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A few thoughts on tar sands, Neil Young and government officials

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Neil Young's support of the Athabaskan Chipewyan's fundraising efforts towards their tar sand court case gained a truckload of press attention the other week. Every national and daily paper reaped the benefits of a hot topic and it ignited a national conversation about energy resources in Canada. I’m grateful for that. Not just to Neil though.

The press seemed to miss that the leaders of the debate are the Athabaskan Chipewyan people and countless other First Nations that are launching court cases to protect our land and drinking water for all of us.

Neil was just lending a helping hand.

Personal Beef Content Warning: (Why is it that celebs get flack for supporting causes, but no one is freaking out about China's reach into Canada with the China-Canada trade deal, FIPPA, that gives China the right to sue Canada if citizen interests are put ahead of corporate profits? Yes, this has happened with NAFTA. China is already investing in ownership of the tar sands and all those jobs for hardworking Alberta people could easily disappear to a lower cost Chinese labour force. And it's a small Van Island First Nations band going to court to halt FIPPA. We should be slick with oil money by now and have free University and no provincial debt. Like Norway.)

Back to Neil. 

Canadians love celebrities just like any American. But gosh darn it, they can't be telling us maple leaf waving Canucks what to do. If we don't want to be creative and research and promote alternative energy sources and protect our groundwater, but want to dig a huge pit that can be seen from the moon and suck up every last bit of oil and gas across the Great White North and send it to China, ignore science data about climate change and turn deaf ears to those pesky ignorant Indians always bitching about land claims and contaminated water, that's our Canadian right.

Neil isn't qualified to speak his mind.

Wait a minute. What? Our politicians often aren't qualified either? Really? I thought they'd have to have a University degree and work experience to represent the Ministry that they are assigned to work in, like a Regular Job.

Keep on Balking In the Free World...

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Qualified
23/01/14
From The Passenger (not Neil Young) on Neil Young's Facebook Page

Today’s topic is credibility. Something government officials at both the provincial and federal levels have been wielding like a weapon over the past week or so. Their rationale is this: musicians and celebrities should stick to what they know -- music and entertainment. The Driver, they say, is not qualified to speak on the environmental catastrophe they are so invested in. That’s what they say.

Let’s do a little role call of some of the people that Stephen Harper’s government feels are qualified to speak on the topic. People who, by virtue of being elected to public positions, have apparently become instant experts in a variety of topics.

Joe Oliver: Minister Of Natural Resources. The man who stated proudly that at least Alberta oil is cleaner (somewhat) than coal. Joe was an investment banker. He earned an MBA and scurried straight into the wonderful world of high finance. There is no evidence of any studies or experience in the world of natural resources on Joe’s resume.

Leona Aglukkak: Minister Of The Environment. She’s a career politician with no record of environmental studies or any studies for that matter at the post secondary level.

Peter Kent: former Minister Of The Environment. Peter was at the controls for the disembowelment of Canada’s Environmental regulatory systems. He was a tv news anchorman for Global News. His post secondary record is unknown He did not, it appears, undertake any environmental studies before he became the Minister responsible for that portfolio.

Stephen Harper: Prime Minister. He is a University of Toronto dropout who worked in the mailroom at Imperial Oil before becoming a founding member of the extreme right wing Reform Party. He received a Masters degree in economics from the University Of Calgary and later helped write the right wing manifesto, The Alberta Agenda. But he didn’t study the environment and he didn’t study Native affairs. However he might have taken piano lessons and he does play in a band called Herringbone. We will defend, to our last breath, his right to do so. Music heals.

Check it out here.

Onward

The Passenger

When not working as Managing Editor for the Watershed Sentinel, western Canada's environmental news magazine, Susan MacVittie often rocks out to Neil Young and Crazy Horse on Vancouver Island, BC.

The piece originally appeared on Watershed Sentinel and is reprinted with permission.

Photo: Honour the Treaties

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