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PostPosted: January 13th, 2014, 8:12 am 
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...this morning on Q sometime after ten. There are often some great interviews here, could be worth a listen.

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PostPosted: January 13th, 2014, 2:36 pm 
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http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/01/12/neil-youngs-misguided-assault-on-alberta-oil-sands/

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Peter Foster: Neil Young’s misguided assault on Alberta oil sands doing a disservice to natives
Republish Reprint

Peter Foster | January 12, 2014 9:55 PM ET
More from Peter Foster

Neil Young performs during the "Honour the Treaties" tour, a series benefit concerts being held to raise money for legal fight against the expansion of the Athabasca oilsands in northern Alberta in Toronto, Sunday Jan. 12, 2014.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark BlinchNeil Young performs during the "Honour the Treaties" tour, a series benefit concerts being held to raise money for legal fight against the expansion of the Athabasca oilsands in northern Alberta in Toronto, Sunday Jan. 12, 2014.

The first performance by environmental supergroup Suzuki Weaver and Young — at Massey Hall in Toronto on Sunday afternoon — was more entertaining, and thought-provoking, than anticipated.

The venue was to hold a concert by rock legend Neil Young in the evening as part of his four-city Canadian “Honour The Treaties” tour. All proceeds are to go to a legal fund for the people of Fort Chipewyan, which is 220 kilometers north of Fort McMurray. Mr. Young is hardly the first celebrity to join the pack assault on the oil sands, and to pick the downstream community of Fort Chipewyan as a focal point, although he seems to have been the first to suggest that the development looks like Hiroshima. On Sunday he opined that such a comparison was “mellow.”

His backup group of David Suzuki, as “moderator,” and climate modeller turned Green party BC MLA Andrew Weaver were there to amplify Mr. Young’s castigation of greed, corporations and the Harper government. But the pregnant question raised by the conference was the extent to which native people might be more victimized by their “friends” than their alleged enemies.

David Suzuki, right, speaks in front of climate scientist Andrew Weaver, left, indigenous rights advocate Eriel Derenger, second left, Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam, centre, and singer Neil Young, during a press conference for the "Honour the Treaties" tour, a series benefit concerts being held to raise money for legal fight against the expansion of the Athabasca oilsands in northern Alberta and other similar projects, in Toronto, Sunday Jan. 12, 2014.

The afternoon’s standout performance came from Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) chief Allan Adam, a tough-looking but earnest man who, while obviously frustrated, revealed the complexities of his situation. Chief Adam was a model of credibility on a stage full of posturing by those who seemed more intent on using the problems of Fort Chipewyan than solving them. (To make clear who the real villains were, the stage had three empty chairs bearing the names of Leona Aglukkaq, Joe Oliver and Bernard Valcourt, respectively the federal ministers of the environment, natural resources and aboriginal affairs.)

Chief Adam suggested — according to script — that oil sands development was like a “runaway train,” but he also acknowledged that his mandate, when he took over as chief six years ago, was to “cash in” on the oil sands boom. He said that his life became a good deal more complicated due to a health study that claimed to find alarmingly elevated cancer levels among his people. While he did not elaborate on the study and its aftermath, it is in fact central to the enormous pressure that has been put on Fort Chip by environmental activists since.

Empty chairs with name tags for Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt, who were said to be invited to attend, are seen at the press conference for the "Honour the Treaties" tour, a series benefit concerts being held to raise money for legal fight against the expansion of the Athabasca oilsands in northern Alberta and other similar projects, in Toronto, Sunday Jan. 12, 2014.

The study to which Chief Adam referred was done by a physician named John O’Connor, who was subsequently sanctioned by the provincial College of Physicians for inaccuracies. The study’s conclusions were also refuted by an expert panel from the Royal Society of Canada, which suggested that anxiety was being caused in Fort Chip by environmental alarmism.

That alarmism had been cranked up further by two studies co-authored by David Schindler, which indicated elevated levels of some toxic compounds in spring runoff around the oil sands. The studies didn’t say that the levels were dangerous, but they were peddled around the world as evidence that those downstream of the oil sands were being recklessly endangered.

Fort Chip’s unwanted fame was ratcheted up another notch when film maker James Cameron visited the place during a fact finding trip to the oil sands (after which he, unusually for a Hollywood celebrity, moderated his view that they represented a “black eye” for Canada.) The sturm und drang surrounding Fort Chip was also the subject of a severely-slanted CBC documentary, Tipping Point, featuring David Suzuki.

