The federal NDP’s ‘Leap’ of faith advocates and Alberta’s right-wing opposition: strange bedfellows?

Posted on April 13, 2016, 1:10 am
11 mins

PHOTOS: Rachel Notley pushes back against the Leap Manifesto Monday in this screen grab from a CBC broadcast. Below: Outgoing federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Vancouver environmentalist Tzeporah Berman, ProgressAlberta.ca blog author Duncan Kinney, and rumoured federal NDP leadership candidate Avi Lewis.

With friends like the Leap Manifesto’s advocates in the federal New Democratic Party, does the Notley Government need enemies?

Seriously, it’s fair to wonder if some Leap Manifesto supporters inside the NDP are really all that different in important ways from Alberta’s frustrated, infuriated right wing opposition.

MulcairSeriously, both groups appear to want the NDP Government of Premier Rachel Notley to fail. If that means Alberta’s economy has to fail too, they’re apparently good with that. Neither seems to care how much Alberta or Albertans have to suffer in the process.

The reason Alberta’s right wing opposition parties want the NDP to fail should be pretty obvious.

They’re out of power for the first time in 80 years and they don’t like it. They were expecting evolutionary change in a rightward direction in the May 5, 2015, provincial election. Instead they got something that seemed like epochal change – Ms. Notley as premier and leader of a majority NDP government. That makes them furious.

Up to now, they have had very little strategy beyond nattering negativity and constant repetition of market-fundamentalist bromides. Plus a few outright lies about the government’s farm safety legislation, of course.

With nothing to offer but ideologically driven austerity, privatization and permanent revenue shortfalls, the right wants Alberta to fail economically so they can stumble back into power without having to answer for blowing it so spectacularly in 2015.

About all they had going for them until last weekend, when the apostles of the Leap Manifesto blew into Edmonton, was the collapse in the world price of oil. That was working for them, but there was always the danger prices might perk up too soon.

TzeporaOK, enough about them. What about their strange bedfellows?

Why, one might wonder, would NDP proponents of a vague document proposing our country confront a real environmental crisis with simplistic solutions that are simply impossible in a democracy wish the same fate on our NDP government as our hopelessly far right opposition?

Premier Notley may very well have nailed it in her speech to the NDP convention Saturday morning, when she told delegates that the last Alberta election “did something very evil to all of you from our fellow provinces and territories …

“In electing a progressive NDP government last spring, the people of Alberta took away one of your favourite enemies. There’s no climate change denying, science muzzling Tory government here any more.

“So it’s time” – for you, NDP delegates from the rest of Canada, she meant – “to start thinking differently about the 4.4 million fellow Canadians who live here.”

The Leap Manifesto’s most enthusiastic advocates weren’t about to do that. Indeed, from their perspective, there might be something to be said for having an easy-to-hate environmental villain back in charge in Canada’s oilpatch again.

From a point of view where anything less than perfection is deemed unacceptable – the ideological doppelgänger of the right’s dogmatic market fundamentalism – perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad outcome. From that viewpoint, a climate change policy based in meaningful metrics, which stands a chance of working without destroying the economic lives of tens of thousands of citizens, could be a threat, not a promise.

KinneyAt any rate, in the heat of the moment – not to mention the wake of former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis’s pro-Leap speech Saturday night – NDP delegates chose to ignore Ms. Notley’s plea and handed the right-wing opposition a club with which to batter what will likely soon be the only social democratic government in Canada.

So it’s not really that big a leap, if you’ll pardon the expression, to conclude apocalyptic proponents of what Ms. Notley soon labelled a naïve, ill-informed and tone-deaf document would want her incremental but meaningful plan to fail for reasons not so different from those of the apocalyptic right.

“Alberta has the most progressive and effective climate change policy in the country,” Duncan Kinney of Progress Alberta observed in an email newsletter promoting his excellent blog. “A $15 minimum wage is on the books. But unfortunately a document written to help promote a book and a movie will hijack the political debate in this province.”

Of course there’s always the possibility the Leap Manifesto was written to promote more than that. Increasing numbers of observers on the left and right are noticing that the maker of the movie in question, Avi Lewis, is suddenly being touted as a potential leader of the NDP to replace Thomas Mulcair, who was given the bum’s rush by NDP convention delegates the same day.

It was Mr. Lewis’s father who exhorted delegates to ignore Ms. Notley not long after she had left the stage and endorse a plan to keep the divisive Leap debate at a boil right until the next Alberta provincial election.

