Will Harper equalize Big Oil’s lost profits on low prices?

Jamie Biggar —

Here’s the question on everyone’s lips: as the oil boom goes bust again, what’s Stephen Harper going to do about it?

Our government has a habit of propping up giant oil companies with generous subsidies and cushy tax cuts—a habit that has cost Canada billions of dollars every year. We’re talking big money—in 2011, the International Monetary Fund pegged Canada’s oil subsidies and tax breaks at $34 billion per year.


As oil craters again, people across Canada are calling for a new way forward: a stronger, cleaner economy, support for workers, and funding for critical services. But Harper’s habits die hard and you can be sure that giant oil companies are lobbying hard to get a bailout in the next budget.

The Harper Conservatives are under huge pressure to bail-out giant oil companies and show a balanced budget. Something’s gotta give and it could be major cuts to services that people rely on. With the budget coming soon, and the parties releasing their platforms in an election year, this is the moment to speak out for a better future.

Think about it this way: estimates suggest the Harper government has gifted billions in tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuel industry. Now imagine if that same money was spent on renewable energy power sources—or re-training oil industry workers for the jobs of the future.

[2]  Reality is, the clean energy industry already employs more Canadians than the fossil fuel industry – and right now, the oilsands brings in just 2% of Canada’s GDP.


Don’t get us wrong. Government investments in strategic industries, and the occasional bail-out, can make sense with the right conditions. But why give billions to the most destructive group of companies on Earth, especially when their boom always goes bust?

[4]  Economists are saying that this a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to fix bad energy policy. This could be game-changing, but we have to send a clear message to political parties now.

Click here to tell Stephen Harper and our political leaders: don’t bail out big oil! End subsidies for corporate giants and invest in a clean energy economy:


Thanks for all you do,

Jamie, Kelly and Rodrigo on behalf of the Leadnow.ca team


[1] Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications. International Monetary Fund, January 28 2013. http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2013/012813.pdf

[2] Clean Energy Jobs Now Exceed Oilsands Jobs in Canada. February 12, 2014. Huffington Post Canada. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/12/02/green-energy-jobs-canada-oilsands_n_6252910.html

[3] Environmental Group Uses Poll to Battle Oil Sands PR. The Globe and Mail. July 4, 2014.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/environmental-group-uses-poll-to-battle-oil-sands-pr/article19475437/

[4] Seize the Day. The Economist, January 17th, 2015. http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21639501-fall-price-oil-and-gas-provides-once-generation-opportunity-fix-bad