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article imageControversial policy passes at Canadian NDP leadership convention Special

By Paula Kirman     Apr 10, 2016 in Politics
Edmonton - In a number of shake ups at the NDP Policy Convention, the resolution concerning controversial Leap Manifesto passed despite lack of support from Premier Notley and Tom Mulcair is voted out as federal leader of the party.
Delegates at the NDP Policy Convention  April 8-10 2016.
Delegates at the NDP Policy Convention, April 8-10 2016.
A gap between the Alberta and Federal New Democrats emerged at the federal NDP Policy Convention. The convention, held in Edmonton April 8-10, featured debate on a number of contentious issues, in particular the Leap Manifesto. Written by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein, the Leap Manifesto focuses on environmental issues and was created in conjunction with a number of First Nations consultants. However, its cool reception among Alberta NDP members stems from the Manifesto being against new pipelines and encouraging fossil fuels to be kept in the ground, with a focus on developing the renewable energy industry.
Avi Lewis debates the Leap Manifesto. NDP Policy Convention  April 8-10  2016.
Avi Lewis debates the Leap Manifesto. NDP Policy Convention, April 8-10, 2016.
In fact, federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair came under fire by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley at the beginning of the convention, when Mulcair was quoted in the media as saying that if the party voted accordingly, he would "do everything" to keep oil and coal in the ground. At the convention, some Alberta NDP members (including progressive union leaders such as Gil McGowan of the Alberta Federation of Labour), spoke against the Leap Manifesto due to its focus on the environment to the exclusion of jobs. Alberta has been hard hit economically, due to the falling prices of world crude. However, the resolution to debate the ideas contained in the Leap Manifesto passed after a debate and vote on the morning of April 10.
Premier Rachel Notley. NDP Policy Convention  April 8-10 2016.
Premier Rachel Notley. NDP Policy Convention, April 8-10 2016.
The day before, Premier Rachel Notley gave a rousing speech with a dozen or so standing ovations, emphasizing the gender parity of her caucus and speaking in favour of the oil industry and pipelines. Her ideas also clashed with speaker Stephen Lewis, a long-term NDP politician and humanitarian (and the father of Leap Manifesto co-author Avi Lewis). Lewis also took apart the new federal Liberal government on six points, including feminism (citing the need for a federal childcare policy), electoral reform (a Liberal promise that seems to be fading), and Bill C-51 (which is supposed to be reviewed and changed — again, another promise that appears to be fading).
Stephen Lewis. NDP Policy Convention  April 8-10  2016.
Stephen Lewis. NDP Policy Convention, April 8-10, 2016.
Over 1,700 delegates from across Canada attended the convention, while only 800 or so were expected. This may be largely due to the leadership review held concerning Tom Mulcair. Mulcair came under fire for the failed NDP campaign in the October 2015 election. Despite many cheers during his Sunday morning speech, 52 percent of delegates voted in favour of a leadership convention. This is the first time that party delegates have voted out its leader at such a convention. Mulcair will continue to act as party leader until a new leader is chosen.
Tom Mulcair. NDP Policy Convention  April 8-10  2016.
Tom Mulcair. NDP Policy Convention, April 8-10, 2016.
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