Carbon Capital’s Political Reach: A Network Analysis Of Federal Lobbying By The Fossil Fuel Industry From Harper To Trudeau

Nicolas Graham, William K. Carroll, David Chen


This paper provides a network analysis of federal lobbying in Canada by the fossil fuel industry over a seven-year period from January 4, 2011 to January 30, 2018, enabling a comparative examination of lobbying under the Harper Conservatives and the Trudeau Liberals. The network we uncover amounts to ‘small world’ of intense interaction among relatively few lobbyists/firms that control much of this economic sector and the designated public office holders in select centres of state power, who are their targets. In comparing lobbying across the Harper and Trudeau administrations, we find a pattern of continuity-in-change: under Trudeau, the bulk of lobbying has been carried out by the same large firms as under Harper, while the lobbying network has become more focused on fewer state agencies. We argue that the strategic, organized, and sustained lobbying efforts of the fossil fuel sector help to explain the close coupling of federal policy to the needs of carbon extractive corporations.


Lobbying; Corporate Power; Network Analysis; Fossil Capitalism; State; Climate Change

Full Text:


@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125