Rachel Notley calls Leap Manifesto 'naive' and 'ill-informed'

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is repudiating the controversial Leap Manifesto, but says she doesn't feel the Alberta NDP needs to split from the federal party.

Alberta's premier says no need to split from federal NDP over fossil fuel and pipeline issues

Rachel Notley disagrees with federal NDP on LEAP Manifesto

6 years ago
Duration 1:05
Notley says the LEAP Manifesto is not part of Alberta's climate change file.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is repudiating the controversial Leap Manifesto, but says she doesn't feel the provincial NDP needs to split from the federal party.

The Leap Manifesto proposes Canada immediately start moving away from fossil fuels and stop building new projects like pipelines.

"These ideas will never form any part of our policy," Notley said Monday. "They are naive, they are ill-informed, and they are tone-deaf."

Despite this, she said the provincial wing of the NDP will not split from the federal party. She said provincial and federal parties often disagree.   

"To be clear, this document has not been adopted. It's simply going to be discussed," Notley said. "And we will engage in that discussion and we will make darn sure that the points I made at convention are heard from Nanaimo to Cape Breton and everywhere in between."

Notley's remarks come one day after delegates at the NDP convention in Edmonton decided to move ahead with discussion of the Leap Manifesto. The document will be discussed at riding associations across the country over the next two years. 

Notley declined to comment on what effect the ongoing discussions will have on the perception of her party in Alberta. 

"That is a huge hypothetical because this document was not adopted," she said. "And so I'm just not going to answer hypothetical questions."

Delegates at the federal NDP convention in Edmonton voted to move talks on the controversial policy to riding associations across Canada, despite a passionate speech from Notley on Saturday to support Alberta workers and build a pipeline.

Alberta Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said that, if adopted, the manifesto would have a devastating impact on Alberta. He said the delegates' rejection of pipelines shows that Notley's attempts to improve Alberta's environmental image by introducing a carbon tax and shutting down the coal industry aren't working. 

"This social licence experiment has failed in every single way," he said. 

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said she has heard from NDP members across the province who are upset with the federal party over the Leap Manifesto. (CBC)

Interim Progressive Conservative Leader Ric McIver said the delegates' decision to start discussing the Leap Manifesto shows they don't like Alberta very much. 

"It's clearly an attack on Alberta's key industries, it's clearly an attack on the way Albertans make their living," he said. 

Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark questioned Notley's decision not to split from the federal party, noting the Alberta Liberals did just that when the government introduced the much disliked National Energy Program in the 1980s. 

"Makes me question their priorities," he said about Notley and the Alberta NDP caucus.

'Downtown Toronto political dilettantes' 

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said NDP members in the province are angry over the federal party's decision.

​"There are some really hurt feelings, here," Phillips said Monday as she headed into a cabinet meeting at the Alberta Legislature. "People are feeling pretty disrespected by what just happened."

Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan, a former federal NDP candidate, said delegates have handed the province's opposition parties an issue they will use against Notley. 

He had harsh words Monday for the Leap Manifesto's supporters. 

"These downtown Toronto political dilettantes come to Alberta and track their garbage across our front lawn," he said.

The Leap Manifesto is being led by author and anti-capitalist activist Naomi Klein and her husband, Avi Lewis, a documentary filmmaker and son of former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis.

In an interview with  Alberta at Noon on CBC Radio, Lewis said he got an earful from McGowan in a phone conversation Monday morning. 

Lewis said jobs in the green economy can be created faster and in greater numbers than those in oil and gas. 

"I think we as a Canadian family, we're slipping into these deeply divisive ways of talking about these eternal tensions instead of focusing on what we can build together," he said. 

"And I think we could build new jobs in new industries for 10 years, put hundreds of thousands of people back to work across the country, before we need to have this … divisive debate about pipelines."

The government has been touting its new climate change plan as social licence to build new pipelines while respecting the environment.

Phillips said the plan was "under-appreciated" by delegates at the conference.

"It's possible that the message hasn't gotten all the way through to downtown Toronto," she said.

The Leap Manifesto controversy has led to talk that Notley and the Alberta NDP should sever ties with the federal party.

However, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Brian Mason said severing ties may not be a good idea.

"That will mean that we will have no influence going forward," he said. "I think that would be a mistake."


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