It's no secret that extracting bitumen from the sands is costly: in money and to the environment. Due to leaps in technologies, the financial costs have come down over the years, but the whole enterprise remains destructive. Outside of providing incomes to oil-industry workers, which is not unimportant, nothing is gained beyond fleeting supplies of gasoline and other petroleum products. It does, however, make some people very wealthy: If this byproduct of such a brutal means of oil production is so important, governments should just give them the cash and bypass the devastation. ("Here's a cool billion. Maybe now you'll stop bellyaching.")
It's really a one-way industry.
Lots of jobs are on the line, that much is clear, and it is an important issue. But is Canada's oil industry built on and around archaic principles? It's a half-question as this very notion is getting some press.