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Prominent Canadians Join Neil Young's Call: Honor the Treaties, Stop the Tar Sands

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page, Canada News page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

A group of prominent Canadians has added support to Neil Young's challenge to Canada's tar sands exploitation and to the country's disregard for First Nations treaties.

In an open letter issued Monday, the musicians, authors and scientists say the Canadian rocker's campaign has raised questions the government should be forced to answer about whether it will have laws "written by powerful oil companies" or be a nation that respects the environment and the treaties it signed over 100 years ago.

Among the signatories are authors Naomi Klein and Michael Ondaatje, scientist David Suzuki and actor Neve Campbell.

Young's "Honour the Treaties" tour, which just wrapped up, raised $500,000 to help the Athabasca Chipewyan legal challenges to the tar sands industry, which they say has brought "devastating environmental impacts" to their land.

"The Federal Government's continued approval of new tar sands mines such as Shell's Jackpine mine despite the devastating environmental impacts and inadequate consultation with First Nations is insulting and unlawful. We are encouraged and grateful for all the support we are receiving from across Canada. This is just the beginning," said Chief Allan Adam of the ACFN.

Just ahead of the tour's closing, the Athabasca Chipweyan First Nations (ACFN) held a teach-in to explain why they need to raise the legal funds, and also explain how their fight is a fight for all of us.

"If you breathe air and drink water, this is about you," Crystal Lameman told the teach-in audience.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper responded to Young's criticisms during his tour by saying that "the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day."     

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