Culture

Sweet Home Alberta Don't Need Neil Young Around Anyhow

NeilYoungFH

Who declared 2013 “The Year of the Canadian Singer-Songwriter-Blowhard”?

First it was Joni Mitchell comparing her Saskatchewan home town to the segregated “Deep South,” a comparison with no geographical, demographic or historical basis.

Now Neil Young is the one spouting off:

Neil Young has spent the past few weeks driving cross-country in LincVolt, a 1959 Lincoln Continental that’s powered by electricity and cellulosic ethanol.

Earlier this week, he spoke at a press conference in Washington D.C. with Sens. Harry Reid and Debbie Stabenow.

“I am against the Keystone pipeline in a big way,” Young said in comments posted on his website.

“The fact is, Fort McMurray [Alberta] looks like Hiroshima. Fort McMurray is a wasteland. The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. People are sick. People are dying of cancer because of this.

“All of the First Nations peoples up there are threatened by this. Their food supply is wasted, their treaties are no good. They have the right to live on the land, like they always did, but there’s no land left that they can live on. All the animals are dying.”


Where to start?

Neil Young’s one-of-a-kind electric car cost him — cue up Dr. Evil voice — $1 million.

And of course, petroleum products and by-products played an enormous role in its design, manufacturing and shipment.

More importantly:

Fort McMurray is no 1945-era “Hiroshima.” Even a little bit.

The “Indians up there” are actually employed by Canada’s oil industry in large numbers.

I’d guess a few of them even earn enough money to qualify as our nation’s “one percenters.”

The Fort McMurray “cancer epidemic” was debunked years ago, by no less than the Royal Society of Canada, the Ministry of Health and the Alberta Cancer Board:

One man, a family physician named John O’Connor, who worked in Fort Chipewyan, is singularly responsible for starting the myth about oilsands-caused cancer. An opponent of the oilsands, O’Connor began telling reporters that he was diagnosing alarmingly high rates of a particularly rare form of cancer in the community, wondering aloud if it might be linked to the oilsands. (…)

Dr. O’Connor was eventually caught fabricating his reports—he simply made up cases of cancer that did not exist—and was found guilty by the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons of serious ethical breaches.

You get the picture.

Like so many progressives, Neil Young lives in the past: spreading anachronistic, inaccurate and even insulting (in the case of Hiroshima) historical analogies; touting debunked statistics based upon outright lies; trying to recapture the era when one of his compositions, penned in a fast-burning fury, could become a generation’s anthem almost overnight.

In their classic “answer song” inspired by another one of Young’s crass regional insults, Lynyrd Skynyrd sang:

Well I heard mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ol’ Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don’t need him around anyhow

Can we somehow squeeze the words “Canadian men, women and children” into that last line?