Neil Young responds to criticism from Prime Minister’s Office

Video: Singer-songwriters Neil Young says the Harper government is “completely out of control” when it comes to the environment and the expansion of Alberta’s oilsands. Mike Le Couteur reports.

TORONTO — Canadian musician Neil Young responded Monday to a statement issued by Prime Minister Harper’s office following comments Young made about the Alberta oilsands and the federal government.

In the PMO’s statement, issued on Sunday after Young held a press conference in Toronto, a spokesperson said the federal government has defended Canada’s natural resource sector as a fundamental part of the country’s economy.

“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.”

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READ MORE: Neil Young raises his voice against Canada’s oilsands

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.”

WATCH: Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver responds to Neil Young’s criticism of oil sands

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.”

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Young takes his Honour the Treaties tour to Winnipeg on Jan. 16, Regina on Jan. 17 and Calgary on Jan. 19.

The rest of his statement reads:

“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.”


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