Suzuki quit foundation over fed 'bullying'

David Suzuki. (QMI Agency Files)

David Suzuki. (QMI Agency Files)

Kris Sims, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 9:43 PM ET

OTTAWA - Environmental activist David Suzuki says he quit the foundation he founded over government "bullying" and questions raised by Sun News Network.

The biologist and former TV host stepped down from the board of directors of the David Suzuki Foundation, telling donors in a letter it was because of "bullying" from the federal government.

Suzuki also said questions raised by Sun News Network was behind his resignation last summer.

"Sun News and others have come after me, saying 'lookit what Suzuki Foundation is doing, they are very political, they shouldn't be a charity,' and I realized that the proudest creation of my life, the David Suzuki Foundation, was being hampered in doing their work by me. I had become a liability," Suzuki told CTV. "I am not going to shut up just because of the rules about charities."

Suzuki says he will remain a volunteer for the foundation he created decades ago, but will not help govern it. He said he has always been an activist and an advocate.

"As an elder, testosterone levels are dropping so people know that I am not after more sex or more power or more money or more fame. I am just an old man, but I have had a life of experience," Suzuki said.

The scientist's statements have the feds scratching their heads.

"David Suzuki, like all Canadians, has the freedom to say whatever he wants," said Mary Ann Dewey-Plante, spokeswoman for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

"Charities that accept donations from Canadians and are supported by taxpayers have long been required to meet transparency and accountability requirements - including not engaging in excessive political activities and especially when funded by foreign organizations.

"This makes sure donations are used appropriately and encourages more giving - we are surprised anyone would object to that."

The geneticist was recently beamed into public schools across Canada via the National Film Board, and opined on everything from climate change to whether or not corporations should be allowed to donate money to political parties.

When speaking to the assembled teenagers, he also compared the Occupy Movement to the Arab Spring.

The feds have recently stepped up scrutiny of charitable groups, saying they must limit the number of foreign dollars they accept and not engage in political activism.

kris.sims@sunmedia.ca


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