TORONTO — Canadian music icon Neil Young announced Monday he will perform a concert July 3 in Edmonton to benefit the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Defense Fund.
Young will be joined at Rexall Place by Canadian band Blue Rodeo.
Young has been a vocal supporter of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in its fight to stop oilsands development.
Last year, he held similar Honour the Treaties concerts in cities across Canada, including Calgary.
“It’s the greediest, most destructive and disrespectful demonstration of something run amok that you can ever see,” Young said of the Alberta oilsands in January 2014. “There is no way to describe it. It’s truly a disaster.”
“There is no reclamation. There’s not one reclamation site that’s truly a tar sands site,” he said. “It’s like turning the moon into Eden. It’s not going to work. It’s just not there anymore. It’s been destroyed. People don’t realize what it looks like. It’s worse than anything you can imagine.”
In 2013, Young came under fire for comparing Fort McMurray, Alberta to the Japanese city destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945.
“I described it as Hiroshima, which was basically pretty mellow compared to what was really going on up there,” he said. “I still stand by what was said about Fort McMurray and the way it looks. Not because the houses in Fort McMurray look like Hiroshima but because Fort McMurray stands for disease that these First Nations people are getting, the pollution… everything that’s happening there.”
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The Prime Minister’s Office responded to Young’s comments about oilsands development last year.
“Even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard working Canadians every day,” read the statement. “We will continue to ensure that Canada’s environmental laws and regulations are rigorous. We will ensure that companies abide by conditions set by independent, scientific and expert panels.
“It’s important to note that we have for the first time in Canadian history the prospect of significant economic and resource development in regions where aboriginal people are often the dominant populations and where there have been no similar large-scale economic opportunities.”
Chief Allan Adam welcomed news of another benefit concert by Young.
“With the support of Neil Young and fans we are creating more accountability from our governments for the safe guarding of our lands, rights and future generations in Alberta, Canada and beyond,” said Adam, in a release.
“Our people, our climate and our planet can no longer afford to be economic hostages in the race to industrialize the earth. We must act now for the future generations.”
Tickets for the Edmonton concert start at $45 and go on sale May 1.