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

Additions at Chilliwack schools may eventually replace portables

District’s capital plan illustrates which schools need to expand as community grows

Pedestrian struck in late-night collision on Highway 1 in Hope

RCMP were on scene at the incident near Flood Hope Road where traffic was rerouted for eight hours

Chilliwack teachers and EAs concerned with health and safety plans

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

New executive director for Fraser Valley Child Development Centre

Karen Dickenson Smith succeeds Karen McLean, who has retired after 22 years

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Suspected ‘murder hornet’ leaves Langley man on edge after finding insect in bedroom

The extra-large invasive insect had been first discovered in Brookswood on Thursday, May 28

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

B.C. tourism seeks relief as businesses wait for COVID-19 restrictions to ease

Mid-June earliest for more in-province travel to be authorized

Most Read