AviLewisSo while a legitimate criticism of the NDP plan may be that it doesn’t go far enough, fast enough – and that its cap on oilsands emissions is so big it negates efforts by other provinces to cut emissions – this is still preferable to a vague plan just to leave everything in the ground. Realistically, that is no plan at all – unless the plan is to assist the election of a less sympathetic government in Edmonton.

Whatever its intention, this strategy presents a genuine threat to the success of the NDP’s environmental program, which even the National Post concedes is “one of the most progressive climate-change policies in the country.

“It’s a thorough, technocratic protocol that levies a province-wide carbon tax, phases out coal-fired electricity plants and imposes a hard emissions cap on the oil sands,” wrote the paper’s Jen Gerson. “Stephen Lewis wants the party to debate and adopt a 1,300-word anti-capitalist manifesto about transitioning to sustainable energy, somehow.”

Even some die-hard environmentalists, by the sound of it, are having their doubts about this. The manifesto “may have hurt the NDP when it was released before the federal election and I worry that introducing it as a motion at the NDP convention in Edmonton has seriously hurt the NDP’s chances of getting re-elected and given way too much fodder to the far right, especially given the layoffs in the last year and impact of low oil prices,” said high-profile Vancouver environmentalist Tzeporah Berman on her Facebook page.

Whatever the actual intentions and strategy of the Leap advocates may be, the negative impact of the vote on the Alberta NDP’s program was immediately apparent – and should have been obvious to everyone well before the vote.

If you believe in the NDP’s policies of fair labour laws, women’s rights, accessible education, public health care, fair treatment of sexual minorities, respect for Indigenous peoples – and a response to climate change that stands a chance of working – this situation should concern you.

Supporters of the Notley Government immediately assailed the vote as terrible optics and a dumb decision. I’m not so sure many of the people who backed it see it that way at all, though.

Many rank and file NDP supporters in Alberta immediately began talking about the need to disaffiliate from the federal party, although if their leaders were obviously having trouble with that idea.

Call me Pollyanna, but I’m inclined to think this situation, as truly damaging as it appears, can be managed and even exploited.

The Notley Government has about 1,140 days, give or take, to make the point, over and over and over again, that they have nothing to do with the Leap Manifesto and the Leap Manifesto has nothing to do with them. After a while, as tends to happen in such circumstances, that may begin to register with voters.

This is an argument for remaining inside the national NDP for the time being, because something is also going to have to be done about the Leap Manifesto itself, its sponsors, whatever their agenda may be, and the federal party’s current risky direction.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

38 Comments to: The federal NDP’s ‘Leap’ of faith advocates and Alberta’s right-wing opposition: strange bedfellows?

  1. Joel

    April 13th, 2016

    Disappointing read!
    Leap isn’t particularly radical — it’s largely a green jobs program, much like Van Jones proposed to the Obama administration in 2008.
    Yes, it calls for moving to a sustainable electrical grid in 20 years, and yes, it calls for a fully sustainable economy by 2050. Remember that Stephen Harper called for decarbonization by 2100. Yes, it suggests that pipelines might not be the best way to move forward on these fronts.
    No comment about the internalized-Ezra-Levant phenomenon that seemed to be erupting from a certain president of a certain federation of labour?

    Reply
    • Paul Anderson

      April 15th, 2016

      I would agree, Joel. The fault lies not with the Leap Manifesto, which should be considered mainstream. It is with governments–apparently both Liberal and NDP apparently–that seem content with with the optics of “progressive” actions that are nevertheless entirely out of proportion to the speed and scope of the approaching catastrophe. That there may be no “electable” response path, given 4 decades of delaying and denial–is a legacy issues that is not of course purely the fault of the current incumbents. But electoral success does not trump the survival of humankind and the ecosphere.

      The work of governments is to attempt to create a climate responsive to the end of the post-war status quo, in which economic growth and endless prosperity–happy motoring forever!–are no longer survivable.

      Reply
      • Chris

        April 16th, 2016

        How are you able to accomplish this when you are sitting in the far back corner of the House of Commons (and various Legislatures)?

        Reply
  2. Sam Gunsch

    April 13th, 2016

    A significant portion of the most politically active progressives in the rest of Canada are not going to buy into AB NDP exhortations to endorse AB’s dilbit pipelines.

