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Neil Young: "Canada is trading integrity for money" in tar sands development

3 min. read


"Canadian rock icon Neil Young launched a blistering attack on the Harper government and Alberta's tar sands prior to his show at Massey Hall (the proceeds of the tour are for the Athabasca Chipeyan First Nation Legal Fund) -- January 12th, 2014." Here are a few highlights:

  • "Canada's trading integrity for money" in developing the tar sands.
  • "I first visited the Fort Mac area a while ago and viewed the tar sands that are available for viewing from the ground, and what I saw was a devastating environmental catastrophe."
  • "Every day in Alberta...the amount of CO2 coming out of the tar sands industrial sites is equal to every car in Canada every day...that's not the way to end global warming."
  • "There were doctors saying that the cancer rate among the First Nations people was 30 percent greater than it was among anybody else, and it was a bunch of cancers that nobody had ever seen before in the area. Further studies revealed that those cancers were part of the petrochemical business."
  • "While I was there, I also went to the tar sands. And I drove around the tar sands in my electric car viewing it and experiencing this unbelievable smell and toxicity in my throat and my eyes were burning. And that started 25 miles away from the tar sands when I was in Fort Mac and got more intense."
  • "There's a film that we show called Petropolis...we have a 12 minute version of it that is an aerial shot of the tar sands, which is one of the most...devastating things that you will ever see. That this exists in Canada - the largest undertaking of its kind  or of any kind on the planet is right here in Canada - it's the greediest, most destructive and disrespectful demonstration of something run amok that you could ever see; there's no way to describe it."
  • "Some of the things that are being said by the leaders of this country are pure hypocrisy. It's embarrassing as a Canadian to have to listen to some of this stuff. It's all marketing, it's all big money. 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 behind making this happen. It's truly a disaster to anyone with an environmental conscience, anyone who is thinking about their grandchildren, anyone who can see outside a three-month window of corporate profit has got to be appalled at what's going on."
  • "We invited representatives of the Canadian government to be here...their chairs are over there...and they respectfully declined to come."
  • "We need to look ahead and develop renewable resources. We need to combine renewable resources and technologies to move forward and produce energy...the sun is so strong, we will harvest the energy of the sun. Will we do it fast enough is the question."
  • "It's important to think about the future for everybody else, and try look forward, try to come up with alternatives to a dirty future based on fossil fuels...this is not a good place for us to be right now."