The Great Leap


A faction of Canada’s New Democratic Party presented the Leap Manifesto ( at the NDP’s convention in Edmonton Alberta. The Leap is a call to action on climate change.

The writers of the Leap are obviously terrified of the devil—the one in the details. For example, the Leap calls an immediate cessation of all oil pipeline construction to wean us off fossil fuels.  This is similar to a call for the immediate cessation of all eating as a means of weight loss. Stopping all oil pipeline construction would throw thousands of out of work.  But wait, the Manifesto has an answer:

“Shifting to an economy in balance with the earth’s limits also means expanding the sectors of our economy that are already low carbon: caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts and public-interest media. “

Of course! All those people who work in the energy sector can become nurses, teachers, social workers, artists, and journalists. Why didn’t anybody think of this before? So how will we pay for it?

“The money we need to pay for this great transformation is available — we just need the right policies to release it. Like an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Financial transaction taxes. Increased resource royalties. Higher income taxes on corporations and wealthy people. A progressive carbon tax. Cuts to military spending. All of these are based on a simple “polluter pays” principle and hold enormous promise.”

And how do we do all this in a single leap?

“We call for town hall meetings across the country where residents can gather to democratically define what a genuine leap to the next economy means in their communities.”

Well, that should do it.

The Manifesto concedes:

“This is a great deal to take on all at once, but such are the times in which we live.”

Indeed.  Earlier times had the luxury of coming up with actual plans.

The Manifesto ends with a call for political action:

“And so we call on all those seeking political office to seize this opportunity and embrace the urgent need for transformation. This is our sacred duty to those this country harmed in the past, to those suffering needlessly in the present, and to all who have a right to a bright and safe future.”

“Now is the time for boldness.”

Yes, getting politicians to sign on to a vague, grandiose plan is a proven recipe for getting things done. Now that’s a leap

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