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Neil Young benefit tour inspires First Nation member

Proceeds from 4 concerts go to Athabascan Chipewyan First Nation’s fight against oilsands expansion

By Angela Sterritt, CBC News Posted: Jan 12

Lionel Lepine used to be a heavy hauler for energy giant Suncor but decided to quit his job after he began reassessing the impact that the oilsands industry had on his First Nations community and the environment.

Lionel Lepinesays watching Neil Young from his front row seats at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina next Friday will be a dream come true.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation member and aspiring guitar player is on his way to Regina to see the rock legend perform on Jan. 17. The concert is part of Young’s Honour the Treaties tour, the proceeds of which will go toward the First Nation’s legal battle against the expansion of the Jackpine Mine oilsands project. Neil Young is holding four concerts to benefit the legal fight against oilsands development affecting the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

“For him to do this concert for my people, well not many other musicians would do a show like this, but he sees that there’s a big problem going on down there in the tarsands,” Lepine said.

Young visited the oilsands just outside of Fort McMurray last year, and after being shocked by the image of the vast crater-like impact of the oilsands on the land — an image he compared to the landscape of Hiroshima after it was hit by a nuclear bomb in 1945 — he decided to take action.

The Canadian rocker is now holding four benefit concerts in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and its fight against further oilsands development. The expansion of Shell Canada’s Jackpine Mine was approved by regulators last month.

A difficult decision

Lepine says he hopes concertgoers will get the message the First Nation is trying to send out. “Look at industry and what all the companies have done so far, which is only about 10 per cent of what they are going to do,” he said. “Some call it the smell of money, but I call it the smell of death. This is what’s killing the environment, but it’s also killing us as human beings, and Neil Young noticed that right away.”

read all: cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/neil-young-benefit-tour-inspires-first-nation-member-1.2493525?cmp=rss

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