Neil Young's "Honor The Treaties" Press Conference
"Honor The Treaties" Press Conference
Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada - Jan 12, 2014
(Click photo to enlarge)
Neil Young's "Honor The Treaties" press conference at Massey Hall in Toronto appears to have have finally caught the attention of Canadians, including the Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Young's comments were particularly harsh for Prime Minister Harper calling his administration "hypocritical" and ignoring science for corporate profits.
Neil Young blasts oilsands expansion, launches fundraising tour - Toronto - CBC News:
"Canada is trading integrity for money," said the environmentally engaged 68-year-old rocker. "That's what's happening under the current leadership in Canada, which is a very poor imitation of the George Bush administration in the United States and is lagging behind on the world stage. It's an embarrassment to any Canadians."Young spoke before Sunday's Massey Hall concert which will benefit the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Fund.
"I want my grandchildren to grow up and look up and see a blue sky and have dreams that their grandchildren are going to do great things," he added later. "And I don't see that today in Canada. I see a government just completely out of control.
"Money is number one. Integrity isn't even on the map."
"The name Canada's based on a First Nations word. The word Ottawa's based on a First Nations word, Ontario's based on a First Nations word, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Quebec — these are all First Nations words. This is where Canada came from.
We made a deal with these people. We are breaking our promise. We are killing these people. The blood of these people will be on modern Canada's hands. I drove around the tarsands in my electric car viewing and experiencing this unbelievable smell and toxicity in my throat — my eyes were burning," he recalled. "That started 25 miles away from the tarsands. When I was in Fort Mac, it got more intense.
My son, who has cerebral palsy, has lung damage, (so) he was wearing a mask to keep the toxic things in the air out of his lungs and make it easy for him to have lungs after he left. It looked very big and very impressive. Extremely well-organized. A lot of people were working — hard-working people, who I respect. That was one of 50 sites. The one we saw was the cleanest one. It's the best-looking one. It's the poster child.
And it's one of the ugliest things I've ever seen.
It's the greediest, most destructive and disrespectful demonstration of just something run amok that you could ever see. There's no way to describe it, so I described it as Hiroshima, which was basically pretty mellow compared to what's going on out there. I still stand by what I said about Fort Mac and the way it looks. Not because the houses in Fort Mac look like Hiroshima, but because Fort Mac stands for 50 sites, the name Fort Mac stands for diseases that these First Nations people are getting, pollution, everything that's happening there.
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 oil companies. And Canada's government is making this happen. It's truly a disaster to anyone with an environmental conscience.
"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. 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."All of this said, Canadians were overwhelming supportive of Neil Young's stand Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Fund. From CBC readers, listeners rally behind Neil Young on oilsands - Your Community:
"Bravo, Neil, for fighting for a safe future for us all," said gohonestly.
Alexander Lavallary: Nice to see a famous non-aboriginal say the treaties need to be honored a day ago
"Good for you, Neil. It's a total disgrace what is happening in the Alberta oilsands. It's time to fight back. Our government of the day cares little about our environment. It's all about the almighty dollar. Time for a change," said Cookie1.
David Ogilvie: It is about time a high profile Canadian entertainer stood up for what is right. There have been a few over the years, but now we need everybody standing up for the First Nations, and the environment.
Kevin Aubie: Canadians have never had any say in TarSands development.We've been marginalized as citizens.ThankU Neil Young 4 giving us a voice
Other CBC.ca readers in the comments dismissed such arguments as ad hominem attacks and "Attacking the person - and not the issue - is a very old tactic. Everyone knows that Neil Young despises the spotlight, and gives rare interviews. Instead of sitting back, which he could easily do, he's speaking up. I feel so proud of Neil's passionate defence of the natural environment," said CdnWmn.
"Why do all the weak thinkers believe Mr. Young is a hypocrite just because he, like 99% of us, uses oil and gas in some form? He is just being critical of the perceived flagrant abuse of the environment and Native Lands by the oil consortium," said Rickieroo.
"The truth never gets old. The truth never goes out of fashion. The truth is always cool. Neil Young is a highly acclaimed artist bestowed with the Order of Canada who has been telling us the truth for over 50 years in very satisfying ways, earning our trust, respect and admiration," said Gutcheck.
"The focus here is not that we use oil, it is how the oil is produced, who is getting the profits and who are sustaining the losses. I like what Neil said, Canada has exchanged integrity for money," said Sophie Joe.And the last word on Neil Young on being political in this clip from interview with Jian Ghomeshi, Neil talks about where one should draw the line between being an artist and being an activist, or whether there should be a line at all. Extended Neil Young criticizes Alberta oil sands development, Harper government
UPDATE: From POLL: What do you think of Neil Young’s anti-oilsands campaign? | Globalnews.ca:
“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.”(Thanks bh & BNB for all the links!)
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