Discredited scientist won't be forced to payGNWT doesn't want money back for flight and hotel for specialist brought up for conference
Northern News Services
Published Friday, February 28, 2014
The territorial government won't be asking for its money back from a now discredited scientist who flew to Yellowknife last summer to chair a conference panel on energy.
Dr. Louis LaPierre, seen here in a YouTube video of a conference organized by the U.S-based National Research Council of the National Academies, had his flight and hotel costs paid for by the GNWT to attend the Energy and Mine Ministers' Conference in Yellowknife in August. In September, it was discovered LaPierre did not have the PhD in ecology that he said he had. - photo courtesy of YouTube
Dr. Louis LaPierre, an Order of Canada recipient, who was then head of New Brunswick Energy Institute (NBEI), was in Yellowknife for the Energy and Mine Ministers' Conference Aug. 24 to 27, chairing the conference's panel on shale resources.
Other members of the panel included Robert Metcs, the chief negotiator for the First Nations Pacific Trails Partnership Group, and Tim Wall, the president of
Kitimat Upstream Operations, a shale gas operation in B.C's Liard and Horn river basins.
According to e-mail correspondence obtained by Yellowknifer through an access to information request with the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI), LaPierre was accompanied to Yellowknife by a woman, whose name has been blacked out, that paid her own way North.
The e-mails also detail the events that LaPierre and the unidentified woman had requested to take part in as part of
the conference, which included a golf tournament, a hiking tour of Cameron Falls and a "northern dinner and dance."
On Sept. 10, national media outlets reported LaPierre had incorrectly stated his credentials and where he obtained his doctoral degree.
LaPierre had previously told national media outlets he obtained a PhD in ecology from the University of Maine. However, it was later discovered he did not have this degree, and instead had a PhD in education from Walden University, an online school in Minnesota.
On Sept. 19, LaPierre - formerly a professor at Universite de Moncton for more than three decades - resigned from his position as head of NBEI, admitting that he had misrepresented his credentials in a statement to the Moncton Times and Transcript.
In a travel authorization and expense claim obtained by Yellowknifer through an access to information request, LaPierre was compensated a total of $1,713 - $1,013 for his flight and $700 for four nights at the Explorer Hotel - for making the trip from Moncton for the conference.
"Mr. LaPierre's accommodation and travel expenses were paid for by the GNWT," stated Alayna Ward, the manager of public affairs and communication for ITI, in an e-mail to Yellowknifer.
"No, the GNWT is not looking to recoup this money and no, there are no other expenses the GNWT covered."
When asked why the department wasn't looking to recoup its losses, Ward stated that Lapierre "was invited to provide input on topics during (the energy ministers' conference) of which he has experience with.
"There was no need to consider getting money back."
Lapierre did not return Yellowknifer's request for comment.