Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki has resigned from the David Suzuki Foundation board following worries that his opinions could endanger the foundation's charitable status, the National Post reports.
He published an open letter on the foundation's website on Friday describing his decision to step down.
"I want to speak freely without fear that my words will be deemed too political, and harm the organization of which I am so proud," he wrote.
Suzuki's decision follows the Conservative government sets its sights on environmental groups in Canada that are preventing resource development, such as Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipeline, Canada.com says.
The government's March 30 budget stated that non-profit organizations must provide information regarding political activities. It also committed $8 million to increase supervision of charities, the Globe and Mail reports.
Suzuki's letter responded to what he called "bullying" from the opposition and described the foundation's future. Read the full letter below:
Some of you may have seen media coverage about my decision to step off the board of directors of the David Suzuki Foundation. I am writing to tell you more about this and what it means.
After my children and grandchildren, my greatest pride is the David Suzuki Foundation.
I am fiercely proud of how the Foundation brings science and solutions to environment problems. I'm determined to ensure that the Foundation continues to have the ability to solve critical environmental issues and bring hope for the future.
But I have reached a point in my life where I would like to consider myself an elder. I want to speak freely without fear that my words will be deemed too political, and harm the organization of which I am so proud. I am keenly aware that some governments, industries and special interest groups are working hard to silence us. They use threats to the Foundation's charitable status in attempts to mute its powerful voice on issues that matter deeply to you and many other Canadians.
This bullying demonstrates how important it is to speak out.
The Foundation's science-based, solutions-oriented research and educational work has enriched our democracy and reflected Canadian values for two decades. While not always happily received by governments or industrial interests, this work is strictly non-partisan, as required by the laws governing charities, and has made the Foundation one of the most trusted environmental voices in Canada.
Our opponents, however, are redoubling their efforts to marginalize the Foundation by getting at me, personally.
So last year, I made the decision to step off the board of directors of the David Suzuki Foundation. I remain one of its most active volunteers and committed major donors. This way I can fulfill my personal mission and the Foundation can continue to build on its inspiring work—for us and our grandchildren—in finding solutions to our shared, and very real, environmental challenges.
I hope you understand this decision and will continue to show your, steadfast support for my work in this concrete way:
Please share this letter with your family and friends and, at this critical moment, invite them to become supporters of the David Suzuki Foundation, by joining our online community or donating today.