Neil Young reiterates criticism of oilsands, Harper government with new statement

‘Rock stars don’t need oil’


TORONTO – Neil Young reaffirmed his criticism of the Harper government and the Alberta oilsands on Monday, responding to a statement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman with a point-by-point refutation.

On Sunday, Young held a press conference in Toronto during which he compared a Fort McMurray industrial site he’d visited to the atomic-bomb devastation of Hiroshima, Japan, and said that he was “embarrassed” by a Canadian government that was “trading integrity for money.”

Harper spokesman Jason MacDonald countered in a statement that the natural resources sector was a “fundamental part of our country’s economy.”

MacDonald continued that “the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day.”

In a statement Monday, Young replied that his issue was with the government “breaking treaties with the First Nation and plundering the natural resources the First Nation has rights to under the treaties.”

The 68-year-old also added that “rock stars don’t need oil” and pointed out that he drove his electric car from California to the oilsands and on to Washington “without using any oil at all.”

“And I’m a rock star,” continued the Toronto-born guitarist. “My car’s generator runs on biomass, one of several future fuels Canada should be developing for the post-fossil fuel age.”

“As to the thousands of hard-working Canadians,” he added, “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. … There are better jobs to be developing, with clean energy source industries to help make the world a safer place for our grandchildren.”

Young is in the midst of a four-date tour benefitting the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Fund, with shows still to come in Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary after his Toronto debut.

His statement included specific allegations of the toxic environmental effects of the oilsands, while also pointing out that the “oil is not going 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?” he asked. “As a Canadian citizen, I am concerned that this government is not acting within the advice of science.”

Young closed by responding to another of MacDonald’s statements, in which he pledged that the 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.”

“When people say one thing and do another, it is hypocrisy,” Young replied.

“Our Canadian environmental laws don’t matter if they are broken.”


Neil Young reiterates criticism of oilsands, Harper government with new statement

  1. Young said our govt was only interested in money. The govt immediately proved Young right by offering money-for-oil to the FN.

    • Oilsands are the largest employers of First Nations people in Canada. While progressives will let natives stew in poverty, we give them excellent paying jobs.

      • Rubbish.

        • It’s Emily the Know Nothing!

          Largest employer of First Nations people in Canada is the oilsands. The oil industry empowers natives while progressives want to keep natives as dependent victims forever.

          • Yip. It’s true. Truth hurts progs I know, but dems da facts.

          • You’re being stupid is bad enough, don’t lie as well.

          • Looked up the website it seems that digging up tarsands is technically mining so actually you proved Chrs731’s point.

          • Does this pass for clever where you come from?

      • Hey, can you, as Young says, actually smell a constant fuel smell in the community of Fort McMurry which is I understand quite a distance from the extraction and processing site itself?

      • There’s such serious competition in that category. Who came in second?

  2. why is this getting such coverage? a more interesting story is how green policies in europe are forcing countries like Germany back to coal. and how does neil young have any scientific credit ability? he loves driving his motorcycle…

  3. For all you Tarsands Trolls, you can cry into your pillow tonight knowing the glaring reality that Neil Young has boatloads more credibility than the entire Harper Reform Party brat pack.

    • Harper is elected by Canadians. Young hasn’t lived here for almost 50 years. As a wealthy American flying the world in his private jet, Young really has no credibility to criticize.

  4. As much as I respect Neil Young for his musical talent and his Canadian roots, the guy essentially is now nothing more another rich American celebrity trying to impose his left wing hippie sensibilities on the rest of us. We who actually like the idea of cheap energy and a robust economy along with the jobs and the lifestyle and creature comforts that come with it.

    I’m sure that if I were independently wealthy and able to jet around the globe pontificating my political beliefs, I’d be just as blase as Neil about attacking the foundation of our modern economy and lifestyles, but I have a job to maintain, and bills to pay, and kids and grand kids who depend on the economy for their employment as well.

    Yeah, cleaning up and separating the the bitumen from the bitumen soaked dirt of the oilsands makes a bit of a short term mess, but in a generation or two after the bitumen is extracted, it’ll all go back to bush and trees, and it’ll be darned near impossible to tell that there was a oil extraction process.

    So no… the environment isn’t being “destroyed”. Here’s a challenge for the eco-activists…. show us one spot on the planet where the environment was “destroyed” by man. Not just changed a bit, but completely destroyed. And not for the moment, or a couple of years, or 10 years, but forever “destroyed”. Mother nature is pretty darned robust, and in the end will do just fine thank you very much. i keep hearing about how we are “destroying” the planet, but I know of no spot that was actually destroyed. Go figure.

