A controversial pro-oil pressure group has launched an attack site against Neil Young following the rocker’s recent tour criticizing the oilsands.
EthicalOil.org, a political group founded by Alykhan Velshi, an advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has launched NeilYoungLies.ca, which attempts to debunk Young’s comments on the oilsands during his recent “Honour the Treaties” tour, which wrapped up Sunday in Calgary.
The site doesn’t miss a beat in tearing down Young, even denying the rocker’s Canadian roots with a reference to Young’s “home state of California.” The website urges visitors to “help us fight back against foreign celebrities and their slander.”
Young was born in Toronto and grew up in Manitoba, but has lived in California since the 1960s.
The website accuses Young of hypocrisy on environmental issues, displaying pictures of Young’s “monstrous” diesel-burning tour bus.
“Neil Young has a massive environmental footprint,” the site says. “He owns a 1,500-acre California estate, plus homes in Florida and Hawaii.”
On a page titled “Who Paid Neil Young To Lie,” the site links Young’s tour to international environmental groups, though some of the links are rather thin, such as a $55,000 payment to Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation by the Tides Foundation.
The site notes that Young’s tour had only one listed sponsor, the Lakota People’s Law Project, which it describes as “the main project of the California-based Romero Institute.”
The Lakota People’s Law Project is a campaign helping South Dakota aboriginals who have had their children taken away by the state.
EthicalOil.org has stirred controversy in the few years it has been campaigning. The group first came to prominence in 2011, when it released a series of ads arguing Canadian oil is “ethical” because buying it doesn’t put money into the pockets of dictators around the world.
The group's founder, Alykhan Velshi, works as director of issues management in the Prime Minister's Office.
Though the campaign is clearly allied with Canada’s conservatives, it often uses liberal and progressive arguments in support of Canadian oil, often pointing out the poor women’s rights records among oil-exporting Middle Eastern countries.
Climate activists like Al Gore often argue that "there is no such thing as ethical oil," given the energy source's emissions and the environmental degradation caused by its extraction.