Neil Young says 'rock stars don't need oil' in response to PM's spokesperson
Published Tuesday, January 14, 2014 9:10AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 14, 2014 9:48AM EST
Neil Young is not backing away from his criticism of the Harper government and the expansion of the oilsands, responding to a statement from the prime minister’s spokesperson with a point-by-point refutation.
Young blasted the government's approval of a mine expansion plan in northern Alberta during a news conference Sunday, where he said Stephen Harper’s government was choosing money over integrity in its ongoing approval of oilsands projects.
Harper's spokesperson responded to Young's claims in a statement issued Sunday, saying even "rock stars" use the resources that are being recovered in Alberta.
Jason MacDonald also noted the oilsand projects are only approved when they are deemed safe for Canadians and the environment, and added that Canada's resource sector strengthens the economy with high-wage jobs.
"Even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day," MacDonald said.
Young issued a point-by-point refutation of MacDonald's claims on Monday.
The 68-year-old rock music legend said he had an issue with the government "breaking treaties with the First Nation and plundering the natural resources the First Nation has rights to under the treaties."
Young also noted that "rock stars don’t need oil," pointing 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. My car's generator runs on biomass, one of several future fuels Canada should be developing for the post-fossil fuel age," he continued.
"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 . . . 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 middle of a four-date tour benefiting Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Fund.
His goal is to raise $75,000 to help the First Nation in its legal challenge of two Shell Canada mine projects in Alberta's Athabasca tar sands region.
Young's statement included allegations of the toxic environmental effects of the oilsands and pointed 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 said 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."
With files from The Canadian Press