Multinational corporations control most of Alberta's oil sands, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has changed policy to cater to such multinationals' demands, economist and former ICBC CEO Robyn Allan explains in a new video, Pipelines and Oil Tankers. Over the course of 20 minutes, Allan dissects Canada's oil policies in recent years and says Canadians have been losing out.

Allan notes that five oil companies control Canada's production in the tar sands, and that other companies like France's Total and China's state-owned CNOOC and Sinopec are fast becoming important players.

She reminds people that back in 2008, Harper had made sensible promises such as limiting the export of raw bitumen overseas and refining it within Alberta. All of this changed when Enbridge submitted its application to build the Northern Gateway pipeline to carry bitumen across BC to Asian markets, she said.  

Since then, federal government and the cabinet in particular have helped to "market" raw bitumen export to Canadians, she says.  

"Our elected officials work with industry to create fear and uninformed Canadians that if we don't hurry up and approve these bitumen export pipelines, economic opportunities will be lost," Allan states.
 
Some plans to refine and upgrade bitumen in Canada went awry because of the financial crisis. But generally, the plan to export raw bitumen was implemented because it benefited multinational corporations that "consistently exaggerate the benefits, deny the costs, and underplay the environmental risk," Allan said.

Although the environment factors into her concerns, the economist's main argument is that bitumen export pipelines deprive Canada of meaningful jobs and keep Canadians reliant on imported oil in the east. 
 
 
Screenshot from presentation