    AB NDP should end the lack of clarity on this debate by separating from the federal NDP. ASAP.

    Because of the dominance of fossil fuel corporations of AB politics, any AB gov’t cannot be seen to opposed to the unending, unlimited growth of BigOil/Gas/Tar. We live in a province that is governed under a corporatist system of governance, not democratic. Mark Lisac identified this in 1993.

    So IMO, it’s obvious, that there is no upside for any gov’t, NDP or Liberal, in AB to be Ok with anything that either implies or proposes openly, anything that could limit to oil/gas/tar expansion.

    It’s obvious that Notley/AB NDP recognizes this reality.

    but…Given that a significant percentage of progressives in the rest of Canada can do the math on climate and fossil fuels, it’s time for AB NDP to cut their losses and separate.

    And, btw, this is claim is so misleading in its implication that it qualifies as BS, no matter who says it..: ‘imposes a hard emissions cap on the oil sands,” wrote the paper’s Jen Gerson’

    Reply
    • Sam Gunsch

      April 13th, 2016

      re: ‘Supporters of the Notley Government immediately assailed the vote as terrible optics’

      It is terrible optics. For an AB NDP gov’t/. It would be for any progressive gov’t of AB.

      And again, given that a significant percentage of progressive Canadians in the rest of Canada will never become active supporters of expanding the tar/oilsands via acceptance of AB dilbit pipelines, the AB NDP should acknowledge that reality and separate from the federal NDP.

      For any jurisdiction that does not depend on fossil fuels for a significant part of its budgeted revenues, the debate is over, already.

      Fossil fuels are on their way to anathema. AB’s oil/gas/tar economy/workers are among the first to suffer because of the awful Energy Return on Investment compared to other jurisdictions oil/gas resources.

      Reply
    • Jim Williamson

      April 13th, 2016

      There is an annual limit placed on the emissions from the oil sands. It’s right there in the Cimate Leadership plan, which, unlike the Manifesto, could actually qualify as a plan to reduce Alberta’s emissions. The plan also has a horizon that is well within the Manifesto’s. As a government, I think the NDP in Alberta provide a model of how to practically achieve the goals of the manifesto.

      Reply
    • Sam Gunsch

      April 13th, 2016

      Energy analysts from outside Alberta are pointing out the awful irony right now for the pipeline advocacy of any AB gov’t, progressive AB NDP or conservative parties. The huge price decline has caused the job losses in AB. Nothing else matters.

      And re pipeline viability: Energy markets have changed rapidly as we know, and that’s making irrelevant in the short or medium term any LEAP proposal to not invest in more fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines.

      From Ipolitics site:
      Ross Belot is a retired senior manager with one of Canada’s largest energy companies.
      https://ipolitics.ca/2016/04/11/build-a-dozen-pipelines-alberta-it-wont-help/

      excerpt: ‘Alberta’s problem is twofold: Its oilsands have been buried by fracked American oil that is both higher-value and cheaper to produce, while longer-term they face marginalization in a world committed to weaning itself off carbon.

      So another pipeline isn’t needed; oilsands production won’t be expanding much in the foreseeable future, if it all. Alberta needs to figure out how to make the most of the infrastructure it has in place. Money spent on a pipeline right now would be money wasted. But Notley can’t say that aloud — not while also delivering the bad news on her province’s finances and fighting back against the implications of the so-called Leap Manifesto.’

      And at the link below, more on why pipeline economic justifications are disappearing.

      Getting to tidewater for higher prices does not apply any more. If Ross Belot’s arguments are wrong, some AB energy analysts should speak up and contradict him…

      http://ipolitics.ca/2016/03/01/the-business-case-for-energy-east-just-fell-apart/

      re: Energy East:

      ‘Yes, it was a brilliant idea for the Canadian oil industry … in 2013. But if you’re a Canadian oil producer in 2016, it doesn’t look like such a good idea anymore. It may not be a good idea for another 10 years. If ever.

      A few weeks ago, Scotiabank CEO Brian Porter demonstrated how far behind the times Energy East’s supporters are right now. The pipeline, he said, “would be a quick solution to get Canada’s energy to global markets and reduce that discount that Canadian producers face today.”

      But the industry doesn’t face that crude price discount today. The spread between the Alberta crude price and the U.S. Gulf Coast price is now lower than the transportation cost to get the oil there. RBN Energy recently reported that spread as $6.50 per barrel. The pipeline cost to get it down there runs between US $7.50 and $10 per barrel.’

