“You’ve probably heard about the highway and rail blockades happening across the country,” Pallister wrote in the Thursday evening message, “including the one right here in Manitoba.”
Echoing actions in Ontario and Quebec, demonstrators had blocked commuter and freight travel west of Winnipeg to protest the RCMP removal of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and activists challenging the construction of a gas pipeline in northern B.C.
Pallister announced Wednesday his government would seek a court injunction to remove the Manitoba protesters from the rail line. By 2 p.m. Thursday, though, CN Railway had received approval of its own injunction and the occupation was ended.
Still, Pallister sent out his email four hours later.
“We respect the rights of protesters,” it proclaims. “But laws need to be applied.”
The message goes on to criticize Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew for supporting “those behind the blockades,” alongside signing the “‘Leap Manifesto,’ a radical document calling for the shutdown of Canada’s entire resource sector!”
For the record, the Leap Manifesto is an apolitical document created in 2015 by more than 60 Indigenous, social welfare, food, environmental, labour, and faith-based (mostly Christian) organizations, and committed to by more than 52,000 celebrities, activists, and Canadians.
The document is “a call for a Canada based on caring for the Earth and one another,” and asks signees to commit to honouring treaties, building locally-based energy infrastructure, and supporting immigrants and workers to enter environmentally-friendly sectors. It also calls on governments to fund “caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts, and public-interest media,” a national child-care program, and institute a universal basic income.
In fairness, the manifesto also calls for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, creation of a carbon tax, cuts to military spending, and adopting a national “polluter pays” principle.
So it isn’t “a radical document calling for the shutdown of Canada’s entire resource sector,” but rather a political vision running counter to the Tory premier’s.
(Also, for the record, Kinew has tweeted some support for the Wet’suwet’en, but not much; no doubt complicated by the Manitoba NDP’s relationship with B.C.’s NDP government.)
The conclusion of Pallister’s email to party supporters, however, shows its true purpose.
“We won’t stand back while two-tier justice happens in our province. And we won’t hesitate to seek an injunction in the future, if this happens again. If you’re with us, please consider making a donation to help us stand up for ordinary Manitobans.”
Pallister’s monetization of Indigenous v. non-Indigenous conflict in Canada has to mark a new low. In the past, he’s alluded to Indigenous peoples being “night hunters,” scary downtown Winnipeg threats, or “lobby groups.”
His characterization of Indigenous activists as lawless illegals working in opposition to “ordinary Manitobans” — a wild West, with him as the sheriff — is divisive, exploitative, and irresponsible.
The conflict with the Wet’suwet’en over the Coastal GasLink pipeline is fairly straightforward. Canada and B.C. are acting like they own Wet’suwet’en land, make the laws which govern their relationship, and no one is allowed to disagree.
The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say otherwise. They claim 22,000 square kilometres since “time immemorial,” and are backed-up by the 1997 Supreme Court decision on the Delgamuukw case — which not only recognized their land title but their leadership of the Wet’suwet’en Nation (not the chiefs and councils imposed by the Indian Act).
The Supreme Court told Canada over two decades ago it had to negotiate with the Wet’suwet’en. It has not happened.
Instead, the gas pipeline was planned and approved. To fulfill Canada’s constitutional obligation to “consult” with First Nations, B.C. offered Indian Act chiefs and councils “benefit agreements” (jobs and money).
Benefit agreements are not consent. They’re mostly payoffs meant to appease Canada’s own laws while Indigenous laws, land claims, and governments are ignored. SOURCE
Naomi Klein (centre) launched the Leap Manifesto in Toronto in 2015. Darren Calabrese / The Canadian Press files
There are few global or international challenges that have brought our species together in solidarity. One can think to D-Day or the Apollo moon landing as examples of western countries using, in the former case, our collective capacity to push back totalitarian hate, and in the latter, defying what we knew was possible in terms of space exploration.
But there has never been a time in human history, which is not very long, where we have stared collectively into the mirror of our own existence.
For the past six decades, we have known that we have been causing catastrophic damage to our home. If you dispute the history of our destruction, Sept. 27 of this year marked the 57th anniversary of the release of Rachel Carson’s environmental science book, Silent Spring. (It should be mandatory reading for all educators.)
Sept. 27 of this year also marked the largest student demonstration in human history, with millions of youth leaving their classrooms to fight for their future and wake the rest of us up. It is this existential struggle that has compelled Naomi Klein, Canadian journalist, activist, and progressive, to release her latest book, On Fire: The Burning Case for a New Green Deal.
The author of No Logo and This Changes Everything, among others, was also a critical player in the development of the Leap Manifesto and the Green New Deal, supported by none other than U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and championed by U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In On Fire, Klein is inspired by the new voice of moral courage on our planet, Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, and the millions of youth turned activists who should be enjoying this time of adolescence but, owing to our greed and neglect, are forced to fight for the very thing that sustains life: planet Earth.
According to Klein, “learning has become a radicalizing act,” whereby in spite of adults, our children are participating in civil disobedience because “they are the first for whom climate disruption on a planetary scale is not a future threat, but a live reality.” They no longer have the idle pleasure of succumbing to what Aristotle calls akrasia, the human tendency to act against our better judgment.
