Order of Canada winner Louis LaPierre lied about Ph.D by Rosemary Westwood, September 26, 2013, McLeans
When Maurice Dusseault heard the news, his reaction was, “Dammit, dammit, dammit. That shouldn’t happen.” Louis LaPierre—then chair of New Brunswick’s new Energy Institute, where he was Dusseault’s colleague, and an esteemed scientist—had lied about his Ph.D. in ecology. In revelations that have shocked the scientific community, it turns out that LaPierre, who received the Order of Canada last year for his environmental conservation work, doesn’t have such a degree. … He lied about his master’s degree, too—it’s in environmental education, not wildlife ecology. LaPierre has refused interviews since he first told Radio-Canada a mix-up in his resumé accounted for the false claim that he received a doctorate from the University of Maine. But last week, he issued a statement admitting he “misrepresented” his credentials. LaPierre was already at the centre of New Brunswick’s debate over how—or if—the province should develop its shale gas reserves. His 2012 report on the topic helped shaped the government’s plans to allow exploratory drilling. He recommended the province establish an energy institute to provide independent scientific input on public policy decisions over energy resources and, earlier this year, the government picked LaPierre to chair the new body.He resigned the position last week. … So far, the shale gas industry has declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said it was a matter for the government, but added, “We support the Energy Institute and what it was established to achieve.” [Emphasis added]
LaPierre should be stripped of Order of Canada, says member by CBC News, September 24, 2013
A member of the Order of Canada says Louis LaPierre should be removed from the Order after he admitted he lied about his academic credentials. Paul Gendreau, who was honoured with the award in 2007, says he plans to write to the Governor General to express his concerns. He contends the Order is designed to recognize people who have exhibited the highest standards of conduct and a professor who is caught lying about his PhD no longer deserves membership. “It is a very, very serious breach of trust to misrepresent your academic qualifications,” said Gendreau, a professor emeritus at UNB Saint John who specializes in criminal justice. … The Order of Canada is Canada’s highest civilian honour and is awarded by the Governor General. Only five people have ever been removed from the Order of Canada, all of whom were convicted of crimes. A sixth, an Ottawa doctor, resigned his appointment over professional misconduct. Gendreau says LaPierre’s situation is similar. “You could argue that there was malpractice involved in that he misrepresented his credentials,” he said. The Governor General’s office declined to discuss the case, citing privacy reasons. The rules for the award indicate that any member of the public can complain if they feel that a member of the Order of Canada has conducted themselves in a way to undermine the credibility or integrity of the Order.
LaPierre had purported to hold a PhD in ecology from the University of Maine. However, a report on Radio-Canada earlier in September questioned that, with the University of Maine indicating it had awarded LaPierre a master’s degree, but not a doctorate. LaPierre then stated his doctorate was awarded by Walden University in Minnesota, in association with the University of Maine. Officials at Walden confirmed LaPierre received a PhD, but it was in the field of education, not in a scientific field. [Emphasis added]
Faking Academic Credentials by Mary Lynk and Bob Jones, September 20, 2013, CBC Radio, The Current
We head to New Brunswick today to hear about how a prominent scientist turns out not to be scientist at all. The well known academic, Louis LaPierre admits to misrepresenting his credentials and his apology raises questions over how well universities are doing at scrutinizing academic history. For decades, a prominent New Brunswick academic, was the “go to” scientist hired by governments to review some of this country’s biggest and often controversial environmental issues: Fracking in New Brunswick….
Head of N.B. Energy Institute resigns over false credentials by Shawn McCarthy, September 19, 2013, The Globe and Mail
A staunch advocate of a scientific approach to North America’s fracking controversy, Louis LaPierre has resigned as head of the newly-formed New Brunswick Energy Institute after admitting he falsely claimed to have a doctorate in environmental science. The long-time academic became a lightning rod for opponents to hydraulic fracturing in the province after producing a report that rejected their calls for a moratorium and instead recommended more research be done while companies drill to establish the commercial viability of the province’s resource. … In a statement release Wednesday night, Dr. LaPierre said was “taken aback” by the controversy. … In an interview with the Globe and Mail in Moncton last month, he stressed the need for peer-reviewed science to guide environmental and energy policies. … But critics insist his academic misrepresentations cast doubt on all his work, including his largely favourable message on the risks involved in shale gas development in a report issued earlier this year. “With respect to the shale gas issue, the fact that LaPierre fraudulently misrepresented his degrees raises questions about his integrity, objectivity and the credibility of his report,” said Carla Gunn, a New Brunswick environmental writer.
Government appointed New Brunswick Energy Institute scientists mandated to research fracking by Rana Encol, July 25, 2013, Media Coop
New Brunswick is pressing forward on imminent hydro-fracturing in the province by developing its own research think tank around shale gas exploration, billed as a “science-based” independent body for research and water testing. Last week, Energy and Mines minister Craig Leonard named the seven research fellows to compose the New Brunswick Energy Institute unveiled by Premier David Alward in January of 2013. Louis Lapierre, an environmental science professor at the University of Moncton, is to chair the institute. At the announcement, Alward had said “Dr. Lapierre is an internationally recognized scientist, and he is the right person to provide leadership on this file while working with communities, experts, and industry.” The Alward government has touted the Institute as “an independent body composed of researchers from New Brunswick universities.”
New Brunswick NDP party leader Dominic Cardy thinks the institute is a “smoke screen” to allay public concern while exploration continues. “Laws don’t get enforced anyway, so I don’t think this institute will make any difference,” he said.
In his October 2012 government report entitled The Path Forward, LaPierre alludes to the opposition to development from affected communities and health care officials in New Brunswick, but maintains that continued and controlled industry exploration would yield more research than a government moratorium. “A moratorium doesn’t give knowledge,” he told the Media Co-op. … Though he identified the need to independently evaluate peer-reviewed research around toxicology and health issues associated with fracking in The Path Forward, LaPierre shifted responsibility in this area to other departments when interviewed. “The institute itself will not get involved in health issues. That’s up to the ministry…We won’t be touching health.” The institute is mandated for hard scientific research only, and it’s up to the public and government on how they will use it, says LaPierre.
New Brunswick legislature has appointed $1 million to the institute in 2013-2014, with more moneys flowing in from government agencies such as the NSERC, NRC, and the Geological Survey of Canada. In the Path Forward and while speaking with the Media Co-op, LaPierre said that eventual royalties from the shale gas industry would be dedicated to operating expenses such as administration and scientists’ salaries. When asked whether or not this constituted a conflict of interest, LaPierre’s response was: “No, there is no conflict with industry.” He further added that funding from shale gas royalties was only “a possibility.” Twelve “science fellows” have been appointed to develop the research agenda for the institute. “Because a goal of the institute is to expose New Brunswickers to how scientists work and think, the science fellows will also help the institute develop a comprehensive, science-based information and education program,” says the government press release dated 18 July. Many of the other scientists at the Institute have a conspicuous background in the shale gas industry.
In LaPierre’s opinion, seismic testing is not considered very invasive and is comparable to testing done for road construction. He says there will be six to eight seismic monitors installed in Albert County this summer; testing of wells will occur next summer. The institute, he says, will deliver a report on an annual basis. [Emphasis added]