The heavily supported, most progressive and most needed policy platform since the new deal
There are times when progress doesn’t move forward fast enough, if it moves at all. Sometimes, in order to tackle the problems of the day, it requires a giant leap. It can be argued that in order to tackle the biggest challenges of our time, such as climate change and our fossil fuel economy, nothing short of such a leap will do.
Following a showing of her new documentary “This Changes Everything,” at the Toronto International Film Festival, activist and author Naomi Klein announced the launch of the Leap Manifesto, a petition calling for the overhaul of Canada’s economy.
This ultimate progressive policy platform was not just authored by Klein of course. It involved 60 activists with varying progressive priorities such as famous environmentalist David Suzuki, broadcaster Stephen Lewis and author Maude Barlow.
Initial signatories also included representatives from Black Lives Matter, Idle No More and the Anglican Church. All told, 50 organizations and 100 individual signed on including many celebrity Canadian activists such as Ellen Page, Arcade Fire, Neil Young, Rachel McAdams, Donald Sutherland and even the apolitical Leonard Cohen.
The Leap Manifesto outlines 15 demands that our politicians must adhere to, if we are to achieve an all-inclusive, 100% clean energy economy in the next 35 years. If this sounds ambitious, that’s because it is. It will require the country to come together as it did following the great depression, the last progressive leap.
Among the 15 demands includes a basic annual income in order to eliminate poverty, localized and ecology-based agricultural systems, the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and an end to international trade deals that restrict local economic decisions. In other words, trade deals that overturn government policies.
Also included in the manifesto are cuts to military spending, establishing a national daycare program and raising taxes on the rich, corporations and carbon. Obviously these are just a few, but you get the idea. For a full list of the Leap Manifesto’s demands, click here.
Naomi Klein said of the Manifesto: “If Canadians are going to move beyond the relentless messaging that we have to choose between jobs and climate action, we’re going to need more than slogans, we’re going to need specifics. This is our attempt to do that, to lay out a nuts and bolts policy agenda.”
Former broadcaster and Ontario NDP politician, Stephen Lewis said the manifesto will be circulated at the upcoming UN meetings on sustainable development and climate change. An opportunity for Canada to finally try and influence the world in a progressive way, rather than the usually divisive Stephen Harper way.
That is partially the point here. While this great manifesto was written mainly by Canadians to pressure the eventual winner of the October Canadian Election, Canada is not alone in the world. This strong policy statement can be used by any developed country as a guideline for their own more prosperous green economy.
As Lewis lays out, “Whomever wins this campaign on October 19, this manifesto then becomes a singular agenda for Canada for ongoing debate and implementation, and it gives everyone a sense that there is a vision out there that can transform this country again into a leader in the world.” What we really need in this matter, is a planet of leaders.
This manifesto is getting a lot of attention so far. Even if Canadian newspapers are quick to dismiss or mock it, calling it “the end of capitalism” for example, it is still heavily backed by politicians, musicians, actors, activists, people with loud voices should they choose to use them.
I wrote a couple weeks ago about the boring state of politics in Canada. A country where even the left wing parties are catering to the center in hopes of winning the election. I titled the piece “Where is the Canadian Bernie Sanders?” A question I asked given the lack of excitement in the election and the lack of a progressive leader.
I didn’t have an answer at the time, but it’s possible I found one here. Not in a party leader or random politician, not necessarily in an activist or successful entertainer, but in an idea. An idea created collectively that can resonate across the country, down to the United States and all over the world.
We finally have a worthy blueprint for change