Canadian Rocker Neil Young Blasts Stephen Harper, Alberta Tar Sands

by: Obert Madondo |  | Published January 13, 2014, by The Canadian Progressive

ROCKER Neil Young is probably the foremost living embodiment of responsible Canadian citizenship in the age of fossil-fuel madness!

The Canadian rock legend is not apologizing for blasting the Harper government for “trading integrity” in its single-minded pursuit of tar sands dollars.

Neither is he apologizing for criticizing Stephen Harper and the Alberta tar sands operations for “breaking treaties with the First Nation and plundering the natural resources the First Nation has rights to under the treaties.”

Kicking off his  “Honor the Treaties” tour in Toronto on Sunday, the 68-year-old musician called the prime minister “an embarrassment” to Canadians for his lack of sensitivity to the ongoing annihilation of First Nations’ livelihoods in the tar sands region.

“We made a deal with [First Nations] people, we are breaking our promise, we are killing these people, the blood of these people will be on modern Canada’s hands,” Young said.

Last year, Young likened the tar sands operations to Hiroshima after the bomb.

Canadian singer and pianist Diana Krall will also perform during the tour, scheduled to hit Winnipeg (Jan. 16), Regina (Jan.17) and Calgary (Jan. 19).

Proceeds from the tour will go to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s legal fight against Shell and the expansion of tar sands operations in northern Alberta. The band, which lives downstream of the Alberta’s tar sands, argues that the projects violate the terms of a treaty signed by Queen Victoria in 1899.

As expected, Young’s bold truth-telling ticked off the Conservatives, who responded with the usual discredited argument that the tar sands were a “fundamental part of our country’s economy.”

“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,” said Young in a statement released Monday.

“This oil is all going to China. It’s not for Canada. It’s not for the United States. It’s not ours. It belongs to the oils companies and Canada’s government is behind making this happen.”

Then there’s the issues of mercury poisoning.

Common Dreams reports:

Levels of mercury in a vast area surrounding the controversial Alberta tar sands oil fields are on the rise and have reached levels up to 16 times higher than ‘background’ levels—a toxic side effect of the extraction process—according to a group of Canadian governmental scientists.

In his statement Young also reminded the Conservatives he lives responsibly. His car’s generator runs on biomass, “one of several future fuels Canada should be developing for the post-fossil fuel age.”

“There are better jobs to be developing, with clean energy source industries to help make the world a safer place for our grandchildren,” Young said.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.