Neil Young concludes anti-oilsands concert series with show in Calgary


CALGARY – Rock legend Neil Young’s Honour the Treaties concert tour wraps up tonight in the province with the most at stake in the debate over the economic and environmental effects of oilsands development.

The show, which supports the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation located downstream from the oilsands, takes place in Calgary.

It follows stops earlier this week in Toronto, Winnipeg and Regina where Young dropped statements about the oilsands that many denounced as over-the top.

Young has repeated claims that the oilsands mining projects near Fort McMurray resemble the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima in 1945.

He also claimed during the past week that bitumen transported on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas would end up in China.

Young’s Hiroshima claim prompted some Twitter users in the Fort McMurray area to post pictures of natural scenes of rivers, lakes and forests under the hashtag #myhiroshima.

Many of the photos are accompanied by comments such as, “The ‘wasteland’ behind my house,” or, “Dog sledding through nuclear wasteland,” and are clearly meant to highlight the discrepancy between the rock star’s portrayal of their home and what they say is the reality outside their doors.

“I just turned your CDs into landfill. So disappointed,” tweeted Terri Windover to Young’s official Twitter account.

Catherine Swift, head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, posted in #myhiroshima that Young was the “Jenny McCarthy” of the “anti-economic success anti-well-paying jobs movement.”

McCarthy, a former model/actress, vehemently claims childhood vaccinations cause autism and other disabilities, despite those claims having been disproven by rigorous scientific research.

“Keep on rockin in the dumb world,” Swift tweeted.

TransCanada (TSX:TRP), the company proposing to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has countered that the pipeline would be a conduit for U.S. refineries.

Jim Cuddy from the Canadian band Blue Rodeo called Young’s comparison of the oilsands with Hiroshima extreme.

Still, Cuddy suggested that Young has triggered a national discussion about the oilsands that is long overdue.

Young remained unbowed throughout the week, and warned on Thursday that Alberta could end up looking “like the moon” if land isn’t preserved.

“It is like a war zone, a disaster area from war, what’s happened up there,” Young told a news conference ahead of his Winnipeg concert.

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Neil Young concludes anti-oilsands concert series with show in Calgary

  1. And then he’ll fly on his private jet back to his huge spread in California. Ah, the life of a Rock Star.

    Always remember: Rock stars don’t need oil.

  2. so, Neil Young, Diana Krall, Bruce Cockburn, Jann Arden, now Jim Cuddy (Toronto Star Jan.17…and just after you misquoted him about complaining about Neil’s views…sheesh)of Blue Rodeo. All publicly denouncing Enbridge/oilsands. Musicians supporting Enbridge/oilsands, ummm, Stephan Harper and the Hawkwinds. The Jim Flaherty Quartet, Joe Oliver and the Rideau Ramblers, Al Monaco and the Enbridge Symphony. Janet Holder and the Singing Whales. Battle of the Bands!!!

    • Stephen Harper has formed a new band – The Tailing Ponds. They specialize in sedimental heavy metal.

      • :)

    • Musicians who don’t agree with Neil Young: Ashley MacIssac who happens to know that about 1/3 of the population of Ft. McMurray is made of up of men/women from the east coast of Canada who are able to live in their beloved maritimes because they have found good paying work there.
      What is interesting to me is why Neil Young isn’t gong after the coal industry in his adopted American homeland. Coal has a much bigger carbon foot print than our oil sands does. He must know that Obama is madly shipping coal to China just as BC is. Why not fight that fight…Bill Mahr is. Clean up your own backyard first.

  3. So is that it until………next year, or …….. what?

  4. Very irresponsible reporting, I realize nobody wants to hear the truth from those not afraid to speak it but Maclean’s and others should at least try to hide the fact they’re not completely up the ar$e& of the oil companies. The only people I see denying the oil is not going to China is Shell, who didn’t say it wasn’t, the said the revenue was benefiting Canadians, which is great but still didn’t make Mr. Young wrong.

    • You do realize oil is a traded commodity? We could sell it to Scandinavia, then Scandinavia would not need to buy it from other reserves which would go to China. I do love how the same people praising this argument decry the ethical oil one. Unlike oil itself, production is very nuch a non commodity with vast differences in the governments that support it. Shut down the tar sands with rigid reclamation and environmental rules and it will only be produced by despotic regimes that think nothing if putting refuse into rivers, not to mention using state revenues to hang gays.

      But Neil and his followers get to revere in their fantasy that they are “saving the world”. I suspect that sense of omnipotence and moral superiority is the real benefit to all of this. If Neil started living in a windmill powered hut with only locally made goods and food I may begin to believe otherwise.

  5. Would love to see a simulation of life without oil. It would essentially be stone age living in many ways, complete with all of the corresponding human misery. Then I would like to see Neil Young plucked from his plush oil dependent mansion and put in that simulation for a year or so. I suspect we wouldn’t hear much from our aging rock star after that.

  6. Now that Neil has opened up the debate its time for us all to consider the inevitablility that these MEGA projects will require MEGA power. Where are they likely to go for that kind of power? Nuclear energy of course! Is that what you want in your future and the future of your grandchildren?

    • Actually, yes. Nuclear, when done right, is the cleanest, safest, most reliable energy source available. We only have a handful of worst case scenarios throughout history and the specter of Hiroshima and Nagaski (which have nothing to do with nuclear energy but are associated with it anyways) preventing rational minds from being heard over the din of fear mongers like you. Fukushima isn’t good, but it pales in comparison to what coal power is currently doing to nearby communities — with our blessing. What fools we are if we don’t adopt nuclear.

      • Well, if we could all be like Iceland and derive our energy from geothermal, I’d pick that. Unfortunately, it’s just not feasible at this point in time, for the same basic reasons that all communities can’t take advantage of hydroelectric dams. Solar and wind are just far too unreliable, even when working correctly. Nuclear for the masses.

    • Go enjoy living in your cave.

      What will you do to keep from freezing to death?

      Cut down a tree and burn that?