Canadian music legend Neil Young spoke out firmly against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s regime at a press conference on Sunday, 12 January at Massey Hall in Toronto.
Neil Young, together with guests, Chief Allan Adam, Eriel Deranger, and Andrew Weaver, and moderator David Suzuki visited Toronto’s Massey Hall to raise awareness of the Alberta oil sands and the environment for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations.
“It’s a little bit too late for me to be here to stop some of the things have already happened. Nonetheless, I am here and these are my friends. I hope that we can make a difference for our grandchildren – that’s why we’re here, that’s why I am here. I want my grandchildren to grow up look up and see a blue sky and have dreams that their grandchildren are going to do great things. But I don’t see that today in Canada. I see a Government completely out of control. Money is number one and integrity isn’t even on the map.” — Neil Young.
Watch Neil Young and other guests speaking in a highlights video of the Honour The Treaties event, filmed and edited by Music Vice reporter Megan Rach:
Following a response from the Prime Minister’s Office, Neil Young responded with the following press release on Monday, 13 January:
A spokesman from the Prime Minister’s Office defended Canada’s natural resource sector, saying it is a fundamental part of the country’s economy.
Our issue is not whether the natural resource sector is a fundamental part of the country, 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.
“Even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day,” Jason MacDonald said in a statement.
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.
As to the thousands of hard working Canadians, we have respect for all working people. The quandary we face is the job they are working on. They are digging a hole that our grandchildren will have great trouble digging their way out of. By that we mean Climate Change, the result of too much CO2 in the atmosphere There are better jobs to be developing, with clean energy source industries to help make the world a safer place for our grandchildren.
The oil sands projects are among the very dirtiest on earth. Per day, the oils sands operations produce as much CO2 as all the cars in Canada. While every gallon of gasoline from the cleanest oil sources produces 19.5 LBS of CO2, Alberta oil sands derived gasoline produces up to three times as much CO2 because of the inefficient methods used, potentially bringing the total CO2 per gallon to almost 60 LBS. This oil is going not to Canada, but to China where the air quality has been measured at 30 times the levels of safety established by the World Health Organization. Is that what Canada is all about?
As a Canadian citizen, I am concerned that this government is not acting within the advice of science.
“Our government recognizes the importance of developing resources responsibly and sustainably and we will continue to ensure that Canada’s environmental laws and regulations are rigorous,” MacDonald added.
When people say one thing and do another, it is hypocrisy. Our Canadian environmental laws don’t matter if they are broken.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
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