      Reply
      • Nic Slater

        April 14th, 2016

        What he said!

        Reply
  3. Joe Vipond

    April 13th, 2016

    A short note on the Leap Manifesto debate.

    A major debate on the direction of the province (country? World?) coalesced around last weekends NDP convention. And there has been a steady stream of commentary about the political wisdom and/or scientific necessity of making a radical leap to a new economy. Since only everybody else has weighed in already, I thought I’d give it my two cents too.

    We, as humans, are driven by basic drives and emotions. The basic drives are simple… hunger, thirst, sex. Beyond that things get a bit more complicated, once emotions come to play. The two basic emotional drivers, when it comes to the economy and future, are fear and greed. Ask anybody involved with the stock market, these two drivers fuel all swings, and can be seen as models for our political response to the economy as well.

    Up until early 2015, our provincial and federal policies were overwhelmingly fueled by greed. Grow GDP. More jobs. Mor¬e government revenue. A few smatterings of fear were twittering in the background, but not very loud. Some people understood the illogic of “putting all our eggs in one basket”, and the impending climate crisis, but greed was easily able to shout those down.

    Since early 2015, things have changed. We are no longer greedy. There is fear driving policy discussion¬ on both sides now. In the “status quo” camp, people are afraid of plummeting oil prices, loss of jobs, imploding government coffers. The future looks bleak. Hence we must get a pipeline to tidewater. We must support our foundering economy. How can you possibly support transitioning away from a fossil fuel driven economy, when it is our lifeblood?

    But the other camp’s fears have only grown, and have become adopted by ever more people. The ice caps are melting. We just forgot to have a winter. Every summer the fire toll grows larger. We are surrounded by evidence that our climate system is rapidly collapsing. And that is terrifying for many. So how can we continue to build infrastructure devoted to fossil fuels? How can we afford not to transition to a safer economy?

    The namecalling from both sides (naïve, misguided, non-scientific, etc), derives from the fact that we don’t understand each others fears. Both fears are very valid, and, unfortunately, drive policies in two very different directions.

    Myself, I’m torn. I see the political realities and necessities. But I also see the scientific realities and necessities. And I’m afraid (very afraid), that if we look down the path far enough, physics will triumph over economics and political science. And everybody loses.

    Reply
    • andy

      April 13th, 2016

      very good rant if you believe the climate change bullshit to many scientist’s are walking away from said bullshit because of bad climate model’s poor number’s and a rush to doom’s day, My personal suggestion would be to stop the fear mongering nonsense and get real about more and better technology we bare already the cleanest oil producer in the world same applies to our coal in seem completely stupid to me not to use the resources we have it abundence to build green bullshit that cost’s us unbelievable money and dosent work even 40% as efficiently does it not make sense to spend that money on better and better technology to futher improve the already great control’s we have??? as i see it we are about to drive canada broke on climate bullshit when the like’s of india china pakistan even those in the us threw the bakersfield oil fields that do nothing to clean up there own climate , I think it’s time to wake up and stop dreaming about some goofy eutopia and get real

      Reply
      • Val Jobson

        April 13th, 2016

        Andy, the scientists are not walking away from human-caused climate change; whoever told you that was lying. Sorry, but the real world now IS about climate change.

        Reply
      • Expat Albertan

        April 13th, 2016

        Why do rabid, right-wing trolls always refuse to use punctuation and proper sentence structure? You can spot them every time.

        Reply
        • Keith Wiley

          April 14th, 2016

          That’s a great observation, about trolls. I speculate it’s because they are paid by the word, as theu churn this out in their little cubicle in a downtown Calgary Tower. If you don’t get paid for periods, why waste time typing them?

          Reply
  4. April 13th, 2016

    I though that this was well written (to be fair, Dave’s work is always well written), and even challenged me on some points (about the Alberta NDP disaffiliating with the federal NDP, how the Alberta NDP can use this fight to their benefit). I applaud Dave for his blog, to which I will now subscribe.

