NEWS

Neil Young kicks off Canadian Honour the Treaties tour

01/10/2014 02:05 EST | Updated 03/12/2014 05:59 EDT
Neil Young's first stop on on his Honour the Treaties concert tour is Massey Hall in Toronto, on January 12.

All of the proceeds from ticket sales for all four tour dates will go to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's legal defence fund to fight the oilsands.

The tour, including dates in Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary, is almost completely sold out — but not everyone is excited.

Lionel Lepine has front row tickets to Young's show in Regina.

He's an oilsands machine operator turned activist.

"No musician would do something like this for us, but he sees that this is causing a big problem," Lepine said.

Last year, Neil Young visited Fort McMurray and compared the oilsands city to Hiroshima.

"It's a good comparison when you look at industry," Lepine said. "And what all the companies have done so far — they call it the smell of money, but I call it the smell of death.”

Not everyone agrees.

A Fort McMurray radio station banned Young's music from the airwaves after the rock legend made those comments. Chris Byrne is the music director with Rock 97.9.

"He equated the town I live in to a place to a disaster where a bomb dropped," Byrne said.

Byrne said the ban will end if Young specifies he meant the oilsands, not the town of Fort McMurray. 

Byrne said that he's not against the tour but thinks it is hypocritical for people to attend the benefit concert in cities like Calgary that are dependent on the oil and gas industry.

David Suzuki and other activists are holding a press conference at Young's sold out show at Massey Hall this Sunday.

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