by briannacrawley on February 28, 2014 - 2:54pm
The “Honor The Treaties Tour” was a music tour initiated by Neil Young in order to bring awareness across Canada about the Athabasca Oil sands. The tour took place in the fall of 2013 and stopped in four Canadian cities such as Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Toronto. The focus of the tour was to educate the Canadian population about the consequences of proceeding with the Athabasca Oil sands. Neil Young argued that not only would proceeding mean violating treaty number eight, but it also meant that we would be risking the lives of humans and wild life. However, what Young isn’t educating Canadians on is the economic benefits the oil sands have on not only on the Canadian economy but also for Aboriginals.
Neil Young may have been born and raised in Canada, however since receiving his American Green card in 1970 he has lived in the United States of America. Therefore, Neil Young has essentially lost touch with what it means to be “Canadian”. Unlike Young, Canadians live in a cold, frigid environments for 8 months out of 12 a year, meaning that we need the oils coming from The Athabasca oils sands in order to heat our houses and fuel our cars. By young living in the U.S.A for the majority of his life he should recognize the fact that the oil sands in Alberta aren’t the main culprits for the damage done to our planet. Pittsburg alone produces more greenhouses gases, carbon emissions and air pollution than all of Alberta, despite being 0.00023% of the size.
Continuing with the Athabasca oil sand project would provide Canada with so many opportunities. By 2035 it is estimated that the oil sands should produce approximately 905,000 new jobs, with a substantial amount of aboriginal employees. The oil sands are a critical aspect of Canada’s economy improving. In addition, what most people don’t recognize is that Aboriginal communities will also receive a substantial amount of economic improvement from the oil sands. This has been proven by previous oil sand projects where Aboriginal companies and contractors have earned nearly 1.5 billion dollars.
When most people think of the oil sands their first thought is that they’re ruining our planet and consuming a large amount of our water. However, what people don’t realize is that 80-95% of the water used to produce the oils is recycled and meets the water quality requirements; therefore, the water used is 100% safe and healthy to consume. In addition, it is assumed the these oil projects are disrupting Canada’s Boreal forests, however only 0.02 % of all of Canada’s boreal forests have been disrupted by the oil sand mining operations over the past 40 years.
In conclusion, the Athabasca oils sands are constantly viewed in only one perspective. While Neil young may be one person with a very large voice, he needs to inform people of all the facts. While governments may be overlooking certain treaties with the Aboriginals, I believe that if we are able to come up with a respectable decision alongside the Aboriginal people than the oil sands could be the road to an economically secure country.