Some quotes from the debate over Neil Young's anti oilsands concerts

“Canada is trading integrity for money … That’s what’s happening under the current leadership in Canada, which is a very poor imitation of the George Bush administration in the United States and is lagging behind on the world stage. It’s an embarrassment to any Canadians.” — Young on the stage at Toronto’s Massey Hall last Sunday, hours before the first Honour the Treaties concert.

“Even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians every day. Our government recognizes the importance of developing resources responsibly and sustainably and we will continue to ensure that Canada’s environmental laws and regluations are rigorous.” — email from Jason MacDonald, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“I still stand by what I said about Fort Mac and the way it looks. Not because the houses in Fort Mac look like Hiroshima, but because Fort Mac stands for 50 sites, the name Fort Mac stands for diseases that these First Nations people are getting, pollution, everything that’s happening there.” — Young defending earlier statements about Fort McMurray.

“In Hollywood, the land of make-believe, everything is black and white, good and evil. It makes for a very compelling story, but the real world does not work that way… Like a character in a Hollywood movie, oil has been cast as a villain.” — Cenovus Energy president and chief executive Brian Ferguson during a panel discussion at the Canadian Club of Toronto.

“We made a deal with these people. We are breaking our promise. We are killing these people. The blood of these people will be on modern Canada’s hands.” — Young on treaty rights.

“His comparison of Fort McMurray to Hiroshima is as inaccurate as it is insulting to victims and I think really undercuts his credibility.” — Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

“He’s grossly exaggerating … Nobody can say that any kind of open-pit mining — whether it’s oil, shale or whatever — is beautiful. I’m not sure this is about esthetics. It’s about clean water, clean air and economics.” — Canadian musician Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo speaking with Saskatchewan-based Missinipi Broadcasting Corp.

“People don’t understand this oil is not for Canada … A couple of months ago, Beijing had 30 times the World Health Organization’s approved level of pollutants and dangerous substances in the air — 30 times that — and we’re sending them oil … I don’t feel really good about that.” — Young speaking about the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline which would carry oilsands bitumen from Alberta to Texas refineries.

“It’s unfortunate that people like Mr. Young want to mislead people about where Canadian oil goes and the benefits it creates … It has helped him create records and CDs, allows his tour buses to run, airplanes to fly, (allows) the manufacturing of high-tech equipment and guitar picks needed to entertain his audiences.” — emailed statement from TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard, noting the vast majority of exported oilsands oil is used in gasoline, diesel fuel and other North American products.

“My car’s generator runs on biomass, one of several future fuels Canada should be developing for the post-fossil fuel age.” — Young’s reponse to critics about his own consumption of fossil fuels.

“You have to appreciate that Neil in his own extreme, crazy way has begun a dialogue that we have to have in this country.” — Jim Cuddy.

“Money is number one. Integrity isn’t even on the map.” — Young before the Toronto show, criticising Harper’s administration.

“There is irreversible and irreparable damage being done to the ecosystems that sustain the First Nations that live within those regions.” — Eriel Deranger of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.