On Sunday, Mr. Young inevitably brought up the community’s alleged cancer problems, and Chief Adam spoke movingly of his neighbours’ recent deaths from cancer. The only problem is that these deaths apparently have little or nothing to do with the oil sands.

There are certainly major problems in how governments and industry have mishandled their dealings with aboriginal peoples, and have failed to establish the credibility of their monitoring regimes, but the best hope for those who live in remote communities such as Fort Chip lies in resource development jobs. Indeed, the oil sands are already the largest employer of native people. Chief Adam acknowledged that his community had seventeen companies involved in the oil sands, which were “economically critical.”

This message clashed alarmingly with the policy visions of Mr. Weaver, who appears unfazed by the fact that his climate models have performed so badly in the past two decades (He did not bring this detail up at the press conference). Mr. Weaver proceeded to bash the Harper government on its climate policy and suggested that the route to “clean tech” was clear — but has Mr. Weaver looked at the results of Ontario’s Green Energy Act recently? More relevant, does he think Fort Chip might have a future manufacturing solar panels?

People protest outside of Massey Hall before Neil Young performs during the "Honour the Treaties" tour, a series of benefit concerts being held to raise money for legal fight against the expansion of the Athabasca oilsands in northern Alberta.

Everybody had really come to listen to Mr. Young, who, dressed in buckskin and a hat, proceeded to spray vitriol and ignorance in all directions. Fort McMurray, he said, stands for disease and pollution. It’s all about marketing and big money for big corporations, and the oil’s all going to China anyway. Reclamation is impossible; it would be like turning “the moon into Eden.”

Eriel Deranger, a righteous young spokeswoman for the ACFN, announced that the band had just filed a lawsuit against the federal government and Shell seeking to overturn Ottawa’s recent approval of the Shell-led Jackpine mine, which is more than 100 kilometers from Fort Chip. This was part of a process, she said, of drawing a “line in the sand.” Chief Adam certainly made credible the claim that consultations had been mishandled.

Like Mr. Weaver, Mr. Young concluded that there were alternatives to a “dirty future … a door into the sunshine.”

Again this raised the issue of Fort Chip’s prospects in solar panel assembly, but also of just how concerned the environmental supergroup — and their activist cohorts — really are about Chief Allan Adam and his people.

One thing is certain, Mr. Young’s legal fund will prove a bonanza for lawyers specializing in aboriginal issues, and yet another headache for the Harper government.

National Post

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PostPosted: January 13th, 2014, 3:00 pm 
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I hope mr. Young will remember// a northern man dont need him around anyhow..

Sweet home Alaberta...

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PostPosted: January 13th, 2014, 8:40 pm 
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Neil Young is full of crap. Canada's future economic strength (and global respect for our economic stability btw) is based on development of the oil sands. Of course there are environmental concerns - that goes without saying. But let's promote ways for addressing those challenges while reaping the benefits ($$$) that we as Canadian citizens all need. Where else is the money to run the country going to come from.


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PostPosted: January 14th, 2014, 5:31 pm 
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Stability?

You need to read up on "staples" theory.

Building an economy based on upon extracting resources at a rate dictated by market forces has lead time and again to boom and bust.

Harper emasculated so many of the NGO's when he waived the big stick by threatening to take away charitable status if they so much as whispered anything political it is left to old hippies like Young to raise their head above the parapet.

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PostPosted: January 14th, 2014, 7:27 pm 
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ice-breaker wrote:


That article is an embarrassment. It's really hard to say where to begin. If you have a beef with the guy, go after him for his own statements and positions (most legitimately on objective grounds). Everyone speaks for themselves (Neil Young included). Chief Adam as well. Pretending others are somehow better protectors of "native" interests (including perhaps the author) is really repugnant. We are all entitled to our own perspective and point of view, and expressing it should not be a concern or somehow dismissed or objectified on the basis of race or ethnicity (white, native, or otherwise).


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PostPosted: January 19th, 2014, 5:26 pm 
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I have no insights into this issue beyond those of a casual media consumer, but it occurs to me that there are perhaps two separate issues here that should maybe be addressed as such rather than mashing them together and packaging them as one contentious issue.

The one is: Reliance on petro-power/products is a toxic habit that should be abandoned as such as quickly as a viable replacement can be identified for the sake of the environment and the human race. But that is unlikely to be anytime soon, because there is just too much money to be made for too many people, including governments.

The other is: Integrity as a nation of individual people, including those we elect as our government, means living up to what commitments we have made in good faith, IE treaties. If this tar sands issue is at a point where treaties are being violated, we need then to do the right thing, and either stop violating them, or re-negotiate them.

