Friends of Rod Cumberland

Campaign Created by: Gerry Redmond (Rod's former boss at the college)

Goal : CAD $50,000
Raised : CAD $ 5,290

Welcome to an update on the court case of Rod Cumberland, former instructor at the Maritime College of Forest Technology in Fredericton, New Brunswick (NB).

Rod was the NB provincial deer biologist and during his tenure found that glyphosate spraying was a major contributor to the declining deer numbers on Crown land. Following an industry-sponsored event in which Rod spoke up on the impacts of glyphosate, he was fired without due process.  He is now suing for wrongful dismissal, drawing attention to the damaging effects of glyphosate and how industry and government collude to continue its use.

The Latest on the Court Case:

Rod and lawyer Paul Champ were scheduled to start trial April 4, 2022, almost 2.5 years after filing their lawsuit.  A week prior to this, Mr. Champ released 169 pages of documents secured under the federal Access to Information Act, garnering renewed media attention and supportive articles (see Recent Media and Links, p. 2).  The buzz was short-lived however, when Rod’s court dates were first shuffled, then postponed four months.  The judge had contracted COVID, and has subsequently been removed from the case. The case will now be heard by Chief Justice Tracey DeWare of the Court of Queens Bench, NB and was scheduled to re-start on August 29, 2022. However, the NB court has once again rescheduled the trial, and now it will run Sept 12-14, and then resume to complete on Oct 3-7. Pending any other delays, the Burton NB Courthouse will be open for the public to hear testimony.

While not ideal, the delay provides additional time to raise funds and awareness for this important, potentially precedent-setting case.

Generous donors have already contributed over $50,000 to the legal fund, but the total bill is expected to top $125,000. Even if Rod is successful, the NB legal system only allows him to recover 20% of his legal costs. He won’t accept a settlement or non-disclosure agreement to just go away and be silent. However, the NB legal system continues to reveal many nuances that complicate things for Rod financially.

Rod is fighting this case for all New Brunswicker's concerned about glyphosate’s effect on our health, wildlife and water, for freedom of speech, and for changes at the College.  By not settling, and by exposing the close relationship of industry and public officials who run both the College and the controversial spray program at taxpayers’ expense, Rod is sacrificing a lot. He has been black-listed for taking senior officials from the College board to court and forcing them to testify about the truth—about his firing, and about their joint determination to keep spraying.

Please give what you can toward this case. The SupportTeam are volunteers helping raise funds for the case. We need your help before heading back to court this September.  Please consider a gift to stand up to those who are determined to poison this province with glyphosate, when so many other jurisdictions have outlawed its use on forests (including Quebec).

Recent Media and Links:

1. Rod Cumberland speaks to Cloe Logan of the National Observer May 25, 2022. https://www.nationalobserver.com/2022/05/25/news/teachers-fight-against-glyphosate-pitted-him-against-nbs-most-powerful-interests


2. Western Standard – April 16, 2022, by M. Horwood

https://www.westernstandard.news/news/fired-forestry-professor-continues-ringing-alarm-bells-on-glyphosate-usage/article_a3acc904-aaff-5c6d-afa3-aeb43663cf64.html


3. CBC – April 3, 2022 by Jacques Poitras https://www.

cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/forestry-college-director-wanted-positive-relationship-ahead-of-firing-1.6405234 This story describes government-college-industry correspondence complaining about Rod’s concerns about glyphosate.

4. Southwest Magazine, May 5, 2022 interview and update with CHCO Television’s Vicki Hogarth https://

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocnhmSz0Cs8

5. Rod Cumberland testifies to the NB Legislative Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Stewardship, June 24, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUuyI5HPpFs

UPDATES

Update #1
September 15, 2022
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Hello supporters;  

Wanted to provide an update following our first 3 days at trial.   On day 1, our lawyer Paul Champ gave his opening arguments and then proceeded to call his first 2 witnesses, two of Rod's former bosses who were Exec. Directors of the college.  They made it clear that Rod was a great instructor, solid employee and integral to the college.  They also gave testimony to the fact that the forest industry had exerted undue pressure on them to silence and sanction Rod.

Next, Paul Champ called Rod.   they went over numerous e-mails and accusations which Rod left little doubt about.  He was emphatic - he had NOT called students slurs, this student evaluation came long before Marshall was at the college, was dealt with by Redmond and Rod clarified when he made mistakes was quick to apologize and make things right.  

Rod was following the policies as they existed;  none had changed.  The new director's rule of no drinking was the rule he enforced at a fall camp, However, after an infraction Rod's new boss overturned this rule in favor of the students, causing him the disrespect that continued to the end of the year.   When Rod tried to regain some kind of control in his class that resulted from the usurping, the students again whined and complained to the new boss, and once again rules and policies changed mid-term.  Rod repeatedly asked for clarity, for meetings, for acknowledgement of other institutions policies and legal advice.  Even after his bosses confirmed Rod was right about his liability concerns in these situations, nothing changed.

It was also testified that instructors that had issue with Rod - by their own admission and that of a mediator hired by the college - were over-sensitive and made many wrong assumptions about both Rod and the situation. 

Under Cross examination by the college lawyers, Rod clarified that the college ignored meeting with him, despite repeated requests for meetings.   There was never any official policy or mission/vision change ever communicated to faculty despite requests for this and talk of impending change.  regular faculty meetings ceased, and near impossible demands on his workload made.   

With an impending winter camp for students involving high risk activities (helicopter surveys, skidoos, etc.), Rod still needed clarity around the new directive that would have allowed students to consume drugs or alcohol at camp.  this was the reason for more forceful emails, not the colleges excuse that Rod was upset about being overlooked for the job.

Despite all this testimony, CBC reporter Jacques Portrais instead continued to attack Rod's character by only reporting on the colleges attacks.  He further failed to report that the Director General of NRCan admitted on the stand that he intentionally destroyed evidence from a Right to Information request.   The colleges case further eroded when a glyphosate presenter suggested he was not bothered at all by Rod's questions, nor was he disruptive.   The only testimony about this came from the Director general, who has an obvious conflict being a member of the school's Board of Governors.

The case has now recessed until the final 5 days that start October 3-7.  Chief Justice DeWare is presiding over the trial.  Another update will come when the trial is set to resume.


 

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