Premier Rachel Notley says she does not agree with the University of Alberta’s decision to grant an honorary degree to high-profile oil sands critic David Suzuki.
But she says the university is built on academic freedom and independence, and that must be respected.
“I’m not a big fan of this decision,” Ms. Notley said on Wednesday, adding she attended the university. “If I’d been on the [university] senate, I wouldn’t personally have voted for it.
“It struck me as being a bit tone deaf, but academic independence, university independence is important. So they have made that decision, they will defend that decision and that’s the way it should work.”
Ms. Notley avoided criticizing Mr. Suzuki directly, but said her government’s efforts to find a middle ground between economic progress and environmental sustainability are undermined when the debate becomes extreme.
“As long as you allow that debate to be polarized, you ensure the failure of both objectives,” she said.