Remember when gold was discovered in the Black Hills? Treaties were in place with the Sioux which specified that the US would refrain from occupancy of that area, but because so much potential for money suddenly arose, the government turned a blind-eye to the violations it was facilitating, and when the Sioux finally defended their land, the US declared war on them, and ultimately confiscated the land and built the Mount Rushmore monument on native holy ground, like one dog will urinate over that of a previous dog.

IF this Fort Chip issue is a kindler/gentler version of that dynamic, then I oppose the government initiative on moral grounds, economy be damned.

A very complex issue, and I certainly cannot identify the best way through it, except to say that integrity holds more value than oil, or it should.

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PostPosted: January 19th, 2014, 8:23 pm 
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JF wrote:
Neil Young is full of crap. Canada's future economic strength (and global respect for our economic stability btw) is based on development of the oil sands. Of course there are environmental concerns - that goes without saying. But let's promote ways for addressing those challenges while reaping the benefits ($$$) that we as Canadian citizens all need. Where else is the money to run the country going to come from.


Nothing like building our strength on non renewable resources.

Whats your solution for running the Country when the oil dries up? Oh wait...that's up to our grandchildren to decide... .

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PostPosted: January 19th, 2014, 8:54 pm 
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I see Jim Cuddy ( Blue Rodeo) is now on board with Neil

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PostPosted: January 20th, 2014, 12:00 am 
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There is absolutely no argument that "reliance on petro-power/products should be abandoned as quickly as a viable replacement can be identified for the sake of the environment and the human race." Until that time however, and until there are some reasonable alternatives for economic stimulus, I don't see much choice.

We are all probably a little more than guilty of abusing the oil based products to some extent. And I don't know about the rest of you but I know a number of families that lost their jobs and homes in Ontario since 2007 and are now dependent on the Alberta oil industry for their livelihood. They don't have the luxury of having their integrity paying their bills - they need the cash to survive.


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PostPosted: January 20th, 2014, 9:32 am 
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Sam82 wrote:
Whats your solution for running the Country when the oil dries up? Oh wait...that's up to our grandchildren to decide... .

I don't see where this is a relevant issue. The question is whether Canada wants to ship jobs to US, send oil to tidewater and overseas, raise the price of gasoline domestically, minimize legally binding treaty obligations, and refine more products in jurisdictions that don't have very good emissions or pollution rules. If so, then yes, let's build lots more of these pipelines to satisfy demand that is rising in every other part of the world but North America (and change rules in US for exporting oil).

Or we could dig the stuff out ourselves, keep production in line with local demand (lowering the cost of oil domestically vis a vis international markets), and ensure best practices, low carbon emissions, and highest pollution standard by doing so.

Neither approach involves going without, or otherwise burdening consumers with shortfalls in supply. In fact, the former (involving pipelines to tidewater) involves higher prices for gasoline (and would be a burden on consumers). The only reason for doing so would be to provide open hand to oil multinationals and allow them greater profits than merely meeting local domestic consumer demand. Aren't there already enough foreign companies operating in the oil sands? Why can't Canadians do this work on their own? The benefit to local jobs is negligible in comparison to windfalls to developers (and shareholders). And a reasonable question pertains ... why should pollution come only to the major benefit of investors and not to consumers as well (and to aboriginal owners of the land). I really don't understand this (and Neil Young appears to have questions about this too).

For a better summary of the Neil Young comments, I would look here:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-1 ... -says.html

Story is balanced, isn't infused with odd racial thinking, and gives fair representation to several sides of the debate (not just one pro-development side).


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PostPosted: January 20th, 2014, 12:16 pm 
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Rex always has something to say:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DcnyBdl ... pp=desktop


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PostPosted: January 20th, 2014, 6:44 pm 
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JF, I linked integrity with honouring our collective word in treaties, and made no suggestion at all that people working in the petro industry to feed their children are lacking in it.

I don't see integrity as a luxury in any context, ever.

As I said earlier, reliance on oil and integrity in abiding by treaties are two issues that many people want to treat as one.

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PostPosted: January 20th, 2014, 6:45 pm 
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JF wrote:

I'm not sure the comparison is all that farfetched.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90vlsUjjp18

The main difference appears to be that Hiroshima was rather quickly rebuilt and repopulated.


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PostPosted: January 21st, 2014, 12:16 am 
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Sorry guyfawkes. I read your last sentence as a summary of the entire situation/issue and not specific to treaties. I stand corrected as I reread your initial post. And it is indeed a very complex issue.

And Idyl, I will side with Rex that the comparison the Hiroshima was inappropriate.


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