    Reply
  5. political ranger

    April 13th, 2016

    Seriously David, we must have an NDP gov’t at any cost?
    I don’t buy it; not for one second.
    Mostly because in that circumstance there is no way to distinguish the NDP from the PC’s. We’ve already had 40 some years of a gov’t ruling at any and all costs.
    But also because the Notley gang is being called out for a poorly conceived, economically and scientifically invalid and badly executed (so called) Climate Change Plan. That’s what happens when you have political operators and spin doctors build something. Sure, it’s the way things are done in Albaturda. Doesn’t mean it’s right, or effective. Despite kleins never-ending reign of incompetence.
    Rather than circle the wagons and try to defend nonsense and foolishness, a government with depth, strength and vision would rectify it’s mistakes, become knowledgeable and competent and roll out policies that actually resolve the issue.
    Now, there’s a gov’t ” that stands a chance of working”!

    Reply
  6. Keith Wiley

    April 13th, 2016

    David, you badly missed the mark with this column. And I think Notley is missing the mark as well. Notley is making the same mistake Mulcair made

    Targeting the trailing edge of public opinion doesn’t win

    It’s hard to blame Rachel Notley for desperately holding out the faint hope of a pipeline to the economically-panicked Alberta electorate. It’s completely in the NDP heart to look out first for the well-being of working people, who actually want to keep their homes together. The provincial budget has no money, and seemingly no options to rapidly replace the backbone of the Alberta economy.

    So, can you really blame the Alberta NDP for resorting to the tried-and-true provincial tactic of blaming external forces for the economic problems? Ottawa-bashing has long been resorted to by Alberta Premiers. But in this case, those external forces are the environmentalists, the ‘keep-it-in-the-grounder’ climate change activists, who normally would be a natural NDP constituency. The result is the painful polarization we have seen at the Edmonton convention of the Party.

    But Notley and the Alberta NDP are making the same mistake Mulcair made, resorting to a non-NDP type message (no deficits! yay pipeline!) to play to the polls. That is chasing the trailing edge of public opinion, the economic insecurity, the fear factor for people who want things to be back to normal. The NDP lost the federal election by not offering a vision for the future. Now Notley’s in the same spot, offering safe, old-style economics. Instead the NDP should own the vision for change, like the Leap Manifesto, that is inspiring many next generation activists.

    There are also some hard economic reasons that investing $12-15 billion in a pipeline to tidewater won’t work.

    1. The oil price crash has completely shut down the planned expansion of tar sands production. Nothing significant is planned after 2020.

    2. Existing pipelines to the US will handle current production levels.

    3. The price differential between tidewater bitumen and US destined bitumen has gone down and will likely erode further, particularly when the short-term Bakken fracking boom winds down.

    4. The pipeline could well become a white elephant, a ‘stranded asset’ if the planet does the right thing and moves fast away from fossil fuels.

    If Alberta’s NDP really wants to level with their citizens, they should fess up, there’s no choice but to move on and build a diversified economy… there is no going back to the oil patch boom and bust days.

    Notley tries hard to sound convincing as a climate change realist… but if you look closely at Alberta’s emissions plan, it is actually a plan for increasing Green House Gas emissions. Shutting down coal-fired electricity is a great carbon reduction, but the province is just using that to make room for more tar sands emissions. It seems reasonable because you can make more money selling oil than you can from coal fired electricity. But overall, emissions will increase under the plan. It’s going the wrong way to reduce the threat of climate change.

    (As an interesting side note: BCs Christie Clark is in a similar position to Notley. She promised huge money from Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) exports, but the economics have completely soured. The province also has to do some major manipulating to make room for LNG carbon emissions, much like shutting down coal in Alberta. But many experts now say the profits aren’t there and LNG may never get built, ever, in BC. The BC Premier, with few other options, is still holding out the promise of big bucks.)

    Notley and Alberta are in a tough economic spot, there’s no doubt. It hurts Alberta families for sure. But there aren’t many realistic options. It’s time to swallow that long-standing provincial swagger and plead with Ottawa for massive green economic and infrastructure stimulus. $12 billion can generate a lot of jobs and economic activity. Time to offer Albertans something different than the one-trick pony conservatives have always offered: selling oil.

    Reply
    • Joe Vipond

      April 13th, 2016

      Nicely done, Keith. I think, you nailed it.

      Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 13th, 2016

      Keith: Thank you for this thoughtful reply. I agree with some parts, and disagree with others. I am skeptical that we will be done with petroleum as quickly or as thoroughly as some of us might like, hope or expect. I expect and predict a rebound in the price of oil. That said, I acknowledge the truth of your point that a new pipeline could very well become a stranded asset. Nor do I really get it – price differentials notwithstanding – how building a pipeline will cause Alberta to get all that much more for its expensive tarsands output. All that said, in a democracy, governments can’t move too far beyond their electorates’ beliefs if they want to be elected, and given what the Wildrose Party might do in office, it’s extremely important for the NDP to be re-elected. Something I enjoy about disagreeing with people on the left is both the quality of the discourse and, typically, the absence of abuse and rage as part of the discussion. DJC

      Reply
    • andy

      April 13th, 2016

      g
      nice rant but the people of alberta are not interestsed in living in unheated tent’s at forty below and riding the horse they cant afford to feed down to the creek for a bucket of water i think it’s time we wake up and do the best job we can do with the resources we have instead of dreaming up new way’s to be politically correct and going broke

      Reply
    • Sam Gunsch

      April 13th, 2016

      re links below provide evidence for Keith Wiley’s points from a former energy exec.

      Wiley: 2. Existing pipelines to the US will handle current production levels.

      3. The price differential between tidewater bitumen and US destined bitumen has gone down and will likely erode further, particularly when the short-term Bakken fracking boom winds down.
      ================

      http://ipolitics.ca/2016/03/01/the-business-case-for-energy-east-just-fell-apart/

      and 2 days ago:

      https://ipolitics.ca/2016/04/11/build-a-dozen-pipelines-alberta-it-wont-help/

      ===============

      From the analysis, at the links, by Ross Belot, a former energy exec, our AB oil is reaching tidewater thru the USA and the discount is so small now it’s irrelevant. If Belot is wrong, AB analysts should call out his arguments.

      But of course the decline in need for pipelines is not something anyone will hear much about in AB’s business sections of main stream media or conservatives or the industry itself, so long as they can pound the AB NDP with failure to deliver.

      So the party I support, the AB NDP also have to stick with the full-on promotion. Even though the facts have changed. A lot.

      Reply
  7. Curtis in Calgary

    April 13th, 2016

    “At any rate, in the heat of the moment – not to mention the wake of former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis’s pro-Leap speech Saturday night – NDP delegates chose to ignore Ms. Notley’s plea and handed the right-wing opposition a club with which to batter what will likely soon be the only social democratic government in Canada.”

    Which just exposes for all to see once again, that far too many Dippers prefer to honour the mythical wisdom of ancient political leaders who NEVER once had to deal with the political exigencies of actually governing, to a current elected Premier of a majority government in the here and now.

    The next step will be to idolize and elevate the oft-proclaimed anti-capitalist (another myth) third generation of the NDP’s royal family (irony alert) to the high altar ideological leadership that will lead their party into the promised land … of honourable but perpetual opposition with their averred political dignity intact.

    And with that, the country reverts to our longstanding status as a 2+ party system.

    Reply
  8. Mike Hudema

    April 13th, 2016

    I don’t think folks are demanding perfection but people like myself are saying the Alberta (and other) government(s) need to do more to meet the demands of climate science. Alberta’s climate plan, while miles ahead of the previous Alberta governments, doesn’t actually lead to any real reductions i.e. emissions will be the same in 2030 as they are today. It also isn’t the “most progressive and effective climate change policy in the country” despite the gov’t line.

    The science of climate change is demanding decarbonization (by 2030) if we are to reach the 1.5 C target (essential for millions of people on the planet) and deep reductions by 2030 if we are to reach the 2.0 C target (which gives us a coin flips chance of stabilizing climate change before it spins out of our control). In either of those contexts building new pipelines makes absolutely no sense especially for a government that says they believe in climate change.

    Pushing pipelines may be the government’s electoral solution but its not a climate solution, an economic solution or a jobs solution. If the government wants jobs speed renewables, if it wants more revenue lets look at fixing our broken taxation system. The LEAP may not have been presented correctly but it does have some ideas we need to come to terms with. I happen to believe Albertans are ready for that conversation because denying our climate realities doesn’t really help anyone.

    Reply
    • Chris

      April 16th, 2016

      Oh, the irony. Of a couple thousand green evangelists flying in from all corners to Edmonton (or Rio, or Paris, or Copenhagen), eating tonnes of fresh vegetables trucked in from California, gossiping away on their devices shipped in from Asia, drinking organic, fair-trade coffee and wearing organic fair-trade cotton shipped in from South America and Africa, advocating, nay, DEMANDING, that the hydrocarbon energy industry (and hundreds of thousands of Alberta citizens) pay almost the full price. Eleven percent (11%) of the emissions, but one-hundred percent (100%) of the responsibilities.

