The Politics of Energy: The Development and Implementation of the NEP


523 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-458-98920-7




Reviewed by Ross Willmot

Ross Willmot is Executive Director of the Ontario Association for
Continuing Education.


These Carleton University professors here provide an integrative and historical look at energy politics in Canada’s oil and gas industry since 1945, with particular attention to the period 1973-1984. Their detailed study enables Canada’s energy policy makers, the energy industry, and other concerned Canadians to learn a great deal about energy politics.

Canada’s NEP (National Energy Program) is arguably one of the most significant and controversial policies ever adopted in Canada. It joins in importance and complexity such crucial initiatives as the building of the CPR, the National Policy, the post-World War II welfare state, bilingualism, the Crow rate, the Diefenbaker and then Trudeau charters of rights, medicare, and the provincial government equivalents that make up the mosaic of Canada’s political life.

The authors argue that the NEP has resulted in a greater balance of decision-making among key energy figures. To them, the NEP is not a radical policy when analyzed in relation to its objectives and effects. They conclude the NEP was neither as bad a policy as its critics believe nor as good as its sponsors say.

The book’s analysis is based on cited published sources, an extensive review of speeches, unpublished government and industry reports and documents, and over 300 not-for-individual-attribution interviews with relevant officials and experts.



Doern, G. Bruce, and Glen Toner, “The Politics of Energy: The Development and Implementation of the NEP,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024,