Citizen Action Monitor

“The NDP is afraid of being associated with this radical document,” says Naomi Klein of Leap Manifesto

Klein, on Democracy Now, talks about the election, Harper, the Leap Manifesto, NDP’s rejection of it, and why the NDP has fallen in the polls

No 1469 Posted by fw, October 5, 2015

“We don’t want our government to continue to be this climate criminal on the world stage, which we have been under Stephen Harper for far too long. But we spend a lot of time—because we have this very extreme government keeping the Bush dream alive, we spend a lot of time saying no…. the political parties in Canada are having to respond to it. Some are running towards it…. Some are running away from it, like the NDP is afraid of being associated with this radical document. But yet, you know, tens of thousands of Canadians have signed it…not one of these three major parties has made climate change an election issue, The Leap Manifesto gives them [voters] an opportunity to say, ‘OK, this is where I’m casting my ballot, but this is what I actually believe in.’ And our hope is that we’ll end up with a government that is not the Harper government.”Naomi Klein, on Democracy Now

To watch the 6:48-minute interview and access the full transcript, click on the following linked title. Otherwise, below is an embedded video of the interview followed by a greatly abridged transcript, focusing exclusively on Klein’s comments, with added subheadings.

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Naomi Klein on The Leap Manifesto & What a System of Climate and Economic Justice Looks Like interviewed on Democracy Now, October 5, 2015

[Introduction]

Ahead of Canada’s October 19 elections, a coalition of Canadian labor, indigenous rights, climate justice, anti-poverty and migrant rights organizations have released The Leap Manifesto, a plan to transition away from fossil fuels to a 100 percent clean economy by the middle of this century. “A lot of the polling in Canada is showing that people don’t want just gradual, incremental change,” says Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. “They’re ready for more dramatic change. And this is why we’re seeing more support for The Leap Manifesto. Stephen Harper is an incredibly unpopular prime minister, and because of that, there are a lot of people who are going to be voting strategically for whoever they believe has the best chance of beating Harper, because there’s a lot of concern about splitting the vote.” We speak with Klein and Avi Lewis, the duo behind the new climate change documentary, This Changes Everything, about the effort, as well as Canadian politics.

ABRIDGED TRANSCRIPT

Under Stephen Harper, Canada has been a climate criminal on the world stage

In Canada we have been part of a process of bringing different social movements together to try to not just talk about what we don’t want. You know, we don’t want more pipelines. We don’t want more fossil fuel infrastructure. We don’t want our government to continue to be this climate criminal on the world stage, which we have been under Stephen Harper for far too long. But we spend a lot of time—because we have this very extreme government keeping the Bush dream alive, we spend a lot of time saying no. And, you know, one of the things that’s come out of this project is that we need to have a fully articulated yes, a fully articulated yes of what the next economy looks like, because a lot of what holds us back is just this idea that there is no alternative, that, yeah, you can fight austerity, but then what you’ll end up with is even worse.

The Leap Manifesto maps out how we can transition away from fossil fuels very rapidly

So, we were really fortunate to be part of this meeting of 60 movement leaders, from labor, indigenous rights, climate justice, anti-poverty, migrant rights, in Toronto for two days. And out of that meeting came this document, which we called The Leap Manifesto. And what it does is it maps out how we can transition away from fossil fuels very rapidly in line with what scientists are telling us we must do and what engineers are telling us we now can do because of these breakthroughs in technology, so getting to 100 percent renewable electricity within two decades, getting to a 100 percent clean economy by mid-century, but doing it in a way that systematically closes inequalities along racial and gender lines, so bringing energy democracy, control over resources to indigenous communities first, to front-line communities first.

“The NDP is afraid of being associated with this radical document”, but it has been widely embraced in Canada and beyond

And what’s been amazing is the way people have responded to this, both in Canada and around the world, because now there’s plans to write a Leap Manifesto in Australia. We’re hearing from people all over Europe who want to do the same. There’s even some interest in the U.S. And, you know, it’s—the political parties in Canada are having to respond to it. Some are running towards it, like the Green Party, saying this is—you know, “Our platform has much in common with it.” Some are running away from it, like the NDP is afraid of being associated with this radical document. But yet, you know, tens of thousands of Canadians have signed it, including people like Leonard Cohen and Ellen Page. And it’s just—what we wanted was to put this on the agenda in the election and force a discussion. And it’s happened.

The NDP has dropped in the polls because they’ve moved to the centre, while the Liberals have shifted to the left

And interestingly, the reason why that left party [NDP] seems to be dropping behind is because they moved to the center, and they’re being outflanked by the Liberals, who have moved to the left. And a lot of the polling in Canada is showing that people want—don’t want just gradual, incremental change. They’re ready for more dramatic change. And this is why we’re seeing more support for The Leap Manifesto. But, you know, look, Stephen Harper is an incredibly unpopular prime minister, and because of that, there are a lot of people who are going to be voting strategically for whoever they believe has the best chance of beating Harper, because there’s a lot of concern about splitting the vote.

Voters can believe in The Leap Manifest and yet still vote for the NDP as a way to get rid of Harper

And that’s the other thing that we’re doing with The Leap Manifesto. If people are voting for a party that doesn’t reflect their full aspirations, particularly on climate change because not one of these three major parties has made climate change an election issue, The Leap Manifesto gives them an opportunity to say, “OK, this is where I’m casting my ballot, but this is what I actually believe in.” And our hope is that we’ll end up with a government that is not the Harper government, maybe it will be a coalition government, and it will be looking for, OK, what mix of policy platforms from the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens are we going to embrace and make our platform, and that The Leap Manifesto can really have an influence on that process.

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