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NDP and Liberals asked to back the Leap Manifesto

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow at the launch of the Leap Manifesto in September 2015.

The NDP and Liberals are being asked to endorse the Leap Manifesto.

It had been hoped that the NDP could fully endorse the manifesto, but Global News now reports, “On Sunday, a joint resolution from the ridings of Toronto-Danforth and Vancouver East calling for a future debate on the policies contained within in the manifesto will face a vote on the convention floor.”

The National Observer notes, “The youth wing [had] supported a motion … for the NDP to adopt the Leap Manifesto in its original form.”

While the resolution now stops short of calling on the NDP to adopt the manifesto, the Toronto Star highlights, “[It] would allow the party to use the document … as a reference point for policy discussions at the 2018 convention. …It wouldn’t commit the party to adopting some of the manifesto’s more radical suggestions, like drastically limiting oil sands production, as policy. The resolution commits NDP riding associations to debate the ideas and merits of the manifesto, and for that debate to inform the ‘pre-convention policy process’ for the NDP’s next convention in 2018.”

Where does the party leader stand on adopting the Leap Manifesto?

CBC reports, “NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said that if his party adopts a policy to attempt to end the age of fossil fuels by keeping oil and coal in the ground, he will act to make that policy a reality. ‘If the party decides that’s the way, as the leader of the party, I’ll do everything I can to make that a reality, but Canadians have been told too many things that haven’t panned out for the last 20 years’, Mulcair [says].”

While that may be a rather tepid statement, Global News adds, “Mulcair stressed he has never suggested oil should stay in the ground… It is fundamentally untrue that Canadians have to choose between development and tackling climate change, Mulcair said. ‘It is not true that that’s the choice, and I’ve never suggested that’, Mulcair said. ‘I’ve always understood that sustainable development means applying rules like polluter-pay, like user-pay.’ The country’s natural resources are a blessing that need to be developed responsibly, he added.”

In terms of the Liberals, [Leap Manifesto activist Avi] Lewis notes, “The party we really want to influence is the one that’s in government because we want these principles embedded in the Leap Manifesto to become the law of the land. …We’re happy and excited to talk to any political party that’s interested. Let’s be honest, there might be a political party [the Conservatives] that would have no interest in talking to us.”

But just last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “We want the low-carbon economy that continues to provide good jobs and great opportunities for all Canadians. To get there, we need to make smart strategic investments in clean growth and new infrastructure, but we must also continue to generate wealth from our abundant natural resources to fund this transition to a low-carbon economy.”

In other words, Trudeau is putting forward the idea that the “wealth” created by the 1.1 million barrel per day Energy East pipeline (which would facilitate a massive increase in tar sands production and carbon pollution) could – somehow without contradiction – help fund a transition to a “low-carbon” future.

Some of the key demands of the 15-point Leap Manifesto include:

– The leap must begin by respecting the inherent rights and title of the original caretakers of this land, starting by fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

– The latest research shows we could get 100% of our electricity from renewable resources within two decades; by 2050 we could have a 100% clean economy. We demand that this shift begin now.

– No new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future.

– 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.

To sign the Leap Manifesto, please click here.

The Council of Canadians fully adopted the Leap Manifesto in September 2015.