Notley calls Leap Manifesto thoughtless, tone deaf
Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said it’s bad policy, poorly handled.
EDMONTON — Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley is condemning the federal party’s plan to consider dramatic policy changes that would have huge implications for her energy-reliant province.
Notley, in a legislature news conference, called the energy pieces of the Leap Manifesto thoughtless.
“The government of Alberta repudiates the sections of that document that address energy infrastructure,” said Notley.
“These ideas will never form any part of policy. They are naive. They are ill-informed. They are tone deaf.”
Notley stopped short of saying she would seek to split the Alberta wing of the NDP from its federal counterpart. Instead, she said, Alberta New Democrats will make their points from within the party.
“Those people that have that little (manifesto) document in front of them very possibly could have some other documents put in front of them not too long from now, so that the scope and the range and the breadth and the thoughtfulness and the information and the research behind those conversations improves substantially.”
The manifesto calls for a radical, accelerated shift to Canada’s economy to combat climate change.
It proposes a ban on new infrastructure projects, such as pipelines, tied to increased use of non-renewable energy. It also suggests Canada should get all of its electricity from renewable resources within two decades and be completely off non-renewables by 2050.
On the weekend, delegates to the federal NDP party convention in Edmonton voted to discuss the Leap Manifesto and its policy implications at the constituency level.
Notley has been working to drum up support to get a pipeline built to get Alberta’s oil to Canadian ports for a better price on the world market.
Low oil prices have decimated Alberta’s once-rich economy. The province is to table a 2016-17 budget that will include a $10-billion deficit.
Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said the manifesto is bad policy that was poorly handled.
“The federal party is wrong on this matter,” said Phillips. “People are feeling pretty disrespected by what just happened here.
“You didn’t even have anybody … reach out to Alberta before this came to the floor in our capital city.”
Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman said that although the manifesto will be debated at the constituency level, “I imagine most of those conversations will be rather short in oil-producing provinces, not just (in) Alberta.”
Canada’s only other NDP premier, Greg Selinger of Manitoba, was asked about the manifesto while campaigning in Winnipeg for a provincial election later this month.
“My understanding was they want to take a look at it and, fair enough, we should always be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things,” he said.
Notley’s government is pursuing what it terms a pragmatic, realistic plan to combat climate change. It is bringing in a broad carbon tax, plans to cap oil sands emissions and is moving to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030.
Opposition politicians of all stripes accused Notley of failing to make the case – even to her own federal party – that Alberta’s climate plan gives the province, and Canada, more credibility to pursue projects such as pipelines.
“This social licence experiment has failed in every single way,” said Opposition Wildrose Leader Brian Jean.
Also on the weekend, delegates repudiated the work of leader Thomas Mulcair and voted for a leadership convention.
Notley ruled herself out from seeking that job.
© 2016 The Canadian Press