More than 20 notable Canadians have penned a letter to support musician Neil Young following his concert tour to raise money for a First Nation fighting oilsands expansion in northern Alberta.
The group includes creative and performing artists, authors, scientists, a lawyer, and Order of Canada recipients.
Actor Neve Campbell, Booker-prize-winning author and Officer of the Order of Canada Michael Ondaatje and musician Gord Downie of the rock group The Tragically Hip are among those who have signed the letter.
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It says that Young's tour raised more than $500,000 to help the Athabasca Chipewyan band pay for legal fees to protect its traditional land north of Fort McMurray, Alta.
The letter also says that Canada must decide if it wants to support First Nations rights and protect the environment.
"The time has come for Canada to decide if we want a future where First Nations rights and title are honoured, agreements with other countries to protect the climate are honoured, and our laws are not written by powerful oil companies. Or not."
"Instead of focusing on Neil Young's celebrity, Prime Minister Harper should inform Canadians how he plans to honour the treaties with First Nations," the letter said.
Campbell said in a written statement that while she has always been proud to call Canada her home, "now as a Canadian I feel deeply ashamed to see that our government has allowed the selfish profiteering of powerful oil companies, and blatantly ignored the health, well-being, and lives of our country's First Nations, as well as of the well-being of our world’s climate."
Downie of The Tragically Hip said, "I stand in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations and all Canadians who find themselves with no voice in our present version of democracy, who are trying to come up with the entry fee that gets them a seat at the table where their pollution future is being discussed."
Young played in Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary, and drew fire from politicians and industry over his comments likening the oilsands to Hiroshima.