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Peterborough chapter & allies host Avi Lewis talk on Localizing Leap

Photo by Adam Coones

The Council of Canadians Peterborough chapter and its allies are key supporters of the Localizing LEAP committee in their community. Yesterday, they hosted Avi Lewis at a well-attended to public forum to help spread the word about the Leap Manifesto and what is being done locally.

Earlier in the week, the Peterborough Examiner reported, “Lewis is the documentary film maker of ‘This Changes Everything’, based on Naomi Klein’s best-selling book of the same name, and one of the founders of the Leap Manifesto. Lewis will join in a conversation on Community Organizing for Climate Change. Members of Localizing LEAP working groups will present the local actions they are currently engaged in that exemplify the principles of the Leap Manifesto. The Leap Manifesto was issued by a coalition of Canadian authors, artists, activists and leaders in September 2015 and calls for ‘A Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and One Another’, a restructuring of the Canadian economy and an end to the use of fossil fuels.”

Last night, our CUPE Ontario ally Adam Coones posted on Facebook, “Full house tonight at the Peterborough LEAP Manifesto. With a guest speaker like Avi Lewis who would be surprised?”

Chapter activist Roy Brady has told us, “Our chapter is one of the three main organizers of our Local LEAP, along with For Our Grandchildren and Peterborough Greenspace.” Other key allies include Basic Income Peterborough, Kawartha World Issues Centre, and Transition Town Peterborough.

On January 31 of this year, the Peterborough chapter co-sponsored a screening ‘This Changes Everything’ that attracted 300 people. On February 2, they were at the “Citizen’s Climate Forum – localizing the Leap Manifesto” gathering which saw more than 175 people come out to participate. On March 19, the Peterborough chapter, For Our Grandchildren Peterborough and the Peterborough Greenspace Coalition organized another public meeting with about 60 people that included break-out group discussions on Indigenous rights, democratic reform, corporate trade, and agriculture.

Last night, Coones also posted, “Strong message tonight about the importance of Saving PDI and to #keephydropublic.”

The Peterborough chapter, CUPE Ontario and its allies have been campaigning against the possible sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc. (PDI), the city-owned utility that distributes electricity in Peterborough, Lakefield and Norwood, to the provincial electricity transmission and distribution utility Hydro One. The provincial government is now in the process of selling 60 per cent of the provincial utility to private interests.

Brady says, “You’d be selling to a slowly privatizing company – and losing quite a bit of control. I don’t think Hydro One is able to satisfy our local concerns, as people start increasingly using solar power and generating power close to home. City Council should allow the public utility to continue the great work that it has been doing.”

At the September 18, 2015 media conference in Toronto that launched the Leap Manifesto, a reporter asked, “How do you plan to use and move forward this manifesto?” Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow responded, “At the grassroots level we have in our organization local activist chapters and they are hungry for this kind of vision and direction. …I think we’ll see it outward [around the world] but I think it will also be dramatically welcomed by grassroots communities around this country.”

For more on the Leap Manifesto and its 15 demands, please click here.