Foreigners real beneficiaries of oilsands: group

An environmental group that has come under fire for its anti-oilsands work and connection to foreign funding says too many of the benefits from Canada’s energy industry flow outside the country.

An environmental group that has come under fire for its anti-oilsands work and connection to foreign funding says too many of the benefits from Canada’s energy industry flow outside the country.

ForestEthics Advocacy, which recently gave up its charitable status after allegations it was using U.S. money to finance political activities in Canada, says in a report released Thursday that nearly three-quarters of oilsands production is foreign owned.

The report, based on data from Bloomberg and Statistics Canada, finds more than 40 per cent of the profits from oil and natural gas in Canada go to foreign-owned companies. That’s more than twice the average for all Canadian industry.

“We need to ask the question, ‘What legacy are we going to leave?’ ” said ForestEthics spokeswoman Tzeporah Berman.

But Andrew Leach, a University of Alberta energy economist, said it’s not surprising that multinationals dominate the oilsands, with its huge demands for capital and long lead times.

“The only companies which have, historically, had a sufficiently diversified portfolio to take the oilsands risk and finance the upfront capital have been multinationals,” he said.

Berman said the group isn’t suggesting foreign investment is bad, only that its major beneficiaries should be Canadians. She pointed to Norway, where the government has amassed one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world using energy royalties.

Berman said Canada needs to do something similar to ensure that a fair share of benefits from the energy industry remain in Canada to help make the economy less dependent on fossil fuels.

“Today, we’re doing none of those things,” she said.

The ForestEthics report goes on to point out little of the oil from the oilsands remains in the country to add to national energy security — although industry has made some recent moves to ship more of its product to eastern Canada.

As well, it quotes Statistics Canada data to suggest the importance of the oilsands to the overall job market is exaggerated. It says only .8 per cent of Canadian jobs are directly in the energy sector.

“We’re being asked to bear enormous risks, we’re being asked to bear enormous costs, and we’re being told that we should basically shut up and agree,” said Berman.

“The point that we’re trying to make here is that we need to take a closer look at what Canada’s interests are.”

Just Posted

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta has made a more detailed framework for those looking to acquire an exemption to the mandatory indoor mask bylaw. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Alberta changes requirements for mask exemptions

Masks wearing has been recommended for almost a year and provincially mandated… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools is projecting a $4-million budget deficit for 2021-22 school year. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools prepares $124-million budget

$1 million COVID recovery plan to assist students

(Black Press file photo).
Central Alberta’s ‘screen-based storytellers’ can apply for $5,000 grants

Calling all filmmakers, gamers, educators, and videographers… TELUS STORYHIVE released its first… Continue reading

Some routes on the Red Deer transit system will start earlier next week. (Advocate File Photo)
Red Deer transit gets earlier start

Transit service in Red Deer will start earlier for some routes starting… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Adam Feller reacts as he gets his Pfizer-BioNTech shot at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Montreal. Quebec has become the latest province to stop giving Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as a first dose.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Ontario keeps stay-at-home order; Quebec pauses Oxford-AstraZeneca shots

Ontario has announced it’s keeping its stay-at-home order in place until at… Continue reading

The flag of the Supreme Court of Canada flies outside the building following a ceremony in Ottawa, Monday March 15, 2021. The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially winning the Canadian Derby more than three years ago might have run out of legal room to reclaim the title. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from horse owners over derby dispute

OTTAWA — The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially… Continue reading

People take part in a protest called 'Justice for Joyce' in Montreal, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, where they demanded justice for Joyce Echaquan and an end to systemic racism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Quebec coroner’s inquest into death of Joyce Echaquan begins as her family testifies

MONTREAL — The husband of an Indigenous woman who was subjected to… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault, centre, speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec tables revamp of French-language law, toughens rules for businesses, schools

MONTREAL — The Quebec government reasserted the right of Quebecers to live… Continue reading

Permanent residency
Canada announces new pathway to permanent residency for families of crash victims

Ottawa is launching a new policy to help the families of victims… Continue reading

Co-founders Craig (left) and Marc Kielburger introduce Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau as they appear at the WE Day celebrations in Ottawa on November 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ethics watchdog: PM didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, but Morneau did

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not breach the Conflict of… Continue reading

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, center, celebrates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Crew with teammates from left, forward Tsubasa Endoh, defender Omar Gonzalez and forward Patrick Mullins during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Bradley, Altidore scores in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win over Crew

ORLANDO, Fla (AP) — Michael Bradley had a goal and an assist,… Continue reading

A football with the CFL logo sits on a chair during a press conference in Winnipeg, Friday, November 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Former defensive lineman Klassen tackling retirement as he did opposing quarterbacks

Klassen spent seven CFL seasons with Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa

Most Read