Well, it was only a matter of time before the pro-oil crowd did something racist. They have been foaming at the mouth ever since Neil Young spoke out against the environmental effects of the Alberta oilsands, even starting a campaign about “Neil Young Lies” to counteract the singer’s comments.
But maybe tweeting about “Indian ignorance” isn’t the best idea, huh?
Ethical Oil, the pro-industry group named after Ezra Levant’s book of the same name, published a tweet Thursday linking to a Sun News video with the hashtags #AntiCanada and #IndianIgnorant. It was dutifully retweeted by their affiliated @NeilYoungLies account before criticism over the tweet forced them to delete it — without ever explaining or apologizing, obviously.
Amanda Achtman, the Ethical Oil flack spearheading the Neil Young Lies campaign, refused to answer any questions about the tweet on Thursday and blocked everyone on Twitter who brought it up.
Is #IndianIgnorant supposed to be a comment about Neil Young being ignorant about issues facing First Nations in Canada, as a charitable reading might suggest? Or were they calling aboriginal opponents of the oilsands “ignorant Indians”?
Ezra Levant is very fond of using the term Indian to talk about aboriginal issues, probably because it’s a useful dog whistle to his viewers, so it should be no surprise that his favourite lobby group saw nothing wrong with using the term.
UPDATE: Here’s an emailed statement from Amanda Achtman.
The phrase was intended to point out Neil Young’s ignorance about Canadian Indian affairs, as documented on the site NeilYoungLies.ca. As sometimes happens with on-the-fly tweeting, the phrase could be taken out of context or misinterpreted, so it was deleted.
Neil Young is ignorant of the fact that the single largest employer of aboriginal people in Canada are the oilsands. The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s own oilsands service companies earn $250 million a year.
Canada’s dedication to human rights, especially for First Nations, is a key difference between our ethical oil and OPEC conflict oil from abusive dictatorships.
[screenshot via @BannockHammock]