Video: Neil Young condemns oil sands developments, comparing their effects to Hiroshima

One of the country's greatest singer-songwriters says Canada is "trading integrity for money" with its rampant exploitation of the Alberta tar sands.

Neil Young compared what's happening in the area to "Hiroshima" in terms of its devastation.

"The name Fort Mac stands for disease that these First Nations people are getting, the pollution, everything that's happening there," Young said at a news conference in Toronto today.

The Toronto-born musician also called the Conservative government "a very poor imitation of the George Bush administration in the United States".

"It's an embarrassment to many Canadians," Young declared.

He called the situation a "devastating environmental catastrophe", which is providing money to some people over the next few years. But he warned that the industry will wreak havoc on future generations.

"The amount of CO2 coming out of the tar-sands industrial sites is equal to every car in Canada every day," he added. "It's like two cars on the road for every one. That's what's happening there. That's not the way to end global warming."

Then he took a swipe at federal leaders' refusal to pay attention to science, calling the government "out of control".

He also accused Canada of breaking its promises with First Nations people.

"Believe me, these people are not going to sit back and let Canada, modern Canada, roll over them," Young said. "They're not saying it, but they're feeling it. And you can't do this. Canada can't just walk over everyone."

Young, the son of a former sports reporter, described how he visited Fort McMurray and spent time with First Nations people in the area.

He referred to studies indicating that aboriginal people living there had a cancer rate 30 percent higher than the norm. Young said that this could be attributed to the fossil-fuel industry.

He also mentioned driving around the tar sands in his electric car, "experiencing this unbelievable smell and toxicity in my throat".

"My eyes were burning," he related. "That started 25 miles away from the tar sands when I was in Fort Mac and got more intense."

His son, who has cerebral palsy, was wearing a mask to protect himself, Young added.

"A lot of people were working, hard-working people, who I respect," he said.

Young said he's ready to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to hear what he has to say.

Organizers of the news conference left empty chairs on the stage for Conservative cabinet ministers, who didn't show up for the event.

Comments (13) Add New Comment
Lawrence Hearn
The most revealing thing about Harper's Conservative Party is the first syllable. It's all about the con, manipulating people through fear, greed and prejudice. And don't be fooled by the Liberal Party (as so many have in the past). It's a corporate party serving the same masters as Harper's gang. As we know in BC there is nothing liberal about the Liberal Party.
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Avi Lang
Thank you Mr. Neil Young for you the great music you have composed and shared with us. Thank you for your courage and integrity to speak up against the oil industry/government about the damage that they causing to mother nature and its people.

keep it up Mr. Young.

Thank you

Avi
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ehrendog
Too many drugs ovet the last 50 years.His brain is cooked as he drives to the protest rally's.
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goneil
It's 'rallies' you moron, not 'rally's'.

Neil Young makes some very heartfelt comments in this video. He seems very passionate about this cause, and if he somehow convinces more Canadians to learn more about the Tar Sands and their impact on the environment, he has done his job.
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James Blatchford
Wait for it: Harper at the next Conservative fundraiser cranking out 'Sweet Home Athabasca'.
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Sky
i always think of the movie Wall-e when i see/hear ignorant people defend the harper government/oil industry. I think of their fat bodies cruising around while being blinded by corporate propaganda and wanting more of it. They are completely oblivious to the fact that our environment around us is being destroyed as we speak. Except in this version of the store Wall-e will not save your asses when you no longer have clean oxygen to fill your lungs with.
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Mike
"I drove around the Tar sands in my electric Car" hahahhahaha!
at first I though he was going senile, but now i get it he's doing comedy!
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Steve Newton
God bless Neil Young
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Andre Tofino
Where can i return my passport.
Shame

Andre
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Camboni
Once again, an American celebrity comes up to Canada with his entourage and tells us what to do.

Mr. Young. Please go back to your all-white community in California and enjoy your 65 million dollars. We're just fine up here without your propaganda.

Signed;

Canada
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@Camboni
sorry to break the news but he's actually Canadian. More Canadian than you will ever be
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Joe Average
is the air any better in Los Angeles?
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Joe Average
maybe listen to real canadians maybe with a little education instead of a hasbeen burnout rust never sleeps ooo how profound
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