      Reply
  9. Simon Renouf

    April 13th, 2016

    I’m always a bit sceptical of politicians labelling someone else’s arguments as “tone deaf” (Rachel Notley), let alone “garbage” (Gil McGowan). Since when is it automatically a good thing to support the Energy East pipeline that would transport diluted bitumen across thousands of waterways, and create two new tanker ports, in exchange for very limited economic gain? Did I miss the unanimous vote on this?

    Presumably “tone deaf” doesn’t mean “you’re wrong”, but rather “please don’t talk about this right now”. It may be that Energy East is never going to happen (there are over 100 first nations communities along the route) so has the Alberta NDP decided that we can take the “credit” for supporting it, without having to suffer the environmental cost if, on the off chance, it goes ahead? Isn’t it better to show some environmental leadership? Standing up for the environment will show Albertans, especially younger Albertans, that we have principles and backbone.

    In today’s New York Times US senator US Senator Jeff Merkley (D, Oregon) announced himself as the first senator to support Bernie Sanders for president. This is what he said about Bernie Sanders’ position on the environment: “He has passionately advocated for pivoting from fossil fuels to renewable energy to save our planet from global warming — the greatest threat facing humanity. He recognizes that to accomplish this we must keep the vast bulk of the world’s fossil fuels in the ground.”

    Tone deaf? I don’t think so..

    Reply
  10. Val Jobson

    April 13th, 2016

    I also question whether a pipeline will be economically feasible in the end; but it did get my Alberta dander up to have outsiders pushing the Leap Manifesto on our government; and people I respect have made some substantial criticisms of it.

    I’m not an NDP member, but I do hope the Notley government stays in power for a long time because I think they are the most useful government we’ve had since Lougheed at least. They’ve been juggling on a tightrope and I hope they can keep it up.

    Reply
  11. Pogogo

    April 13th, 2016

    What can be be added? We are witnessing the end of social policy. We are now at the mercy of the self inflated elites who chose up sides based on money and/or lineage and to some extent a perception of superiority. See you in the black hole!

    https://youtu.be/GFcTjnHnSQ8

    Reply
  12. Sassy

    April 13th, 2016

    I’m still surprised that a document that came from outside the party and did not grow out of NDP grassroots discussions took such a prominent position at their national convention. A similar declaration from Leadnow or Greenpeace or the Pembina Institute would not have gained the same traction. I think it’s important to analyze why this document was created (with the name Leap Manifesto) and thrust onto the NDP convention (why not a Liberal or Green Party convention) at this particular time. I can’t find the news article now but I recall reading Shannon Phillips stating the document was a surprise to the provincial party. As for energy choices, Notley IS promoting renewable energy so, in that regard, let’s see what the budget delivers tomorrow.

    Reply
  13. Expat Albertan

    April 13th, 2016

    Before we all go off half-cocked for or against the LEAP manifesto, let me remind everyone that the party did not vote to adopt it, but, rather, to study and debate it. There is a long way to go before the leadership convention and minds will probably be changed, one way or the other, by the time that happens. At the very least, it may actually be a rather clever ‘trial balloon’ strategy to see the reaction. That the conservative press hates it is encouraging, as they are an always reliable reverse-barometer for good ideas.

    Reply
  14. April 13th, 2016

    A little disappointed, David, to see you suggest that Leap Manifesto supporters have ulterior motives or some kind of hidden agenda. I’m long enough in the tooth to remember red-baiting as a rhetorical tactic, and this is uncomfortably similar.
    .
    That being said, the LM is coming in for somewhat of a drubbing at my place–more than I expected. You’re welcome to join in. I’m a signatory, but there’s a very healthy debate brewing all over, and the document is not beyond criticism by any means.

    It points in a good direction, for a party that hasn’t had any for some time. It’s a statement of aims, not a blueprint. Not even very radical aims, either– and perfectly realizable democratically.

    Reply
  15. Hurtin' Albertan

    April 13th, 2016

    With advances in battery technologies and the diving costs of electric vehicle technology and wind/solar power generation together with the worldwide war on carbon I would say that there is much risk in fossil fuel investment in the not to distant future:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-06/wind-and-solar-are-crushing-fossil-fuels

    http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/04/04/Oil-Bubble-Burst-Year/

    http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-ev-oil-crisis/

    In light of the above, governments should not be sinking public dollars into dying technologies and industries.

