Manifesto backed by prominent NDP supporters released ahead of election
Published Tuesday, September 15, 2015 9:44AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 15, 2015 7:09PM EDT
As Tom Mulcair attempts to convince Canadians that the NDP is a moderate choice in the upcoming federal election, a number of prominent party supporters have strategically released a radical manifesto ahead of the Oct. 19 vote.
Speaking to CTV’s Power Play on Tuesday, best-selling author and activist Naomi Klein said the election was the best time to release the manifesto, which calls for an overhaul of the country’s capitalist economy, as politicians’ eyes are “focused so tightly on the polls.”
“Elections are times when our country talks about politics a lot more than usual and we talk about the direction we want our country to go. So that’s why we launched it ahead of the election,” said Klein.
“We also launched it ahead of a major UN climate summit that’s going to be happening after the election in November.”
The “leap manifesto,” signed by a number of prominent NDP supporters, including former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis, is probably not welcome news for Mulcair.
Its calls for actions stand in stark contrast to the practical platform Mulcair is offering, which includes balanced budgets, openness to free trade deals and sustainable development of Alberta’s oilsands.
Despite the number of NDP supporters on the manifesto’s list of signatories, Klein insisted the document is non-partisan. She pointed out that signatories of all political stripes signed, including Roy McMurtry, a former Ontario chief justice and former provincial Progressive Conservative cabinet minister.
“This has already been spun as some sort of document supporting one party or another. The truth is it’s an entirely non-partisan effort. There are people who have signed who support all of the parties,” said Klein.
Klein added that the number and variety of prominent figures who have signed the manifesto speaks to “the fact that many people really are alarmed by what they’re seeing and experiencing.” She encouraged all of the federal leaders to consider the manifesto’s proposals.
The document, signed by more than 100 actors, musicians, aboriginal leaders, environmentalists, labour unions and other activists, pressures the next government to ease Canada entirely off fossil fuels by 2050 while restructuring the economy in the process.
According to the manifesto document, that transformation would turn the entire capitalist system into a Utopia where the economy is "in balance with the earth's limits," jobs "are designed to systematically eliminate racial and gender inequality," agriculture is "far more localized and ecologically based," and low-carbon sectors of the economy, such as caregiving, the arts and social work, prosper.
The manifesto also support a belief in “energy democracy,” whereby energy sources are controlled by communities, rather than private companies. And it calls for an end to all corporate trade deals that interfere with local economies or regulate corporations.
Klein says the manifesto encompasses the vision Canadians have been hoping for.
“I think this is going to be bringing more people into the political debate. They’re going to be using the manifesto to challenge the candidates in their ridings.”
With files from the Canadian Press