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Jean Chretien Hints Neil Young Should Stick To Music, Says ‘We’re Not About To Not Need Oil’


Jean Chretien Hints Neil Young Should Stick To Music, Says ‘We’re Not About To Not Need Oil’.

Jean Chretien apparently thinks Neil Young should stick to music.

The former prime minister recently sat down with George Stroumboulopoulos and, in an interview that will air Monday night, he compared the Canadian rock icon weighing in on complex oilsands issues with Chretien suddenly joining the entertainment business.

“He’s a great artist but I would not become a singer tomorrow,” Chretien said. “It will be a disaster.”

While Chretien said Young is entitled to express himself as he sees fit, it’s clear the Liberal legend believes developing the oilsands makes sense.

“I think it’s a resource that has to be eventually developed. And protecting the environment – that’s very important,” he said. “But oil is oil and we still have cars and we’re not about to not need oil. We have oil that God put in the ground in Canada. We have to develop it in a responsible way.”

The former prime minister also suggested that with advancements in technology, he is not put off by the idea of pipelines.

“If we can put a man on the moon, you can get oil out of the ground and put it safely into a pipe,” he said.

Chretien, who also served as minister of Indian affairs and northern development under Pierre Trudeau for “for six years, two months, three days and four hours,” also briefly addressed some concerns expressed by First Nations communities.

“Of course the natives were living there, so they have to be compensated,” Chretien said. “They lived a different way, but the natives don’t live anymore from hunting and trapping. It’s not a way to live anymore. It’s a new reality that they face.”

Young launched a blistering attack on the Harper Conservatives and Alberta’s oilsands this week as part of his “Honour the Treaties” tour to raise funds for a northern Alberta reserve’s fight against oilsands development.

At a press conference in Toronto last Sunday with members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Young accused the Harper government of ignoring science to drive corporate profits.

“Canada is trading integrity for money,” he said. “That’s what’s happening under the current leadership in Canada, which is a very poor imitation of the George Bush administration in the United States and is lagging behind on the world stage. It’s an embarrassment to any Canadians.”

He also said he was “shattered” after visiting a Fort McMurray industrial site, comparing it to the atomic bomb-devastated wreckage of Hiroshima, Japan.

Residents of Fort McMurray responded by posting beautiful pictures from around town to Twitter.

Jason MacDonald, Harper’s top spokesperson, hit back with a press release.

“Even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day,” MacDonald said in a statement. “Our government recognizes the importance of developing resources responsibly and sustainably and we will continue to ensure that Canada’s environmental laws and regulations are rigorous.”

And a pro-oil pressure group with ties to the Harper government launched an attack site, NeilYoungLies.ca, to discredit the musician.

In addition to sparking plenty of debate, Young’s concert series raised more than $550,000 this week for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s legal fund.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who feted Chretien at a tribute dinner this week, also supports oilsands development and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Yet, Trudeau says a lack of sound climate change policies from the Harper government is preventing the project from moving forward.

Chretien’s full interview with Stroumboulopoulos airs Monday, January 27 at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on CBC.

With files from The Canadian Press


2 Comments

  1. My comment:
    Is it a surprise to anyone that a former PM and apparatchik would side with the energy-industrial complex? The State, to which Chretien has been a long-time employee, gets much of its campaign funding from this group of businesses. A handshake here, slap on the back there, a wink over here, and an unmarked brown envelope over there. Regulations softened, environmentalists targeted as eco-terrorists, citizens’ digital communcations collected, and scientists silenced. What more does a totalitarian regime require? It doesn’t matter if Liberal, Conservative, NDP, or Green. These are the musings of one of the parasitic caste in society who is not about to bite the hand…

  2. Secondary comment:
    Your view on this issue depends on the narrative you believe in. Our political/business ‘leaders’ offer one and environmentalists another; the ‘truth’, however, is far more complicated. I offer this one:

    We have exploited a one-time windfall of cheap and easily-accessible energy, sending our human population through the roof. We are caught in a classic overshoot and collapse ecological scenario. The overshoot has happened, it’s just a matter of time for the collapse to occur.

    The-powers-that-be, in their greed and short-sightedness, have been speeding up the train towards the brick wall on the tracks. They are the ‘problem’ as much as the depleting oil fields. They refuse to acknowledge the issue in public and have a real discussion. They attack those who disagree and make them out to be ‘terrorists’. They misinform and pretend everything is fine, just a tweak here and adjustment there and we’ll be back on the road to economic growth (which really just enriches the elite).

    Unfortunately, our fossil fuel addiction is not a problem we can solve with alternate energy or economic growth. There is nothing we can do to adequately replace oil, nothing. That is a pie-in-the-sky fantasy for all but the 1%, who will do what they can to maintain their power and privilege as has been demonstrated throughout history and prehistory. They continue to push the very cause of our dilemma, economic growth. Such growth, however, is impossible on a finite planet. Until we realise this, we’re screwed.

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