Last September, I wrote about rocker Neil Young’s bizarre, factually challenged — and slanderous — criticisms of Canada’s oil sands.
For instance, Young compared resource town Fort McMurray to Hiroshima. This is kind of unfair to Fort McMurray, which, while verdant and pleasant, has nowhere near as many skyscrapers and neon signs as that Japanese city.
Young made those and other foolish remarks while traveling across Canada in his $1-million Volt/Lincoln Continental hybrid.
He caught a lot of well-deserved flak at the time, which makes it all the more incredible that he was just at it again.
This time, he used a Canadian concert tour as his vehicle for his misinformation campaign.
Young’s “Honor the Treaties” tour features performances by the singer-songwriter, interspersed with buzz-killing on-stage conversations with “First Nations leaders” who claim “Turtle Island” — their name for Canada — is stealing oil and gas from their lands.
Predictably, Young’s gallivanting got millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity from the country’s liberal media, especially from state broadcaster CBC.
That’s why new group called NeilYoungLies.ca has launched, dedicated to setting the record straight.
[Disclosure: I know some of the people working for the organization -- Canada's "right wing conspiracy" isn't so vast.]
There’s lots to learn at NeilYoungLies.ca. Here’s a sample:
“Neil Young has a monstrous tour bus. And, when he had his Canadian concerts, he had five such buses, all burning diesel, all idling while the concert was on.”
“Neil Young has his sprawling estate where an Indian tribe was killed off. California never signed any treaties with its Indians. They just pushed them away and took the land. Why doesn’t Neil honour the Indians killed in his own backyard?”
“Neil Young’s ‘Lincvolt’ claims to be environmentally sound” but it actually requires a team of chase vehicles full of mechanics to follow it around, in case it breaks down (which it does a lot — when it isn’t catching on fire, causing about $1-million in damages.)
Here’s the New York Times (!):
But [Neil Young's] own life has been one of spectacular excess, materialism, and hedonism. From his 1,500-acre estate, to his two “other” homes, to his private-jet lifestyle, there’s no indulgence he hasn’t helped himself to. And why not — his estimated net worth is $65 million. He deserves to live large, doesn’t he? It’s us, the little people, who don’t.
“I’m not here to sell things. That’s what other people do, I’m creating them.”
Maybe the criticism is starting to sting. As Ezra Levant notes, during the final stop on his tour, Young seemed to rein himself in somewhat:
All week, he had been comparing the oilsands to Hiroshima, claiming it caused cancer, that there was no reclamation of the land afterwards, that it caused pollution in faraway China, etc.. But then on Sunday, he said he was fine with all of it — he could actually support the expansion of the oilsands — if “the First Nations treaties (are) honoured.”
Huh? So all that Hiroshima talk was just a bargaining chip to get some legal tinkering?
Young comes across as cynical, stupid or both.
So why does this matter to Americans?
Well, Canada wants to get our relatively clean, ethical oil to our friends south of the border, and pipelines are the best way to do that. Campaigns like Young’s are speed bumps on the road to progress and prosperity for all of us, with the added bonus of helping Americans stop buying oil from countries that want to kill them.
Plus, many of Young’s friends in the “green” movement are based in the U.S., but they’re helping fund these and other campaigns.
In other words, American lobby groups like the Tides Foundation are interfering with another nation’s sovereignty, including our decisions about our laws, regulations, treaties and resource development.
Should that even be legal?