VP quits after backlash to University of Alberta’s billboard on climate change

Ad said higher temperature and humidity will boost province’s barley yield

In this Sept. 2, 2019 photo, barley is shown ready for harvest in a field near Colfax, Wash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Ted S. Warren

A top University of Alberta official has resigned after a backlash against a billboard the school put up about the potential benefits of climate change.

Jacqui Tam, vice-president of university relations, says in a statement on the university’s website that the public response has made it clear the billboard’s wording fails to communicate the meaning and complexity of the research it references.

The ad, which is to be pulled soon, features a headline that reads “Beefier Barley” and says climate change will boost Alberta’s barley yield with less water, feeding more cattle.

Several university faculty members and students are among those who have spoken out against the billboard.

The school says it was part of its Truth Matters campaign and references 2017 research, which concluded Alberta’s beef industry would benefit from a rise in temperature and humidity.

University president David Turpin says such ads are usually approved by the executive before they are published, but for some reason that did not happen in this case.

Tam, who had held the post since July 2017, said in her statement issued on Sunday that her departure is in the best interests of the institution. She said the advertisement’s wording allows for “easy misinterpretation.”

“The messaging on the ad called the reputation of the University of Alberta and its extensive research on climate change into question,” she wrote. “As vice-president (university relations), I apologize for this and take responsibility.”

The school had previously responded to the criticism by calling the beef industry research complex and multi-faceted.

READ MORE: Young protesters across Canada demand action on climate change

“I could understand why people interpreted it the way they did,” Turpin said on Sunday. “It would not have been an ad that, if I had seen, I would have put forward.”

At the same time, he defended Tam’s character.

“You look around the world where people are always trying to blame others, find excuses. Jacqui is one of those rare human beings who has the integrity to stand up and take responsibility.” (CTV Edmonton)

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FedEx distribution centre coming to Castlegar

Development permit for ground facility before council next week.

Kootenay teams heading for curling provincials

Team Buchy and Team Nichols won the senior playdowns.

Latest winter storm prompts West Kootenay travel warning

20-30 cm of snow expected overnight and into Thursday

PLACE NAMES: Valley of the Ghosts

A ghostly nickname haunts the stretch between Kaslo and New Denver

Biologist and loggers disagree over Slocan Valley bear den tree

Wayne McCrory wants industry to move a planned road

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

On the job hunt with Nelson’s Make A Change Canada

The employment charity is organizing next week’s Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens game

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Most Read