Art by Yousef Amairi

Art by Yousef Amairi
the struggle continues

April 09, 2016


‪#‎NDP2016‬ brass on ‪#‎LeapManifesto‬ as a "discussion paper indicates they'll treat it like their policy book: ignore it
People’s Voice Commentary

Not surprisingly, the “Leap Manifesto” has been arrogantly dismissed by the right-wing talking heads, and ignored by the NDP leadership which avoids any serious critique of neoliberal austerity politics. But the document has stirred wide discussion among left-minded activists involved in struggles around labour, indigenous, environmental and social equality issues. Having little confidence in the NDP (at least under Thomas Mulcair) or the market-oriented Greens, many of these activists are searching for strategies to inject the demands of mass movements into the electoral arena.
The overall merits and shortcomings of the Leap Manifesto will be the subject of further debate, during and after the election. We note, for example, that the manifesto calls for cuts in military spending (unlike any of the Parliamentary parties!), but does not explicitly oppose imperialist wars. The manifesto is powerful in its call for indigenous sovereignty, but not about the national rights of the Quebecois(e) and the Acadians. Oddly, it says little about labour rights, or about Bill C-51 and the dangerous growth of the corporate police state apparatus in Canada.
The platform of the Communist Party of Canada does address these issues, and it goes in a more radical direction, projecting the goal of replacing capitalism with a socialist economy. The CPC platform also has many parallels with the policies advocated in “the Leap” document.
For example, the Leap Manifesto calls for “truly just renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit”, along with opposition to oil and gas pipelines, fracking, and increased tanker traffic.
The CPC calls for closing the tar sands industry within five years (with job guarantees for the current workforce), and rejecting the Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan, Energy East and Line 9 pipeline projects. The party’s platform advocates high-speed rail, free urban transit, massive investment in renewable energy programs, nationalization of energy resources under democratic control, phasing out coal and nuclear power, banning biofuels , etc.
The manifesto says that “wherever possible communities should collectively control these new energy systems”, and that “as an alternative to the profit-gouging of private companies and the remote bureaucracy of some centralized state ones, we can create innovative ownership structures: democratically run, paying living wages and keeping much-needed revenue in communities.” The Communist Party calls for a People’s Energy Plan, including public ownership and democratic control of energy and natural resources.
The Leap urges higher wage jobs with fewer work hours, very similar to the Communist platform proposals for higher wages, job creation, and a 32-hour work week with no loss in take home pay.
The Leap calls for full implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as does the CPC.
The Leap advocates “a universal program to build energy efficient homes, and retrofit existing housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities and neighbourhoods will benefit first and receive job training and opportunities that reduce poverty over the long term.” The Communist platform calls housing “a basic human right,” and demands emergency action to build one million united of affordable social housing.
Unlike the NDP, the Leap Manifesto calls for “an end to all trade deals that interfere with our attempts to rebuild local economies, regulate corporations and stop damaging extractive projects.” The Communist Party demands withdrawal from all current and pending pro-corporate trade pacts.
Both the Leap and the Communist platform call for higher income taxes on corporations and wealthy people, and for cuts to military spending.
We invite readers to check out both documents and draw your own conclusions. The Communist platform is online at Leap Manifesto is found at
(The above article is from the October 1-15, 2015, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)

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