Fonds PR3809 - Kevin Taft fonds

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Kevin Taft fonds

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    • Source of title proper: The title is based on the provenance of the fonds.

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    • 1992-2012 (Creation)

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    1.93 m of textual records. -- 74 DVDs. -- 16 data CD-Rs. -- 1 photograph.

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    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    Kevin Taft is a former provincial politician and is an author of articles, papers, and books on political issues in Alberta and Canada. He was born in Saskatoon in 1955 and raised in Edmonton. Taft obtained a B.A. in Political Science in 1977 from the University of Alberta, an M.A. in Community Development in 1983 (also from the University of Alberta), and a PhD in Business in 1998 from the University of Warwick, England. Taft married Jeanette Boman in 1982 and they have two sons, Jordan and Spencer.

    Taft attended Strathcona Composite High School in Edmonton, graduating in 1973. Shortly after graduating, he was appointed by the cabinet of Peter Lougheed to the Alberta Health Facilities Review Committee, where he served part-time until 1982. Taft was also appointed to the Alberta government’s Nursing Home Review Panel (1981-1982) and worked with the Alberta Hospital Association as a planning consultant (1978-1980). In 1983, he became the Coordinator of Planning, Research, and Evaluation for Alberta Social Services and Community Health (Edmonton Region), a position he held until 1986.

    Taft moved away from policy work in 1986 to become Chief Executive Officer of the Ex Terra Foundation, a role he held until 1991, supporting the team that planned and developed the Canada-China Dinosaur Project. This project partnered with the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Canadian Museum of Nature, and Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to undertake a multi-year series of expeditions searching for new dinosaur species in the Alberta badlands, Canadian Arctic, and in Gobi desert of China. Taft left the Ex Terra Foundation in 1991 during a financial and organizational restructuring.

    From 1991 to 1993, Taft worked as a private policy consultant with the Government of Alberta and then pursued his PhD at the Warwick Business School in England. After completing his PhD in 1998, he returned to Edmonton to continue his work as a private consultant, focusing on health care, energy, and economic policy.

    Taft’s reputation as a prominent voice in provincial political issues was established with the publication of his first book, Shredding the Public Interest (1997). The work took a critical view of the Progressive Conservative government of 1992-1996, and was inspired in part by Taft’s time as a consultant with the Alberta Ministry of Community Development between 1991 and 1993. The book was a bestseller and had a divisive effect on public and political opinion, prompting then-Premier Ralph Klein to publically criticize Taft. Taft continued to take critical stances on policies of the Klein government through various works and published studies, particularly on electricity deregulation and the privatization of healthcare.

    In December 2000, Taft announced he would seek the Alberta Liberal Party nomination for the constituency of Edmonton-Riverview in the 2001 provincial election. Taft won the nomination and in the March 2001 general election was elected MLA for Edmonton-Riverview. In early 2004, Taft was elected leader of the Alberta Liberal Party and Leader of the Official Opposition. As Liberal Party leader, Taft helped to double the party’s seats in the legislature from 7 to 16, regaining seats in Edmonton and winning new seats in Calgary. During his time as Leader of the Opposition, Taft published his third book, Democracy Derailed (2007), focusing on issues of what he believed to be unaccountability and the breakdown of responsibility during the Klein government.

    During the 2008 general election the Alberta Liberal Party lost many of the seats gained in the previous election and the election had a record-low voter turnout overall. On June 26, 2008, Taft announced that he would step down as leader of the Alberta Liberal Party that December. At this time, Taft began the process of initiating a court challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms about irregularities in the administration of the 2008 election. Taft’s case was represented by Grant Dunlop and the Ogilvie LLP team. The case, ‘Kevin Taft v Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench’ commenced December 18, 2009, and concluded December 14, 2011.

    Taft remained as an MLA for the Edmonton-Riverview division until the 2012 provincial election, when he did not seek re-election. In 2012, Taft’s fourth book, Follow the Money, was published, co-authored with Melville McMillan and Junaid Jahangir. It was a critical analysis of the long-term spending trends of the Alberta government. In 2017 Taft’s fifth book appeared, Oil’s Deep State, examining the political power of the oil industry in Alberta and Canada and proposing a theory of the “deep state.” As of 2024, Kevin Taft currently resides in Edmonton with his wife, Jeanette.

    Custodial history

    The records in accession PR2012.0885 were held by the Records Management branch of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta before being returned to Kevin Taft upon his retirement in 2012.

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of the records created and maintained by Dr. Kevin Taft. These records relate to his time as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta with the Alberta Liberal Party (2001-2012) and Leader of the Opposition (2004-2008), his 2008-2012 court case regarding the conduct of the 2008 provincial election, and his opposition to the 1992 campaign against the implementation of the Youth News Network and television advertisements in Edmonton schools.

    The records are composed of advertisements, newsletters, photographs, campaign strategy guides and platform books, speeches, newsletters, and correspondence. Also included are trial documents such as supporting authorities, factums, evidence extracts, statutes, transcripts of witness interrogations and cross-examinations, witness affidavits, research notes, and collected precedent case records. Other records contain meeting minutes, developments plants, and memoranda of agreement obtained under FOIP and proposals.

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    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Kevin Taft donated the fonds to the Provincial Archives of Alberta in several donations between 2012 and 2018.


    This fonds has been arranged in the following series: 1. Alberta Liberal Party Leadership series 2. 2008 Election Lawsuit series 3. Edmonton-Riverview MLA series 4. Youth News Network Opposition series.

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        The material is in English.

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        Restrictions on access

        Audiovisual records must be digitized prior to access.

        Records from the 2008 Election Lawsuit series are restricted until April 24, 2043. Speak to a reference archivist for more information.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        File list is unavailable. Speak to a reference archivist for more information.

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        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Includes the following accessions: PR2012.0885, PR2016.1456, PR2018.0013.

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        Records have not yet been processed and are in the state in which they were donated.

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