On Fire provides a series of Klein’s essays written over the past decade, which not only chronicle the monumental and catastrophic canaries in the coal mine (the 2010 BP explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, the rise of fracking, the burning of the boreal forest, etc.), but also make the case for the need of a new understanding of how we live together. Of how we treat and share resources. Of how we become stewards of the Earth so that everyone has the means for a decent life.
And much of this work began in 2015, as Klein and other leaders began to develop the Leap Manifesto. Only four years ago, Canadians and the world were presented with a plan towards sustainability, equity and stability that was scoffed at by the likes of Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau and even Thomas Mulcair. Fast forward to 2019, and we’re still debating who will champion which pipeline.
Following the Leap Manifesto, in 2019 the Green New Deal arrived on Capitol Hill and has provided the basis for a global conversation about a positive pathway forward. Inspired by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, Klein helped develop a framework that checks unbridled capitalism, addresses social inequity and fully realizes the planetary emergency that stares us in the face.
The Green New Deal calls for a fundamental shift in how we operate. It calls for us, Klein argues, to “swerve off our perilous trajectory” through “sweeping industrial and infrastructure overhaul.”
It calls for us to stop denying the future of our kids and to become their allies as they lead the way to a positive, inclusive and thriving future.
Jagmeet Singh in Toronto on Sept. 7, 2018. (Brian de Rivera Simon/Getty Images for eOne)
The Green New Deal, a plan to decarbonize the economy while ushering in a greater level of social and economic justice, has become a key policy debate in the United States, with major segments of the Democratic Party, including some presidential candidates, endorsing the plan to varying degrees. The goal of the plan isn’t just to cut fossil fuel consumption but also to do so while investing in jobs, education, infrastructure, health care and a wide array of programs designed to challenge the status quo.
In Canada, the GND has sparked great interest among progressives, who are looking for a plan that will help avoid climate catastrophe while not leaving behind the working class and marginalized populations. A few years ago, a document called the Leap Manifesto was drafted by a group of Canadian environmentalists. Though it had some of the elements of current progressive plans, it failed to capture the national imagination and was viewed as insufficiently concerned with reforms beyond decarbonization.
But things are different now. Today, the youth, both around the world and in Canada, have made climate justice a prevailing issue. Climate science, too, has made it ever clearer just how short a window we have to reduce our carbon footprint. And, crucially, the GND has offered Canadians framing and language that are more acceptable than those of the Leap.
Not only does it commit to green objectives such ending fossil fuel subsidies, setting emissions targets, banning single-use plastics and incentivizing electric vehicles, but it also commits to a national retrofitting program that will affect all housing stock in Canada by 2050 and will help create an estimated 300,000 jobs. The plan also includes working with municipalities to build free electric public transit by 2030.MORE
This is the movement we’ve been waiting for, and working towards, for years. Like the Leap Manifesto, the Green New Deal is a jobs and justice program that offers solutions to the climate crisis that are actually as big and bold as we need. But this time around, the Green New Deal is being pushed by a massive, multi-generational movement.
As Naomi Klein said when she kicked off our tour in Toronto, “When the future of life is at stake, there is nothing we cannot achieve. We will win a Green New Deal. We will win it because we have to.”
Organic farmer Brenda Hsueh introduces the Green New Deal to people in her barn at Black Sheep Farm outside of Scone.PAT CARSON
The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres does not talk about climate change, he talks about a “climate crisis,” adding that “we face a direct existential threat.”
The Paris Agreement on climate was signed by 195 nations, including Canada, in 2017. On April 2, 2019 the Government of Canada announced in a news release that Canada’s climate is warming twice as fast as the global average. The report added that Canadians are experiencing the costs of climate-related extremes first hand, from devastating wildfires and flooding to heat waves and droughts.
In January of 2019, the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) reported that climate change is linked to depression, anxiety and stress disorders in Canada.
There is a grassroots movement afoot to address the climate crisis in Canada and it’s called the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is a political idea to tackle the climate crisis.
There have been more than 150 Green New Deal town hall gatherings across Canada this month alone, in cities like Toronto and Vancouver and smaller communities like Barrie and Wiarton. On May 25 there was one in a barn on a farm outside of Scone on Grey Road 3.
“In part it comes out of the LEAP manifesto and a lot of different progressive groups wanting to push society to make changes, not just on climate issues, but on social justice issues too,” explained Brenda Hsueh, an organic farmer who hosted the event at Black Sheep Farm.
Hsueh decided to take up the challenge of hosting a town hall because as an organic farmer most of her work is done in isolation and she wanted to see who else in her community was as angry and frustrated with society’s lack of action on this major issue.
Twenty-four people from different walks of life and different ages, including several local organic farmers, showed up as concerned as Hsueh about the climate crisis and the need for action now.
The Green New Deal calls on workers, students, union members, migrants, community organizations and people all across the country to gather and design a plan for a safe and prosperous future for all. It is a vision of rapid, inclusive and far-reaching transition, to slash emissions, protect critical biodiversity and meet the demands of the multiple crises.
