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Council of Canadians rejects Premier Notley’s disparaging of the Leap Manifesto

Alberta premier Rachel Notley criticized the Leap Manifesto on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition this morning.


She comments, “[Leap Manifesto activists] continue to reflect a perhaps blinkered view of certain of these issues. We introduced, as you know, our Climate Leadership Plan last fall. It’s a very, very ambitious plan, especially coming from an energy-producing province, but quite frankly, in relation to any jurisdiction.”


Later in the interview Notley adds, “[The Leap Manifesto] is tone-deaf, and demonstrates a tremendous lack of understanding about how our economy works, and doesn’t demonstrate that the authors have spent a lot of time sitting around talking to people who earn their living, who pay their mortgage, who support their families, by working in the resource sector in this country. …A document that seems to sort of wave those off as just, ‘Oh well, it’s the cost of doing the right thing, that we’ll not care about the future of those families that would be negated through our plan’ – you know, that’s insensitive, and frankly, it doesn’t reflect a fulsome understanding of what this country was built on.”


Naomi Klein has responded via Twitter, “@RachelNotley, can you pls find a way to disagree w/ the #LeapManifesto without disparaging its 60 authors +200 orgs that endorsed it?”


Council of Canadians staff participated in the drafting the Leap Manifesto, we have endorsed it, Maude Barlow participated in its launch in both Toronto and Paris, and our chapters from coast-to-coast-to-coast have shown the film ‘This Changes Everything’ and helped to promote the manifesto.


Premier Notley highlights her “very ambitious” Climate Leadership Plan, but we have expressed our concern that it allows for a massive expansion of the tar sands. Even the Globe and Mail has reported, “The tar sands currently emits 70 megatonnes of greenhouse gases a year. Under Alberta’s ‘climate leadership’ plan, that would be allowed to rise to a cap of 100 megatonnes a year. That represents a 43 per cent increase in the carbon emissions from the tar sands. Beyond the cap, the Alberta plan allows for another 10 megatonnes of emissions a year for new upgrading and cogeneration facilities.”


We have also noted that the average renewable energy investment creates four times as many jobs as the same investment in the fossil fuel economy.


The Leap Manifesto is a job creation document that demands “training and resources for workers in carbon-intensive jobs, ensuring they are fully able to participate in the clean energy economy”, that recognizes the job potential in the renewable energy economy, and that acknowledges the science-based urgency for this transition.


At our upcoming annual conference this October 14-16 in St. John’s, we will continue to build this argument by featuring a speaker from Iron & Earth, an initiative led by tar sands workers that seeks to “catalyze growth in the renewable energy industry, and incorporate these projects into the work scope of our variety of trades”.


We have also been calling on members of the Alberta NDP meeting this weekend to pass a resolution calling for a moratorium and a comprehensive expert study on fracking. These demands reflect Notley’s comments as environment critic less than four years ago. We look forward to hearing later today that this resolution has been passed.

Further reading
Council of Canadians supports the call for 1 million climate jobs (March 3, 2016)