Neil Young blasts oilsands expansion, launches fundraising tour
4 concerts to fund First Nations legal fight against oilsands projects
The singer, speaking to reporters before his Massey Hall concert, said he supports First Nations in their fight against expanding oilsands projects in Alberta because of their destructive impact on the environment.
"I see a government completely out of control, and money is number one. Integrity isn't even on the map," he said.
Young said he toured one of 50 oilsands sites with his son and was shocked at "the ugliest thing I've ever seen. It`s the greediest, most destructive and most disrespectful demonstration of something that has run amok."
Neil Young Plays 'Honor the Treaties' Anti-Tar Sands Benefit Tonight
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Proceeds from 4 concerts to go to Athabascan Chipewyan First Nation's fight against oilsands expansion
Jobs vs. environment
Here's Neil Young and the tribes vs. the government and the oil industry:
Feds respond to Neil Young anti-oilsands tour 75
By Jessica Hume
"The resource sector creates economic opportunities and employs tens of thousands of Canadians in high-wage jobs, contributing to a standard of living that is envied around the world and helping fund programs and services Canadians rely on," Prime Minister Stephen Harper's spokesman, Jason MacDonald, told QMI Agency.
"Even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day," MacDonald noted.
By John R. Kennedy
“Our issue is not whether the natural resource sector is a fundamental part of the country,” Young said Monday in a statement. “Our issue is with the government breaking treaties with the First Nation and plundering the natural resources the First Nation has rights to under the treaties.”
The government also said it “recognizes the importance of developing resources responsibly and sustainably and we will continue to ensure that Canada’s environmental laws and regulations are rigorous.”
Young shot back: “When people say one thing and do another, it is hypocrisy. Our Canadian environmental laws don’t matter if they are broken.”
The Toronto-born singer also took note of the PMO’s comment that “even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day.”
Young countered: “If rock stars need oil is an official response, how does that affect the treaties Mr. Harper’s government of Canada is breaking? Of course, rock stars don’t need oil. I drove my electric car from California to the Tar sands and on to Washington DC without using any oil at all and I’m a rock star. My car’s generator runs on biomass, one of several future fuels Canada should be developing for the Post Fossil Fuel Age. This age of renewable fuels could save our grandchildren from the ravages of Climate related disasters spawned by the Fossil Fuel Age; but we have to get started.”
Neil Young: Blood of First Nations People Is on Canada's Hands
By David P. Ball
“Stephen Harper, Pocahontas and me,” the 68-year-old singer crooned to 2,700 fans in Toronto at the first show of his fundraising tour to support Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's legal battle to halt the oil sands' expansion, which they argue has caused cancer rates to skyrocket and contaminated their lands and waters. In the street outside Massey Hall, dozens held a round dance--a fixture of the Idle No More movement that has swept the country over the past year.
Only hours earlier, the Canadian music veteran issued his strongest words yet against his country's energy boom. He cited the statistic that oil sands-affected aboriginal communities have a cancer rate that is 30 percent higher than the rest of the population, including rare forms of the disease linked to petrochemical pollution.
“People are dying of cancer because of this,” he told reporters. “All the First Nations people up there are threatened by this ... The atrocities that happened--they are much bigger than we can describe.”
He also called the oil sands the “greediest, most destructive and most disrespectful demonstration of something that has run amok.”
Petroleum producers says rock star's rhetoric is uninformed and divisive
"Mr. Young may represent that rock stars don't need oil, but we would represent that Canadians very much do need oil," said David Collyer of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
He said the industry is proud of the positive relationships it has built with First Nations across Canada.
"Certainly from time to time there are barriers to effective collaboration and engagement between industry and First Nations—we recognize that and we acknowledge it," said Collyer.
He said those differences relate to education, culture, unresolved land claims and views regarding economic benefits and opportunities.
"However, what Mr. Young and his colleagues fail to acknowledge is that in many causes, and in the face of those challenges, we've had many significant successes," said Collyer, pointing to jobs, contracts, cultural programs and infrastructure development.
He said oilsands companies contract with aboriginal organizations for up to $1.8 billion a year for goods and services.
Neil Young tour: 5 facts about the First Nation he's singing for
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation has spent millions in legal fees fighting oilsands development
Petropolis, Film Being Shown At Honour The Treaties Tour, Posted Online (VIDEO)
For more on the subject, see 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk and Cameron Criticizes Oilsands "Curse."
Below: "Chief Allan Adam, left, and Neil Young en route to Winnipeg during the Honour the Treaties tour. This picture was posted on Young's Facebook page, where he writes, 'Here's the Chief and yours truly outside Broken Canoe Trading Post. Big flurries fill the air. Honour the Treaties.'"