In her opening remarks, Hsueh asked people to be “mindful that we are gathered today on the traditional land of the Three Fire Confederacy of the Ojibway, Potawatomi and Odawa people.”
Before beginning small group discussions she explained the concept of “green line” statements as a way to identify what people want to see and support in communities and the country. “Red line” statements identify what people do not want to see or support. The statements might be about labour, Indigenous peoples, food, disabilities, public transportation, health, agriculture, war, youth and faith to name just a few social justice topics. MORE
How Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis are helping AOC reboot US politics.
Echoes of the ‘Leap Manifesto’: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addresses the Road to the Green New Deal Tour final event at Howard University in Washington, May 13, 2019. Photo by Cliff Owen, AP Photo.
Avi Lewis put the final touches on his script draft, hit send, and waited to find out if he’d be making history with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Lewis is the filmmaker and former CBC host who has collaborated on documentaries with his spouse Naomi Klein, famously the author of global bestsellers No Logo, The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — or AOC as her many supporters call her — broke all the rules when she knocked off a powerful, 10-term Democratic member of Congress by running as a “democratic socialist” to win her Bronx and Queens seat.
At age 29, AOC was the big story on election night in November 2018 and still is, thanks to her deft use of social media and her bold policy proposals, notably the Green New Deal, her resolution to transition the American economy off fossil fuels by 2030 and guarantee a green job to anybody who wants one. When Klein proposed she be central to a short film about what could result, Ocasio-Cortez expressed interest.
‘Our plan for a world and a future worth fighting for.’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks May 13, 2019, at the wind-up town hall event of the Green New Deal tour organized by the Sunrise Movement. Other speakers included presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Naomi Klein. Photo via Shutterstock
…several of the Canadian thinkers responsible for the Leap Manifesto, a 2015 plan to completely shift Canada away from fossil fuels by 2050, are now playing pivotal roles in shaping and promoting the U.S. Green New Deal. First and foremost: Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis.
“The NDP is coming late to the issue of dealing comprehensively with climate change. Can it compete effectively with Elizabeth May’s Greens on this front? We shall see.” – Thomas Walkom
Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats have discovered climate change.
The party had been reluctant to take too uncompromising a stand on global warming for fear of alienating potential voters. That reluctance has gone.
Now the NDP is calling for an end to the entire fossil-fuel industry in Canada.
“The future of our country cannot involve fracking,” Singh said Monday in Ottawa, referring to a controversial method of drilling for oil and natural gas. “It cannot involve the burning of any fossil fuel.”
He said Canada must adhere to carbon reduction targets that are much stricter than those proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government if it to seriously fight climate change.
And he declared that he now opposes ambitious plans by British Columbia’s NDP government to build a massive liquefied natural gas project in the province’s north.
[In the past] the Leap Manifesto’s call to ban any new fossil-fuel energy projects, from pipelines to fracking, was seen as too radical. No more. Now, with his call for a Canada free of fossil fuels, Singh has outleapt the Leapers. MORE
There are a number of ecosocialist responses to the Green New Deal, converging for the most part around the recognition that though it is not the Green New Deal most of us would prefer, it is the opportunity to move the paralysis of the climate change movement very far in the right — left — direction that our times so desperately need.
The Green New Deal, like some sort of eco-superhero, has arrived at the eleventh hour. Naomi Klein writes hopefully of it as a plan to address global warming that at long last matches the scale of the crisis. Klein (co-author of the Green New Deal-esque “Leap Manifesto“) has reason for optimism — a Green New Deal is not a single policy intervention, but a systemic approach to transform our economy and energy system and build sustainable, democratically-empowered communities.
The point of the concept is in its name — “green” and “New Deal.” It marries the need for decarbonization to a reimagining of a just and fair society embodied in slogans like “climate justice” and “just transition.” The Green New Deal concept has arisen from many quarters, including decades of work by environmental justice groups, the Green Party (which insists on defunding the military in order to fund life), and, more recently, the Sunrise Movement as well as rebellious politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who have brought visibility to the concept.
Both decarbonization and justice are crucial. Since climate change is engendered by a ruling class that exists via a class that is ruled, decarbonization won’t happen without creation of a just and equitable economics and society. MORE
You’ve been hearing a lot about the Green New Deal, but you’re wondering what it’s all about? If you want a quick and chatty explainer, check out this video put together by the folks at The Leap, a climate action group.
The Leap Manifesto predates the Green New Deal, but the group has eagerly taken up the mantle. Here’s the central core of the Manifesto:
We could live in a country powered entirely by renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit, in which the jobs and opportunities of this transition are designed to systematically eliminate racial and gender inequality. Caring for one another and caring for the planet could be the economy’s fastest growing sectors. Many more people could have higher wage jobs with fewer work hours, leaving us ample time to enjoy our loved ones and flourish in our communities.
We know that the time for this great transition is short. Climate scientists have told us that this is the decade to take decisive action to prevent catastrophic global warming. That means small steps will no longer get us where we need to go.