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Neil Young, an uncritical celebrity activist

Neil Young speaksToday, the Toronto Star opinions about Neil and his recent activities in Canada, giving a summary about his longrunning political attitude and actions as a musician and artist.

As The Passenger says: The music we march to didn’t just show up on the radar last year sometime. They all know that. Consolidate your feces dark siders, Neil Young has proudly represented workers for decades. [1]

Referring to a recent poll in the Calgary Herald “Most Albertans object to Young’s remarks” it is written:

Today Young is outraged again, only this time it’s with his home country. He hates the oilsands. He thinks it’s the world’s greatest environmental disaster and he believes the health of First Nations peoples, who live near the projects, is threatened.

On a recent visit to northern Alberta, Young gave voice to these opinions. The oil industry and their supplicants summarily dismissed his views. The aging rock star was said to have his facts wrong (even though we lack a widely accepted set of facts about the environmental and health effects of the oilsands). He was characterized as just another in a long list of celebrity activists who uncritically accept the views of those opposed to the oilsands.

Oh yeah, musicians should just shut up and play. For the cool and calm summary of Neil’s reply to these critizisms, Neil replied wonderfully in his “Calgary Adress“. Like music is a place devoid of emotion or discussion or revolution.

A lot of the polled people disagree with Neil’s points of views about the Oil Sands, the climate change, the environmental destruction and the “greed” Canada sells out to the Big Oil players. However, a majority is very concerned and believe the oilsands are damaging the Alberta province’s ecosystems.

“No matter how you feel, there’s a discussion going on around the breakfast table. That’s real, that’s big, that’s Canada,” Young said.

The T-Star concludes:

Big oil has spent tens of millions of dollars in advertisements and public relations gimmicks to convince Canadians and Americans of the unambiguous merits of the oilsands. This has been done in part to pressure the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project. Whatever positive effect this expensive PR effort has yielded, Neil Young could wipe out in an afternoon of inspired song writing.

The message to Big Oil should be clear. When an angry Neil Young shows up on your doorstep, don’t dismiss him the way you do all your other critics. Give him the respect he deserves and consider his views carefully, lest he train his formidable lyrical and melodic arsenal on you.

Read more :: The Toronto Star, Feb 9, 2014 “Message to the oilpatch: beware Neil Young”.

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[1] Two Shout Outs, 01.28.14, From The Passenger. A summary can be found *here*. The Passenger is of LincVolt Chronicle fame.

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Was it worth the 15 minutes of fame?

imagesAn insightful blog posting by Angelina Pratt –  a beneficiary of Neil Young’s 2014 Canadian tour and member of the First Nation Athabasca Chipewyan.

She has mixed feelings about everything that happened with Neil and the tribe and publicity and treaties and the anti-oil message. She expresses herself in a way that brings new perspective.

She writes: “The title of the benefit concert series was ‘Honouring the Treaties,’ although the organizers ought to have titled it ‘Canada’s Hiroshima’ because our Treaty was not the main focus. There was no real conversation on the Treaty, certainly not in any meaningful way, because the emphasis was placed on what Neil was saying.”

“However, Neil didn’t seem to know enough about the Treaty to speak on this subject, so he talked about what he knew, and his message was overwhelmingly anti-oil and anti-industry. Even our Chief deferred to Neil.  Like the large wooden Indian that occupied Neil’s stage, our Chief, who was on stage for all of the pre-concert press conferences was virtually silent. It appeared to those of us on the sideline that it continues to be acceptable to allow well intended non-natives speak for a Chief, even in the 21st century.”

 “Neil pulled no punches at his first press conference at Massey Hall, in Toronto, Ontario, where he repeated his earlier analogy of Fort McMurray’s oil sands industry to that of Hiroshima. The intent was to be provocative and controversial, and it was that and more. “
“I am of very mixed feelings about the tour. On one hand, I am very proud that our Chief was able to gain the attention of and partner with a high profile celebrity to draw attention to our plight and to raise much-needed funds for litigation.  In my immediate family, Neil Young has always been held in high esteem for his musicianship and songwriting.  Last Christmas, long before Neil became involved with our First Nation, I bought Hubby a very expensive set of Blu-ray discs that are the first instalment of Neil’s Archives as well as Neil’s book Waging Heavy Peace.”

“On the other hand, I also feel cheated and duped. I feel that the response to Neil’s celebrity and his flamboyant rhetoric overrode our First Nation’s interests and the balanced message our Chief started out expressing. Clearly, the entire tour was on his terms, or at least the media coverage of the tour gave that strong impression. One of the organizers admitted as much, that it was Neil who decided who was on stage with them when an appeal was made to include Dene elders at the press conference.  When I recommended that the message be clarified and moved to a more balanced one, away from the virulent anti-oil and anti-industry position, I was told that Neil’s publicists and the inner group didn’t want to appear they were backing down.  At that point, it became clear that the tour ostensibly about Treaties, was really about anti-oil at all costs.”