    Reply
    • Chris

      April 16th, 2016

      Until we develop economically feasible technology to ship in our fresh California vegetables in February, our electronic devices from Asia, replace every plastic item on the planet, and allow us to visit Aunt Jane in Nova Scotia, we won’t be doing much environmental help. Priuses and wind turbines are all good and nice (if you’re not a bird, that is) but are not going to put much of a dent into the emissions problem.

      Reply
  16. jerrymacgp

    April 14th, 2016

    Does Energy East or any other pipeline promote fossil fuel use and contribute to climate change? Or does it simply shift fossil fuel purchasing from ethically questionable overseas sources to home-grown sources, thereby employing thousands of Canadians? Does anyone really think the Saudis, the Iranians or the Russians will stop pumping oil, or the Chinese will stop burning it, if we don’t build these pipelines?

    Renewables should be a part of the energy picture, and economic incentives should be shifted in favour of renewables and away from hydrocarbon combustion, but IMHO it is reckless and naive to think that Canadians, especially those living outside the big three megacities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, can simply stop burning hydrocarbons to heat their homes, power their vehicles and generate electricity in the next 10 years. Wind power is unreliable; geothermal needs far more research; hydro is dependent on geography and has a huge impact on habitats; and nuclear is just plain too dangerous. Conservation is a bit like ending government waste to fix a deficit: it can reduce energy demand by a few percentage points, but to get the kind of order-of-magnitude reductions that are needed simply won’t happen.

    There are a lot of proposals in Leap with which I agree, like putting an end to so-called “free trade” agreements; but hydrocarbon-sourced energy will still be with us after we are all long gone and our grandchildren are in charge. They might be less dependent on it than we are now, but completely carbon-free? I don’t think so.

    Reply
    • Val Jobson

      April 15th, 2016

      I’ve read that Energy East would be for export; I think Irving said recently they would keep on importing oil.

      I think renewable energy is more developed than you think. Geothermal energy has been used more outside of Canada by Canadians: http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/11/19/GeothermalPower/ http://www.cangea.ca/

      The chageover s happenng now, though it does need to go faster
      http://grist.org/climate-energy/9-figures-to-help-you-understand-the-state-of-renewable-energy/

      I think it will take place in our lifetime and not wait for the grandchildren
      https://grist.org/renewable-energy/

      Reply
    • Sam Gunsch

      April 16th, 2016

      The framing implied at the root of your comment attempting to critique the Leap is essentially a straw man argument.

      Climate change makes it necessary to end the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and phase out it’s use by transitioning to renewables..ASAP…that’s Leap’s policy on fossil fuels.

      It’s not about shutting down fossil fuel use tomorrow.

      It’s about the richest and most technologically advanced nations starting and implementing with some urgency the necessary world-wide transition off fossil fuels.

      And Canada and Alberta have contributed 10x+ to the existing CO2 in the atmosphere to achiever our wealth. If we don’t lead by example, we can’t ethically expect any other parts of the world to follow suit.

      Reply
  17. Chris

    April 16th, 2016

    “(LEAP Manifesto)…has given fodder to the far right.”

    Well, it has done that, but more ominously, for you NDpers, is that is has given fodder and a baseball bat to Justin Trudeau.

    Reply
  18. David Grant

    April 23rd, 2016

    I read the Leap Manifesto and it is like all manifestos something that lays out broad ideas that are for discussion in the broader public. The debate was about discussing not implementing the ideas. I think that there is a lot that any government can pick and choose from and it leaves the means to achieve these ends up to governments themselves. In terms of the right-wing opposition, they will always find something to blame the NDP. If it isn’t the economy, it is something other failure that they will try to blame us with. The government needs to fulfill as many promises as it can realistically can in the next few years and make the case that this is in province’s best interests for the future. One thing that I find disappointing is the language that the proponents of the Leap Manifesto live in Ontario and want to keep Alberta down. I am born and raised in Calgary, but I have a significant number of family members living in Ottawa. I support much of the Leap Manifesto because the issues deal with the future of the planet for which my family lives in. This is something I would expect from the Tories and right-wingers, not fellow progressives. If you want to criticize the Manifesto, that if fine, but leave the Alberta alienation out of it.

    Reply

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