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NDP's adoption of Leap Manifesto would signal end of Mulcair's moderate agenda

Last Updated Apr 4, 2016 at 12:38 pm PDT

File photo: Tom Mulcair in the Lower Mainland (Aug 9/15) (Kenny Mason, NEWS1130 photo)

Proposed NDP manifesto would have Canada entirely weaned off fossil fuels by 2050

OTTAWA – The Leap Manifesto is a document that calls for a radical restructuring of the economy as Canada swiftly moves toward ending the use of fossil fuels. It was crafted by best-selling author Naomi Klein and her husband, documentary filmmaker Avi Lewis, and released last September in the midst of the federal election campaign.

During that campaign, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair touted his party as a moderate, pragmatic alternative to the Conservatives, promising to balance the federal budget, to hike no taxes other than a “slight and graduated” increase in the corporate tax rate, to sustainably develop Alberta’s oil sands and to be open to free trade deals. That cautious agenda was soundly rejected on Oct. 19, with the NDP finishing a distant third.

As New Democrats prepare to gather this week to review Mulcair’s leadership and mull the future of the party, Lewis and some former MPs are pushing the party to adopt the manifesto “as a high-level statement of principles that is in line with the aspirations, history and values of the party.”

Here’s what the manifesto calls for:

— Shift swiftly away from fossil fuels so that Canada gets 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable resources within 20 years and is entirely weaned off fossil fuels by 2050.

— No new infrastructure projects aimed at increasing extraction of non-renewable resources, including pipelines.

— “Energy democracy,” in which energy sources are collectively controlled by communities instead of “profit-gouging” private companies.

— An end to all trade deals “that interfere with our attempts to rebuild local economies, regulate corporations and stop damaging extractive projects.”

— Expand low-carbon sectors of the economy, such as caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts and public-interest media.

— Vigorous debate on the idea of introducing a universal guaranteed minimum income.

— Declare that “austerity — which has systematically attacked low-carbon sectors like education and health care while starving public transit and forcing reckless energy privatizations — is a fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth.”

— Pay for it all by ending fossil fuel subsidies, imposing financial transaction taxes, increasing resource royalties, hiking taxes on corporations and the wealthy, introducing a progressive carbon tax, and cutting military spending.