The blogger states  her intent is to stay true to her core being.

“What this means to me is to stand in integrity,” she said.

Read the entire blog post at:

http://thedestinywithin.blogspot.ca/2014/01/was-it-worth-15-minutes-of-fame.html?m=1

 

 

Prominent Canadian Artists and Scientists Sign On to Stand with ACFN

Fort-McMurray_Alberta_oilsands

neil-young_honour-the-treaties

Prominent Canadian Artists and Scientists Sign On to Stand With Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation In Oilsands Expansion Fight

Support Comes Hours After Wildly Successful Neil Young Fundraising Concert Series Nets In Excess of $500,000

CALGARY, ALBERTA–(Marketwired – Jan 20, 2014) – Not even a full day after Neil Young’s incredibly successful “Honour the Treaties” Tour, which raised more than half a million dollars to help the Athabasca Chipewyan challenge further tar sands encroachment within their traditional homelands, a noted group of Canadian authors, musicians, and climate scientists released a letter of support to the campaign, noting “the time has come for Canada to decide if we want a future where First Nations rights and title are honoured, agreements with other countries to protect the climate are honoured, and our laws are not written by powerful oil companies.”

The letter was signed by more than 20 notable Canadians, including actor Neve Campbell, writers Joseph Boyden and Michael Ondaatje, dancer and member of the Order of Canada Margi Gillis and climate scientist Dr. Danny Harvey.

“I applaud Neil Young’s efforts to raise awareness of these critical issues. Further expansion of tar sands operations is simply incompatible with our climate obligations and moral responsibilities,” said climate scientist Dr. Danny Harvey.

Young’s tour was designed to draw international attention to the Canadian government’s failure to respect treaties made with First Nations, and to highlight the growing environmental impacts in Alberta from oil sands development. The tour sparked a national conversation that featured Prime Minister Stephen Harper and oil executives criticizing Young but ignoring the issues he raised about the consequences of violating Treaty rights in the pursuit to further exploit the oil sands.

The tour has now raised $500,000 for the Athabasca Chipewyan legal challenges.

“The Federal Government’s continued approval of new tar sands mines such as Shell’s Jackpine mine despite the devastating environmental impacts and inadequate consultation with First Nations is insulting and unlawful. We are encouraged and grateful for all the support we are receiving from across Canada. This is just the beginning,” said Chief Allan Adam of the ACFN.
It is clear that First Nations bear the brunt of environmental impacts from oil sands development. For parts of the year 80% of the traditional territory of the ACFN and Mikisew Cree is inaccessible due to oil sands development and studies show 30% increase in cancer rates of the residents of Fort Chipewyan. Further south, the Beaver Lake Cree First Nations claim 20,000 treaty violations.

The impacts to climate change from oil sands development are striking. Greenhouse gas emissions from Canada’s oil sands now exceed the total emissions from 85 countries and are rising. More oil sands growth would make it impossible for Canada to meet its goal of a 17% reduction of carbon pollution from 2005 levels by 2020, meaning that Canada would not meet its international obligations to reduce emissions.

ACFN will use the funds from the concerts and crowd-sourced funds for their legal defense to protect and preserve their homelands north of Fort McMurray. The ACFN recognizes the need for economic development however there is simply a need for true balance and respect of environmental, Treaty and Aboriginal rights in the pursuit of these goals. In 2014, ACFN will likely participate in two hearings – for the Shell Pierre River mine and for the Teck Resources Frontier Mine — and continue their challenge of both the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan and the Jackpine mine decision.

Full text of the open letter:

On his Honour the Treaties tour, Neil Young is doing what poets do – forcing us to examine ourselves. This is hard enough on a personal level and it can be even more difficult when we are being asked to examine the direction in which our country is headed.

The time has come for Canada to decide if we want a future where First Nations rights and title are honoured, agreements with other countries to protect the climate are honoured, and our laws are not written by powerful oil companies. Or not.

Neil’s tour has triggered the Prime Minister’s Office and oil company executives. They have come out swinging because they know that this is a hard conversation and they might lose. But that should not stop the conversation from happening.

Instead of focusing on Neil Young’s celebrity, Prime Minister Harper should inform Canadians how he plans to honour the treaties with First Nations. This means ensuring the water, land, air, and climate are protected so the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations and other First Nations communities be able to hunt, fish, gather plants and live off the land. Canada signed a treaty with them 114 years ago, and this must be honoured.

