What is the Leap Manifesto? Talk of the NDP convention explained

Click to play video: 'NDP hierarchy waging battle over leadership, resource development'
NDP hierarchy waging battle over leadership, resource development
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta's NDP sees itself at loggerheads with federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair over the future of Canada's resource development as Premier Rachel Notley addressed the convention being held in her backyard. Mike LeCouteur reports – Apr 9, 2016

With Tom Mulcair’s leadership up for debate at this weekend’s New Democratic convention in Edmonton, there’s been lots of talk of whether or not the NDP will adopt the Leap Manifesto.

But what exactly is the Leap Manifesto?

Basically, it is a list of changes Canada can make to restructure the economy as a way to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels. It was created by a coalition of national leaders, authors, activists and artists including Naomi Klein, David Suzuki and former Progressive Conservative MPP Roy McMurtry. The group came together in the spring of 2015 and released the declaration during the run-up to the federal election in September 2015.

READ MORE: Mulcair pushes Leap Manifesto during critical test at NDP convention

So let’s get straight into brass tacks.

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First off, it calls for Canada to fully implement the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, which would “bolster [their] role” in protecting rivers, forests and coasts from “out-of-control industrial activity.”

Secondly, it calls for Canada to only use renewable energy, which it claims is within our reach because of recent technological breakthroughs.

While it doesn’t list a timeline to stop using non-renewable sources, the manifesto calls for the government to immediately stop funding new projects for those energy sources, such as building pipelines and new fracking sites.

READ MORE: ‘I won’t let up. We must get to ‘yes’ on a pipeline’: Tough words for Ottawa in Notley TV address

The manifesto also calls for something called “energy democracy” which would offer communities ownership of energy sources instead of private companies. It also calls for more investment into sectors of the economy which don’t involve carbon, like teaching and social work.

Leap suggests it would keep “much needed revenue in communities,” and “redistribute wealth.”

Things that fall into this category could include:

  • a universal program to build energy-efficient homes and retrofit existing housing,
  • a high-speed rail powered by just renewables,
  • an affordable public transit system,
  • moving to a far more localized and ecologically-based agricultural system,
  • an end to all trade deals that interfere with local economies.

The official website covers a broad array of topics, from indigenous peoples’ rights to green energy. It also includes two .pdf documents: Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars, and a Stanford University and University of California paper proposing “major changes in our energy infrastructure” to battle climate change.

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The manifesto has garnered over 35,000 signatures since its introduction.

So why is it called a Leap Manifesto? Because none of the suggestions it tables are easy, but would rather require a huge leap from the norm in Canada right now. It is a leap many of its critics say is impossible and some say is essential in preventing the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change.

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