David Suzuki Says He Called Justin Trudeau A 'Twerp'

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Environmental activist David Suzuki says he called Justin Trudeau a "twerp" after the Liberal leader accused him of being "sanctimonious" during a heated discussion about climate change.

Suzuki made the admission on Evan Solomon's "Everything Is Political" show on SiriusXM.

According to the prominent scientist, the Liberal leader called him in July just before unveiling his environmental platform in Vancouver. Suzuki said Trudeau was looking for an endorsement.

But the conversation grew testy when it came to pipelines. Trudeau opposes the Northern Gateway proposal, but is in favour of Keystone XL and has accused Conservative Leader Stephen Harper of fumbling the project.

Suzuki says he told Trudeau he was just being political and trying to make "headway" in Alberta.

"You're for the development of the tar sands, you're for the Keystone pipeline, but you're against the Northern Gateway, you're all over the damn map," Suzuki recounted telling the Liberal leader.

"What did he say to you when you said that?" Solomon asked.

"He said, 'I don't need to listen to this sanctimonious crap,'" Suzuki said.

"He did not say that to you. Did he?" Solomon asked.

"I proceeded to call him a twerp. But I realized that he's playing politics, just as Mr. Mulcair had to tell Linda McQuaig, 'Listen, cool it.'"

Suzuki's reference to McQuaig, the NDP candidate in Toronto Centre, concerned a controversy that erupted at the start of the election campaign in August when she said that "a lot of the oilsands oil may have to stay in the ground" if Canada is to meet its climate change targets.

That position contradicts what Mulcair has said about the oilsands and allowed Harper to speak of a "not-so-hidden" NDP agenda when it comes to resource development.

Suzuki's told Solomon that "80 per cent" of the oilsands should stay in the ground if Canada is serious about combatting climate change. He also lauded Elizabeth May's Green Party as the only group taking the environment and climate change seriously.

Listen to Suzuki's full interview with Solomon. The Trudeau discussion happens around the four-minute mark:

Liberal spokeswoman Kate Purchase told The Huffington Post Canada via email that the party doesn't comment on personal conversations.

Suzuki endorsed Joyce Murray for Liberal leader

In 2013, the activist threw his support behind Vancouver MP Joyce Murray's run for the leadership of the Liberal Party, in large part because of her "courageous" plan to put a price on carbon.

He also lauded her proposal for a one-time co-operation among Liberals, the NDP, and Greens to defeat the Conservatives in the 2015 election.

Suzuki said at the time that while he does not belong to a political party, he does endorse individuals from time to time.

"It's got nothing to do with parties anymore," he said. "I want substantive issues on the table to be discussed and anybody that's willing to do that, great."

Murray, a former environment minister in British Columbia, was ultimately trounced by Trudeau on the first ballot.

Mulcair: Every progressive in North America opposes Keystone

The Keystone debate ramped up on the campaign trail this week after top Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made it clear she opposes the project.

Clinton also took to Twitter to blast Alberta oil as "our continent's dirtiest fuel."

Mulcair told reporters that "every progressive in North America" opposes that pipeline — a clear shot at Trudeau.

But the NDP leader does not oppose the project because of environmental concerns and has spoken positively in the past of the Energy East proposal that would carry oil from Alberta to New Brunswick.

At a leaders' debate on the economy in Calgary last week, Harper referenced a 2013 trip Mulcair took to Washington where he blasted the Conservative government's environmental record and expressed his desire to build pipelines in Canada first.

"Mr. Mulcair, you are the only leader in Canadian history to have gone to another country, you and your colleagues, to the United States to argue against Canadian jobs and against Canadian development projects," Harper charged.

The NDP leader shot back that the government's own figures show the project would mean 40,000 jobs would be "exported to the U.S." with Keystone.

"I want to create those 40,000 jobs in Canada," he said. "Let's add value to our natural resources here."

Mulcair said that under Harper's stewardship, Canada has not built "one kilometre of pipeline to tidewater." He said Tories have gutted environmental laws and left Canada without a "credible, thorough environmental assessment process" for pipeline projects.

With previous files, files from The Canadian Press

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