In the Globe and Mail today, “Tutu’s harsh words prompt new focus on oil-sands fight“:
First the Athabasca Chipewyan partnered with Canadian rocker Neil Young in a treaty-rights awareness tour.
Then, this past weekend, the 1,100-person northern Alberta First Nation – whose members feel its land and water are being sacrificed for an estimated $200-billion in oil-sands investment over the next decade – hosted renowned human-rights leader Desmond Tutu, who toured the oil-sands region and, at a weekend conference on treaty rights and the environment, called Canada’s bitumen production “filth.”
By the time the Nobel laureate left Fort McMurray on Sunday, his beyond-famous personality had brought international attention to the First Nation’s push for more environmental protections and negotiating power.
What sayeth the wise-white-elder-turned-First-Nations-advocate, Bob Rae about this?
Former federal Liberal leader Bob Rae, who also spoke at the conference, said righting historic treaty wrongs is important for moving forward with energy projects. But, he said he disagreed with Mr. Tutu’s characterization of the oil sands.
“I don’t think the filth comment is very helpful because, I mean, oil and gas development is happening all over the world. It’s happening in Africa and elsewhere,” he said. “Everybody recognizes that there are environmental issues around the development of our resources. But I don’t think that [comment] really helps people to listen to each other.”