U of A, you’ve made your bed, now lie in it.
Here’s what I think is going to happen, or what should happen.
The University of Alberta, in what has been traditionally the most prosperous province in the nation, is likely going to become very poor, very quickly.
Their endowment funds, their alumni organization, are going to very soon find out what it’s like to be totally shut out.
Hell will freeze over before any oilman makes a personal donation to the U of A after this fiasco. You want money? Ask the Suzuki Foundation. Don’t come to me again, maybe ever, one might say.
In the BOE Report, Jeff Lawson, a principal and director in the corporate finance group at Peters & Co. Limited, wrote an open letter to David Turpin, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta. I happened to see it in the twitter feed of the CEO of a small junior Saskatchewan oil producer.
Lawson wrote, in part, “I have tried over the years to support the University as a whole, the Law School and the Golden Bears Hockey team. In part, I am able to do this because of the support my community provides me, and in part because of my employment in an industry related to the energy industry.
“I view this recent action by the University of Alberta as showing a high level of disrespect to this industry, while ignoring its contributions to our Province. Like others, I hope the U of A reverses this action while it can.”
After noting how the energy industry has been large sponsors of STARS air ambulance, he noted, “I am aligned with the people who support my community and my family. I do not want to associate with an institution that is facilitating an attack on this community.
“These views are my own, but I will share them with many.”
You can bet your bottom dollar that those are not just his own views, and that it was fully supported by the executive suite at Peters & Co., one of the largest investment banking institutions in the industry. You know, the type of people who write big cheques, and whose clients also write big cheques, to things like universities.
Maybe there are enough left-leaning types in Redmonton, as it has occasionally been called, to ensure the university doesn’t totally starve. But I doubt it. We all know where the big cheques have come from, and it ain’t the earthmuffins.
The U of A didn’t just bite the hand that feeds it, it swallowed the whole arm, tearing it off at the shoulder and downing it in one gulp, kinda like a B.C. orca.
Here’s some more people the U of A should hand out honourary degrees to: Let’s start with Leonardo DiCaprio. Then they could work their way over to James Cameron and Neil Young. Don’t forget former-Vice President Al Gore for An Inconvenient Truth(Remember the north pole was supposed to be ice free by now?). And they must, simply must, include former-President Barack Obama for taking seven years to finally say no to Keystone XL. We can’t forget former Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who knows pipelines should deliver poop into rivers. And last, but not least, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for his tanker ban killing Northern Gateway Pipeline and changing the rules for Energy East, killing it, too.
Get to it. Time’s a-wasting!
Brian Zinchuk is editor of Pipeline News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.