FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2020
Hannah McKinnon, hannah [at] priceofoil.org
Bronwen Tucker, bronwen [at] priceofoil.org
Oil Change International response to Canada’s possible oil and gas bailout
Yesterday evening The Globe and Mail reported that the Canadian federal government is preparing a bailout package for the oil and gas sector, with a possible value of $15 billion and details still to be confirmed. Among the proposals is a share buyout along the lines of the U.S. Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) for banks and automobile companies during the 2008-09 financial crisis. Prior to this, on March 13th, Justin Trudeau announced that Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada were working on a new public finance package for the sector.
In response Bronwen Tucker, Edmonton-based Research Analyst with Oil Change International released the following statement:
“We’re in the middle of an unprecedented global health emergency and economic crash, we can’t afford for the federal government to bail out a sector in terminal decline. Workers and communities are struggling right now – there are still massive gaps in Canada’s COVID-19 response packages that are putting millions at risk of losing their homes, jobs, and health. It is criminal for Trudeau to be pursuing a massive handout to Big Oil instead of ensuring these basic needs are met.
“We have seen this movie before. The money from the 2009 TARP bailout overwhelmingly flowed to banks and wealthy shareholders. Since the oil crash in 2014, more than 50,000 jobs have not returned to Canada’s oil patch, with companies prioritizing massive dividends for their shareholders instead – the five biggest oil sands companies handed at least $10.3 billion to shareholders in 2019 alone.
“Billions of dollars will be needed to build a resilient economy through this crisis, but handing them over to oil and gas corporations will leave us more vulnerable instead. This is a critical opportunity to fund a just transition from oil and gas that protects workers, communities, and the climate instead of tying their future to a sunsetting and volatile commodity.”
- In 2019, instead of acting responsibly, the five largest oil sands companies returned at least $10.26 billion in total to shareholders in dividends and buybacks. This was made up of $4.9 billion from Suncor, $2.6 billion from CNRL, $260 million from Cenovus, over $2 billion from Imperial, and $503 million from Husky. (Source: Company quarterly reports)
- Despite these profits, research from the Parkland Institute estimates the Canadian oil and gas industry has lost 53,119 jobs from 2014 through 2019 that have not returned.