Even large international oil companies began to move out of the oil sands, including Shell in 2017.
A Shell representative said the company left because other companies with more experience in oil sands were better able to work there. But Andrew Leach, a professor of energy savings at the University of Alberta, said that Shell is also responding to pressure from its own investors to withdraw them, given the high levels of greenhouse gases associated with oil extraction there.
"They were under significant pressure from their shareholders to give up," said Leach.
The last blow came in December, when the rating company Moody lowered the credibility of Alberta's debt to the lowest level in 20 years, citing, among other concerns, the province's dependence on oil sands and the environmental costs of oil extraction .
In response to this pressure, Alberta has only increased its support for tar sands.
Kenney, Alberta's premier, has publicly criticized investors who have left, complaining that some of those same investors also finance oil production in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, which have lower greenhouse gas emissions per barrel, but records much worse human rights.
Mr. Kenney too promised to withdraw government contracts from companies like HSBC and also threatened to put billboards on the London Underground, where the bank is based, with the intention of embarrassing him by investing in Saudi Arabia, while rejecting Alberta.
HSBC and Kenney spokesmen declined to say whether Alberta had canceled government contracts with the bank.
"I refuse to allow us to receive talks from European banks and insurance companies" that negotiate with Middle Eastern oil producers, Kenney said in October. "We are going to take that right to your door in Europe."
After Moody demoted the province in December, Kenney incorporated it into other global financial companies as biased, uninformed or both.