Matt Kincaid/Getty ImagesNeil Young was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame during a ceremony held Saturday at Toronto’s famous Massey Hall. You can watch the folk-rock legend’s acceptance speech now via CBC Music’s YouTube channel.

Young was presented the honor by his friend Randy Bachman of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, who congratulated Neil “on a lifetime of rocking in the free world and writing great songs.”

Young began his speech by saying, “Merci beaucoups” — “Thank you very much,” in French — and then went on to whimsically discuss his songwriting.

“Songs are like animals, and you really have to be careful with them and not sneak up on them and scare them,” he explained. “They’re like rabbits. If it’s coming out of a whole, you’re not gonna stand there with a gun…[Y]ou put the gun down…and wait for this song rabbit to come out of the hole.”

Neil also noted, “I’m very proud to be Canadian…I’ve always been a Canadian citizen. I’ve never been a citizen of anywhere else, even though I love the U.S.A.” Young then took an apparent dig at President Donald Trump by commenting, “By the way, my message is: They’re already great.”

In addition, the still-prolific artist said that songs are still coming to him, which he maintained was “such a gift.”

Young also quipped about his singing voice, “I know I can’t sing, but it really doesn’t matter. I’m around the note somewhere. I’m near it.”

After his speech, several artists gave performances honoring Neil, including k.d. lang, who sang “Helpless,” and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, who joined Canadian alternative-rock group Arkells for a rendition of “Cinnamon Girl.” To close out the tribute, all the performers hit the stage to perform “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

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