A response to Macleans
To the Editors,
As some of the key organizers behind The Leap Manifesto, we wanted to clear up a few factual errors in Jen Gersons’ August 17th piece mentioning The Leap, and Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis’ involvement in it:
1. “Though I suppose we all pine for a world fueled solely by wind and solar, the details for how we get there seem left behind by pretty words.”
The manifesto was always intended to be a short aspirational document but the text itself is footnoted with two different technical studies that outline how Canada could transition completely off fossil fuels in short order. We also published an accompanying document, We Can Afford The Leap, outlining the transition could be funded. All of these documents are available on The Leap Manifesto website. You might also be aware that Naomi Klein wrote a 561 page award-winning book on the subject, This Changes Everything, if you are looking to dig in further.
2. “…no one really talks about the Leap Manifesto anymore.”
There have been over 1000 articles written about The Leap Manifesto in 2018 alone. The Manifesto has led to parallel initiatives in Los Angeles and in Europe and inspired key organizers in the Democratic Party. Susan Delacourt wrote a huge spread about our parallel event held around the NDP convention, Courage to Leap, in Canada’s highest-circulation paper. Naomi Klein wrote a bestselling book (#2 on the NYT list) where the whole concluding chapter focuses on the experience of the Leap (No Is Not Enough). She was invited by Jeremy Corbyn to speak on its themes to the Labour Party convention last year. Ms. Gerson’s interest in the Manifesto may have waned, but the world’s hasn’t.
3. “In 2016, the party agreed to study the manifesto for two years; by the 2018 convention, that plan had “fizzled.” Lewis didn’t even show up.”
Avi Lewis and The Leap team hosted a huge public event in Ottawa with 450+ attendees the night before the NDP convention began, with leaders from the Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn campaigns talking about how bold progressive policies can be a path to power. The majority of attendees were attending the NDP convention, and the event garnered a national op-ed in the Globe, the cover of the Insight section in The Saturday Star, and a great Canadian Press piece that was even picked up by the National Post. In Ontario, several newly elected Ontario NDP MPP’s have endorsed The Leap, and we have seen a trend towards bolder policy proposals from the Ontario and BC provincial NDPs, which has done nothing but help them at the polls.
Not everything has to be branded “The Leap” to be influenced by the document’s vision — in fact it is one of our core organizational principles not to “brand” everything we do since it’s the ideas that matter, not getting our logo out there.
4. “The public relations victory secured for Klein and her cadre clocked, the whole thing was promptly forgotten.”
Avi and Naomi founded the organization we lead, The Leap, in 2016 to advance the goals and vision of The Leap Manifesto. We lead a staff of nine across two countries, and Avi works with us full-time while Naomi continues to be actively involved.
All of this information is publicly available and literally could have been found with a simple Google search – or a phone call to us.
On a bigger-picture level: why would Macleans, in a month when heat records are breaking around the world, British Columbia is literally on fire, and some of the world’s leading climate scientists have released a report telling us that our inaction is driving the planet towards a catastrophic 3C of warming, publish a piece advising a national leader that boosting pipelines is the path to jobs and victory — without once mentioning climate change?
Here’s what one of the authors of the aforementioned “Hothouse Earth” report had to say about what we can do about this mess:
“… the first step to avoiding planetary apocalypse is basically self-evident: ‘absolutely no new fossil fuel developments. None. That means no new coal mines, no new oil wells, no new gas fields, no new unconventional gas fracking. Nothing new.’”
Sound familiar? The Leap Manifesto included this same demand back in 2015.
And finally — even without the future of our life on this planet in the mix — on a pure economic level, clean energy has employed more people and generated more of Canada’s GDP than the oil sands since 2016.
But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?
Katie McKenna & Bianca Mugyenyi
Co-Executive Directors, The Leap