The world is watching as we decide who we will become. Will we disregard the treaties we have with First Nations? Will we continue to allow oil companies to persuade our government to gut laws, silence scientists, and disassemble civil society in order to allow reckless expansion of the oil sands?

We are proud to stand with Neil Young as he challenges us all to think about these larger, more profound and humane questions.

Now is the time for leadership and to honour promises that we have made, not personal attacks.

Michael Ondaatje, author, Officer of the Order of Canada
Margi Gillis, dancer, Member of the Order of Canada
Clayton Ruby, lawyer, Member of the Order of Canada
Dr. David Suzuki, scientist, Companion of the Order of Canada
Dr. David Schindler, scientist, Officer of the Order of Canada
Stephen Lewis, Companion of the Order of Canada
Joseph Boyden, author
Gord Downie, musician
Sarah Harmer, musician
Naomi Klein, author
Dr. John Stone, scientist
Tzeporah Berman, author
Amanda Boyden, author
Neve Campbell, actor
Wade Davis, author
Dr. Danny Harvey, climate scientist
J.B. MacKinnon, author
Dan Managan, musician
Sid Marty, author
Andrew Nikiforuk, author
Rick Smith, author
John Valliant, author
Ronald Wright, author

Additional resources:

  • http://thefirelightgroup.com/projects/as-long-as-the-rivers-flow-athabasca-river-knowledge-use-and-change/
  • http://www.ualberta.ca/~avnish/rls-2009-02-06-fort-chipewyan-study.pdf
  • http://www.beaverlakecreenation.ca/upload/documents/statementofclaim.pdf
  • http://www.ec.gc.ca/Publications/253AE6E6-5E73-4AFC-81B7-9CF440D5D2C5/793-Canada%27s-Emissions-Trends-2012_e_01.pdf
  • http://ec.gc.ca/indicateurs-indicators/default.asp?lang=en&n=F60DB708

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Please donate to help the First Nation's battle 
against the Alberta tar sands..
http://www.honourtheacfn.ca/

Neil’s letter to the editor

Neil Young replies to the Globe’s pipeline column:

Neil Young replies

Gary Mason, in his column Complicated, Like Neil Young Himself (Jan. 17) writes that I got some facts wrong about where production from the oil sands goes.

To put this in context, we were discussing pipelines. If pipelines are completed through the U.S. and Canada, the pipeline through Western Canada would send oil directly to China. The Keystone XL pipeline through the U.S. and Canada would serve oil to China and other world markets.

Both pipelines would necessitate great expansion of Alberta’s tar sands, destroying the homeland of the First Nations guaranteed under treaties and creating CO2 emissions most of the world’s scientists agree would practically guarantee a temperature rise on Earth of 2 degrees. That increase would cause catastrophic damage to the ecosystem.

First Nation treaties are legal agreements that would prevent this world environmental catastrophe. That is why we say honour the treaties.

Mr. Mason contends most Canadians have no choice “but to drive around in clunkers fuelled by gasoline. They don’t have a rock star’s bank account.”

I was making the point that there are better ways to fuel the future. My vehicle runs on biomass, a fuel the federal government has identified as a great future fuel. I travelled to the Alberta tar sands from the West Coast and then went on to Washington using that fuel in my electric car’s generator to make the point.

Mr. Mason may be right when he says that per day, the CO2 coming from the tar sands is half the CO2 emitted from every car in Canada. I don’t think that’s anything to be proud of. I don’t think the world’s scientists do either.

Neil Young, Regina.

Read more at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/letters/jan-20-neil-young-replies-to-the-globes-pipeline-column/article16404188/#dashboard/follows/

Honor the Treaties: Neil Young speech on video

neil-young_honour-the-treaties

From last year, Neil Young gives an angry speech in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations and other communities live at the front lines of the largest industrial project on earth. Much of ACFN’s traditional territories are home to tar sands rich deposits eyed by industry for exploitation.

Neil Young has visited our territory and seen the impacts of the tar sands first hand. That is why he has partnered with ACFN to raise money for the legal challenge of tar sands expansion and environmental destruction.

In the “Honor the Treaty” concert series this January, Neil Young and Diana Krall will perform live in Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, and Calgary. 100% of all proceeds will go to ACFN.

| BNB articles on oil sands, tar sands |

| Follow the Canadian denial on BNB | Honour The Treaties articles |

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Random Quote

The appeal of Neil Young has always been mysterious.
by Hua Hsu, Slate.

Neil Young on Tour

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