Neil Young to back fight against oilsands with benefit concerts

Legendary rocker Neil Young is hosting four benefit concerts in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in its fight against oilsands development.

Diana Krall to join rocker in support of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Canadian legendary rocker Neil Young will perform four benefit concerts is support of an Alberta first nations fight against further development in the oilsands. (The Canadian Press)

Legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young is hosting four benefit concerts in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in its fight against further oilsands development.

Proceeds from the concerts, to be held in January in Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary, will be donated to the band's legal defence fund. 

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation says Young has agreed to donate 100 per cent of ticket sales. Tickets go on sale starting Tuesday.

Canadian jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall will also perform on each of the dates.

The First Nation is gearing up for a major legal fight after the federal government approved Shell Canada's Jackpine mine expansion on Friday despite an environmental assessment that said the development will cause irreversible environmental damage.

Shell Canada received the green light from the federal government to expand its 7,500 hectare Jackpine Mine to 13,000 hectares.

Shell said it could bring the Alberta and federal governments an estimated $17 billion in royalties and taxes over its life and create an additional 750 full time jobs. 

But indigenous and environmental groups say the predicted damage to water, land and animals outweighs any profits the addition to the oil sands will yield.  

The benefit concerts have been in the works since August and will be just the start of his band's effort to stop the Jackpine development, said Chief Allan Adam.

"The momentum is going to be growing," he said. "I think there's going to be a great push back from the greater public."

Young made headlines earlier this fall when he blasted the oilsands as a wasteland in the order of Hiroshima.

With files from The Canadian Press

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