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Idle No More? Neil Young, Ezra Levant, Calgary Herald Spar Over Tour Buses

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NEIL YOUNG
Singer Neil Young speaks during a news conference before the last concert in his "Honour the Treaties" tour in Calgary, Alta. on January 19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh) | CP

Neil Young, Calgary Herald columnists and Sun Media's Ezra Levant are lobbing accusations of hypocrisy at each after the legendary singer's cross-Canada Honour The Treaties tour wrapped up in Calgary on Sunday.

Young held a press conference hours before his concert at Calgary's Jack Singer Concert Hall and was asked if he ever flies on private jets.

"Yes, I do fly private jets," Young said according to the Calgary Herald columnist Licia Corbella. "Sometimes to play my shows I have to use [private jets] to get from one place to another to do my job and be in good enough shape to do my job when I get there."

Corbella took Young to task for that.

"In other words, Neil Young and other hawkers of hypocrisy like him, he chooses his own comforts over his convictions," Corbella wrote. "Actually scrap that. If he actually truly believed that human created CO2 causes catastrophic global warming, he wouldn't even so much as look at a private jet let alone climb aboard one."

From there she also criticized Young for having his tour buses idling outside the concert venue for over an hour. A cook on one of the buses spoke to Corbella, telling the columnist the buses were idling to ensure the equipment inside each bus remained operational. The columnist later wrote Young's facts were "made of mush," claiming his lifestyle is "the very thing that makes Saudi Arabia's bloody oil gush and pressure for Alberta's oilsands to continue to grow."

A second article in the Calgary Herald, this one attacking Al Gore and claiming hypocrisy, reiterated the rocker "left his five buses to idle."

On Monday night, Ezra Levant added to the attacks in his Toronto Sun newspaper column.

"Neil Young ended his Blame Canada tour in a bizarre way," Levant wrote. "At his last anti-oilsands concert in Calgary, he left his five diesel tour buses idling outside throughout the entire concert. They kept burning fuel. 'Bio-diesel,' we're assured, trucked in from the U.S.A., so I guess that’s OK."

This followed an earlier column by Levant headlined "Hypocrite Neil" and a subsequent attack on his Sun News Network show in which he asked viewers "are you sick of Neil Young's lies? Well, I am, and so are my friends at Ethical Oil." Levant then went on to say "He's coming to sneer at us morally, as if he's morally superior...If it was a brilliant, charismatic scholar but he's just a doofus, celebrity, millionaire know-nothing."

Young responded to the accusations via Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday, asking, "Wouldn't it be hypocritical to report a story that you know is incorrect?"


Neil Young
Please try to add facts to back up what you say 'cause that helps both sides. respect 4 u ny




In another Facebook post written by a member of Neil's team nicknamed "The Passenger" argued the stories as taking "muck raking to a new low."

The post said Corbella asked "sophomoric questions about planes and carbon footprints" and then began "sneaking around our buses." It also claimed she texted Sun Media with news the tour bus engines were all idling which prompted a cameraman to arrive on "the scene of the crime."

"When I explained that it was our generators and not our engines he understood completely," the post continued, adding the Sun Media News Live Event truck used "that same system of generation" with Young's generators running on bio-diesel ."The Passenger" claimed Sun News story was "incorrect" as the bus' generators were running, not the engines.

The missive concluded by stating some Calgary media outlets "have been drinking too much of the old bitumen Kool-Aid."

Today, Young took on the Globe and Mail, which had said the singer was incorrect about his statistic that the oilsands emit the same daily CO2 as all of Canada's cars.


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