    • I heard some disturbing information about what Shell did in Nigeria, but maybe it’s pristine, I don’t know.You might rethink your full blown defence of Shell, the Jackpine? extractor.

      • In Canada, we have a democracy and reasonable environmental regulation. In Nigeria, they might want to consider the same. What the govt of Nigeria does in Nigeria in this regard is their responsibility, not mine and not yours either. Apples and oranges. Canadian oil is ethical oil. And I don’t recall doing a “full blown defense” of Shell or any other oil company.

        • Young dealt with ethical oil nonsense. Bitumen oil is destined for China, even the Keystone transported stuff.

          • Regardless of where it goes, it is ethical oil. It was produced in a democratic country under the countries reasonable and legal environmental standards, employing people under more than adequate wages, and all appropriate taxes are paid every step of the way. There is absolutely nothing unethical about the oilsands oil.

            Unless you believe that oilsands oil is “dirty” oil as opposed to “sweet” oil, which is chemically-speaking nonsense. Crude is crude. Or maybe you think that it’s a little messy to extract. Well, maybe it is, but like I said previously, in a few generations after it’s extracted you won’t be able to tell there was an extraction process there in the first place. Your use of the word “ethical” is based on your opinion about the extraction of oil from the oilsands, which is not correct and not relevant to the legal issue of ethics.

            Young accused the Harper govt of not having any ethics. we can only assume that he was coached by the Canadian left wing eco-activists as to what language to use, because I frankly doubt that he’s that plugged into the current left wing ideological mantras being bandied about in Canada.

            I keep hearing how the Harper govt lacks ethics, but I don’t hear about any specific thing they did that was unethical. You know we have laws against unethical behavior. And I see no one in the Harper govt being charged with ethics breaches. So I have to presume that the “unethical” slurs/allegations are just some left wing nutbars opinion rather than anything actually ethically wrong or illegal. Which, again, comes down to opinion.

            In that case, I believe that making spurious and false allegations repeatedly in the press about an entire govt being allegedly unethical is in itself unethical. It’s lying. Publicly. And repeatedly. Without foundation in law, just your opinion. Which in a democratic country, you have the freedom to express.

            Don’t you love living in a democratic country, under a democratically elected govt, where you can speak your mind even when you are dead wrong, repeatedly?

          • Re: the Harper gov’t and integrity, I think Young was talking about the way the aboriginal nations were being treated.

          • What? How more first nations land and band claims have been settled during the Harper administration than in the preceding 100 years? The bastards!

  5. Neil Young owns a private jet, dozens of gasoline powered vintage cars, a massive luxury tour bus, owns a ranch, several other vacation homes and has north of $100 million dollars in the bank. And he has the gall to lecture us about the environment????

    • Same for Suzuki and Gore right?

      • Doncha just love the silly remarks about Young’s wealth and ‘ethical oil’?

        Kinda like the ‘buy a horse’ remarks from a century ago.

  6. Now Young is saying that “Rock stars don’t need oil.”

    Really? His $100 million dollar fortune has required oil for decades to help amass his wealth.

    Can rich American progressives really be that out of touch?

    • And don’t forget climate activists David Suzuki and Al Gore should not be allowed to fly on airplanes at all. And if they do, they should shut up about climate.

  7. Jason MacDonald is a failed PC candidate. What else do you expect from Harper and his crew of brain dead fart catchers?

    The childish argument that he uses oil so shouldn’t be criticizing it is something you would expect from those who are incapable of independent thought processes. Only a fool would stand there and say they are going to continue doing something the wrong way, for the wrong reason and hurt other people because everyone uses oil. Those same idiots will be the first ones whining when the executives pack up and move on and leave them with the clean up bill and health costs.

  8. You are a disgraceful PM. The common people will shuffle your cards and spoil your game with sight to see and courage to do. I hear Bob Dylan – ‘The times they are a changing’ and Joan Baez – ‘We shall over come’. Shall we, the common people, permit honest media or conservative ‘subversive’ propaganda? Shall we ‘cower’ or inspect the litany of your conservative government? You are disgraceful and despicable. How dare you lie to us? How dare you suggest you do not know what is going on around you. You are the absolute pits of humanity.