- Who wrote the Leap Manifesto?
The writing of The Leap Manifesto was initiated in the spring of 2015 at a two-day meeting in Toronto attended by 60 representatives from Canada’s Indigenous rights, social and food justice, environmental, faith-based and labour movements. The This Changes Everything team convened the meeting but did not determine any outcomes. The idea was to create a space to not just say “no” to the worst attacks on human rights and environmental standards, but to dream together about the world we actually want and how we could get there. The Manifesto went through several drafts and was shaped by the contributions of dozens of people.
- Who organized this?
The Leap Manifesto is a non-partisan initiative coordinated by the This Changes Everything team. Those who have signed include supporters of all of the political parties, and some who support none. But everyone shares the belief that now is the moment for a transformative agenda to come from outside electoral politics, to build a wave of popular support that will put real pressure on the federal Liberal government. History tells us that this kind of outside pressure is the best gift any government can receive.
- Are the policies advocated in the Leap Manifesto “utopian”?
Hardly. Many of the policies – like a speedy transition to renewables, massive green job creation, and more democratic control over our energy – are already being implemented in other countries. Germany now generates 30 percent of their electricity from renewables, has created 400,000 jobs in the clean energy sector, and has a thousand local cooperatives that ensure community control over energy. Scientific studies – cited in the manifesto – show that a complete and economically-beneficial transition toward renewable energy is feasible within the next two to three decades. Climate scientists are telling us it must be done; the engineers tell us it is possible; now we just need to generate the political power to make it happen.
- But can we afford it?
Yes. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has produced a document explaining how to raise the money for The Leap in a way that will be a net positive for the economy.
- Didn’t releasing the Leap Manifesto during the election hurt the chances of opposition parties? Weren’t you helping the Conservatives?
Polls consistently show that people in Canada want more progressive policies than are on offer from any of the major political parties. People want bold, positive ideas that simultaneously address climate change and make our economy more fair – and they would vote for them if they were available. The Leap Manifesto isn’t a threat but a gift to any of the political parties who are courageous enough to run with the ideas.
- Why don’t you just endorse the Greens?
This project is not about telling people how to vote. We hope that people will raise The Leap with the MPs and opposition parties in their ridings. Some parties, like the Greens, generated materials of their own comparing their platform with The Leap – though we believe the Green party’s platform is not ambitious enough, resembling more a jump than a leap. We wanted to create a tool that allows people to push Canada towards a climate and economic justice agenda, regardless of who they decide to vote for.
- What happens after elections?
That’s when the real work begins. We hope that momentum behind The Leap continues to grow, and when it is supported and signed by a significant enough number of people in Canada it will be impossible for Parliament to ignore.
- Is this just for Canada? My country needs to leap too.
Canada is the first country to unveil a Leap Manifesto but there are already active groups working toward one for Australia and Britain and there has been interest expressed from around the world, including in the U.S., where such a tool could be very useful in the 2016 elections. We do not have the capacity or desire to control how this idea is developed out internationally. However, we urge those who want to start their own Leap Manifesto group to cast as wide and as inclusive a net as possible. Key to our collaboration was having a huge diversity of groups involved from the start, ranging from grassroots migrant-rights activists to high-level labour leaders. We feel strongly that this process should not be lead by any political party, no matter how aligned their policies are.
- Did you name it after Mao’s Great Leap Forward? Are you nuts?
No, and we hope not. We chose the title because it expresses the need for rapid transformative change — rather than small steps forward combined, all too often, with large steps backwards. We also chose it because 2016 is a Leap Year, that time when we add an extra day to the calendar in order to bring our inadequate human measuring methods into sync with the earth’s rotation around the sun.
10. What’s happening on Leap Year?
With our economic and political systems colliding with planetary limits, we think Leap Year makes a great metaphor for the kinds of accommodation to the earth’s physics and chemistry that we all need to make, not just on February 29 every four years, but every day, for generations into the future. We are encouraging people in Canada and around the world to host and organize Leap Day and Leap Year events, discussions and actions to propel our societies toward a just, post-carbon future. It’s time to bring ourselves into balance with our home. It’s time to leap!
11. How can my organization endorse The Leap Manifesto and get listed on the website?
Thank you for your interest in endorsing! Send us an email with your organizational name to email@example.com and we’ll add you to the website.
12. How can I make a donation to support The Leap Manifesto’s organizing work?
Thank you for supporting this work! In Canada our fiscal sponsor is the Polaris Institute (they are a not-for-profit but not a charity, so unfortunately we cannot issue charitable receipts). You can donate through the button below: