By Maude Barlow, Mark Hancock, Joanna Kerr, and Katie McKenna
In response to the latest of many attacks published in Canada’s National Post, four prominent supporters of the Leap Manifesto submitted the following letter to the editor in order to correct the record. The Post declined to publish.
Since the Leap Manifesto launched in September 2015, the National Post has published no fewer than 24 articles and letters mentioning it, an average of one per week. Without exception, each has been an attack on the project—dotted with mischaracterizations and factual inaccuracies. Some examples:
—The Leap Manifesto is a “…plan to overthrow capitalism.” Wrong.
—The manifesto calls for “an end to all trade deals.” Actual text: “We call for an end to all trade deals that interfere with our attempts to rebuild local economies, regulate corporations and stop damaging extractive projects.”
—“Calls for a basic annual income.” Actual text: “we call for a vigorous debate about the introduction of a universal basic annual income.”
—The Manifesto is backed by “celebrity recruits.” We’re delighted that dozens of Canada’s top cultural figures have signed the manifesto. So has Ontario’s former Chief Justice; the head of Canada’s Jesuits; Oxfam; Greenpeace; the Council of Canadians; Idle No More; and (crucially) more than 30,000 other signatories.
The Leap Manifesto has been endorsed by over 150 organizations, including national nonprofits, major unions, religious groups, and a multi-million dollar corporation. CNN called it “a model for the world” during the UN climate negotiations in Paris in December. Parallel initiatives are underway in the United Kingdom, Australia and United States. Many of the social democratic policies it calls for are mainstream in several European countries, and many are under debate every day in the current U.S. election.
In Paris, Canada’s government committed to radically lowering its emissions. The Leap Manifesto outlines practical policies for how we can do this in ways that change our country for the better.
The old saying goes: ‘first they ignore you, then they attack you, then you win.” We’re delighted to have advanced to this crucial second stage within the pages of the Post. But we’d appreciate it if you’d get your facts straight.
Happy Leap Year!
Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians
Mark Hancock, National President, Canadian Union of Public Employees
Joanna Kerr, Executive Director, Greenpeace Canada
Katie McKenna, The Leap Manifesto