Neil Young Oilsands Remarks Unpopular With Albertans: Poll

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Neil Young's controversial remarks about the Alberta oilsands sparked much debate across the country, but a new poll has found most Albertans don't necessarily agree with his analysis. | AP

Neil Young's controversial remarks about the Alberta oilsands sparked much debate across the country, but a new poll has found most Albertans don't necessarily agree with his analysis.

In an online survey conducted by Vancouver-based Insights West, 83 per cent of Albertans who responded said they believe the oilsands have been beneficial to the province.

Additionally, 77 per cent said they believe the oilsands benefit all Canadians and 60 per cent said they benefit First Nations.

Two in three Albertans also believe companies operating in the oilsands pay attention to and follow environmental laws and regulations.

However, the poll also found 48 per cent of Albertans think the oilsands are detrimental to the province's ecosystems and two in five think the oilsands have an affect on the health of Albertans living in nearby communities.

“The level of awareness for the Neil Young controversy in Alberta is very high,” said pollster Mario Canseco, adding that almost eight in 10 Albertans had heard about Young's remarks, which referred to the area near Fort McMurray as "a wasteland."

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Two-thirds of those surveyed said they disagree with Young's view that Canada is "trading integrity of money" by continuing oilsands operations.

And six in 10 Albertans disagree that the government is "plundering the natural resources" of the area and breaking treaties with First Nations.

However, one-third of Albertans tended to agree with Young's view that Canadian leaders are "hypocritical" and that the money made is "all going to China, it's not for Canada...it belongs to the oil companies."

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Young made headlines earlier this year on his four-stop, cross-country tour designed to raise awareness about environmental concerns and treaty rights near the Alberta oil patch.

He compared oilsands mining projects near Fort McMurray to the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima in 1945 and said Alberta could end up looking "like the moon" if land isn't preserved.

Following the tour, Young called the tour "a great success," announcing it had surpassed the $75,000 fundraising goal.

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