Cape Farewell Foundation

"Trial of Suzuki"

Canada is home to some of the world's most precious environmental ecosystems. However, we also have one of the dirtiest environmental records on the planet.

Cape Farewell is an international organization trying to drive action on climate change. In Canada, it wanted to wake Canadians up to our less than stellar record and genuinely engage them on the issue.

John St. didn't believe that another solemn TV spot decrying the government's action (or inaction) on the environment was going to create real change. It could be too easily dismissed by those we wanted to reach as alarmist or one-sided.

So the agency decided to show both sides of the argument, and let the Canadian public not only judge for themselves but act as jury.

"The Trial of David Suzuki" began with a press conference (and subsequent online videos) where Suzuki accused the government of crimes against the country, the environment, and future generations of Canadians. The accusations were so serious that they could be deemed treasonous by Canadian law.

So he went on trial to defend them in a live-streamed actual trial (with real defense and prosecuting attorneys, a real judge and expert witnesses from the government, the private sector and Suzuki himself who took the stand in his own defense.

The jury was the Canadian public - who would determine the fate of Suzuki after the closing arguments were made. A poster and digital display campaign was created to raise awareness of the trial. Online at, viewers could view and submit evidence that supported or contradicted Suzuki's claims.

Suzuki was found "not guilty" by the biggest jury ever assembled in this ground-breaking trial. Over 5,000 Canadians voted on Suzuki's fate the night of October 8. Over 62,000 people viewed or submitted evidence in the trial.

The campaign received coverage in hundreds of Canadian press outlets — online news sites, local newspapers and national coverage on the CBC and CTV. The campaign was picked up on environmental blogs and websites throughout the six-week campaign period.