Why have democratic governments failed to take serious steps to reduce carbon emissions despite dire warnings and compelling evidence of the profound and growing threat posed by global warming? Most of the writing on global warming is by scientists, academics, environmentalists, and journalists. Kevin Taft, a former leader of the opposition in Alberta, brings a fresh perspective through the insight he gained as an elected politician who had an insider’s eyewitness view of the role of the oil industry. His answer, in brief: The oil industry has captured key democratic institutions in both Alberta and Ottawa.
Taft begins his book with a perceptive observer’s account of a recent court casein Ottawa which laid bare the tactics and techniques of the industry, its insiders and lobbyists. He casts dramatic new light on exactly how corporate lobbyists, politicians, bureaucrats, universities, and other organizations are working together to pursue the oil industry’s agenda.
He offers a brisk tour of the recent work of scholars who have developed the concepts of the deep state and institutional capture to understand how one rich industry can override the public interest.
Taft views global warming and weakened democracy as two symptoms of the same problem — the loss of democratic institutions to corporate influence and control. He sees citizen engagement and direct action by the public as the only response that can unravel big oil’s deep state.
About the Author
Kevin Taft holds a Ph.D. in Business and is the author of four best-selling books and many research studies and articles on political and economic issues in Alberta. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta with the Alberta Liberal Party from 2001 to 2012, and Leader of the Opposition from 2004 to 2008. He has extensive public policy experience in the Alberta government, private sector, and non-profit sector, particularly in health, energy, and economic policy. Taft continues his career as an author, speaker, and consultant. He is father to two adult sons and currently resides in Edmonton with his partner Jeanette Boman.
Between 2011 and 2012, Taft and Jeanette and two other partners designed and constructed a three-home net-zero ready infill residential project in Edmonton called “Belgravia Green”. Boman called it “our one small way of saying we believe that we can make a difference as individuals.” The homes are designed and built with the aim of reducing net energy use to near zero. The homes were built by Effect Home Builders, and one of them won the 2012 Canadian Home Builders’ Association National Green Home Award.
AlbertaViews is sponsoring the launch of the book on Tuesday Sep 26 in Edmonton and Thursday Sep 28 in Calgary and everyone’s invited.
Edmonton, Sep 26, 7-9 pm, Rm 150, Telus Centre, University of Alberta
Calgary, Sep 28 7-9 pm, Rm EA-1031, Faculty of Arts, Mt. Royal University
Kevin Taft’s powerful book, Oil’s Deep State is compelling because it is drawn from his personal experience as a politician. In order to understand why governments at the federal and provincial levels have been so reticent in taking action to get us off fossil fuels, we must see that money has undermined democracy. There is no place for ethics or morality when the sole drive of corporations is to make money, the more and faster, the better, and that means getting rid of all obstacles to unbridled growth, even if the future of generations to come is in jeopardy. Unless corporations are reined in, environmental destruction and climate change are certain to happen. Read this book, get mad, then take action to restore democracy.
— David Suzuki
Taft delivers a gripping read for anyone who wonders why, despite a broad consensus for ambitious action in the face of the climate crisis, our country is hurtling in the wrong direction.
— Avi Lewis, journalist and filmmaker
Taft’s book is a must for voting-age Canadians who smugly believe that the political idiocy unfolding in the USA can’t happen in Canada.
— David Schindler, environmental scientist
Kevin Taft, the ultimate insider / outsider, deftly peels back the cover over what Big Oil doesn’t want you to see.
— Gordon Laxer, author and director of Parkland Institute
. . .a must read for anyone who wants to save democracy and the planet at the same time.
— Gillian Steward, Toronto Star columnist
Read Kevin Taft’s feature article on his book in the upcoming issue of AlbertaViews at: albertaviews.ca/a-captive-state