May 21st, 2018

Taft to speak at SACPA sessions

By Mabell, Dave on February 14, 2018.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

Was there a revolving door between the Alberta government’s cabinet and the province’s oil executives?

A former MLA will argue that close links between the industry and the governing party led to the province’s economic downfall. Kevin Taft, author of “Oil’s Deep State,” will outline his views Thursday during two sessions of the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs. The weekly lunch-time forum at Country Kitchen Catering will be followed at 7 p.m. by a no-charge presentation in the 1st Choice Savings Centre at the University of Lethbridge.

For all their potential revenue, Taft says, Alberta’s petroleum resources have been badly mismanaged since the early 1990s. They have not been developed in an environmentally sustainable way, he maintains, and they haven’t delivered the royalty revenues that Albertans deserve.

Even some of the industry’s biggest proponents say the province’s approach to oilsands development has left Alberta in a difficult economic situation, Taft notes.

Since the days of Ralph Klein, he says, the oil industry has been able to dictate public policy, undermining the democratic political process.

Taft, leader of the province’s Official Opposition from 2004 to 2008, had a career working on public policy issues for the provincial government before entering politics. He was elected to three terms as a member of the legislature, running as an Alberta Liberal.

The afternoon session, starting at noon in Country Kitchen – below The Keg on Mayor Magrath Drive – will be followed by a question period. A hot lunch will be provided for $11, or attendees may chose just tea or coffee for $2.

The U of L appearance is being sponsored by SACPA, the university and its Department of Political Science. It’s scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. in room PE261 in the 1st Choice sports and fitness building. Parking, immediately west of the building, will be free.

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