Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Contrary to Sudbury Star Point of View Opinion, the Leap Manifesto Will Help Create the Jobs that Will Fuel Northern Prosperity

My letter to the editor of the Sudbury Star, from Thursday, April 13, 2016 (update: published online and in print, Friday, April 29, 2016).

Re: “PoV: Leap Manifesto a threat to Sudbury, NDP”, April 13, 2016.
Rarely have I read an editorial as disconnected from reality as the Point of View piece, “Leap Manifesto a threat to Sudbury, NDP,” published April 13, 2016. The Leap Manifesto poses no risk to the mining industry which helped build our local economy, and which will help transform Northern Ontario's Ring of Fire into a 21st century mineral extractive enterprise. Leap offers a way forward for the Ring of Fire, where development has come to a grinding halt under Liberal and Conservative governments at the provincial and federal levels.
The Star's editor contends that Leap's goal is to shut down mining. Nothing could be further from the truth. The editor quotes directly from the Manifesto to bolster his case, but the quotes are selective. Missing is the piece of the Manifesto that refers to how mining and resource extraction must take place in a low-carbon future: by first obtaining a social license from people who make their homes in the areas impacted by the enterprise. 
One of the reasons that so little headway has been made with the Ring of Fire, and with other resource extractive projects elsewhere in the nation, has been due to local opposition to disconnected governments and multinational corporations which continue to believe that they can largely ignore the people who live in the areas impacted by their operations. This approach may have worked in the past – especially where marginalized people have been unable to pursue justice for themselves and their families. Indigenous peoples in particular have for too long been shut out of a decision-making process which directly effects their well-being.
The Leap Manifesto acknowledges the new reality, and seeks to establish a framework for socially and environmentally responsible resource projects which will create the jobs that fuel our collective prosperity. Rather than a threat, Leap is a recipe for success – one which will work much better for governments than the current approach, often blocked by our Courts, which largely continues to ignore the rights and needs of communities impacted by resource activities.
The Green Party of Canada has supported the Leap Manifesto since it was unveiled by prominent Canadians during the last federal election campaign. Our own policy framework, Vision Green, has long embodied many of the sensible principles put forward by Leap. Greens from Northern Ontario, including Laurentian University Professor of Economics Dr. David Robinson, were involved in the creation of policy to guide development in the Ring of Fire, based on the need for a social license.
Although I've long been a member of the Green Party, I was thrilled to hear that grassroots New Democrats adopted a resolution at their convention in Edmonton to begin discussing the use of Leap as a framework for future policy development. I've long believed that a progressive NDP that bases its policies on social and climate justice would be a benefit to Canada. Since all of our families will be impacted by changes to our economy and climate brought about by global warming, making the switch to a low-carbon economy based on the use of evidence and inclusive public policy is something which can – and must – transcend partisan politics. The Leap Manifesto embodies an approach which all of those concerned about the future of our families, prosperity and planet can claim as common ground.
-Steve May is an Executive member of the Nickel Belt Greens
What Leap says: 

"There is no longer an excuse for building new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future. The new iron law of energy development must be: if you wouldn’t want it in your backyard, then it doesn’t belong in anyone’s backyard. That applies equally to oil and gas pipelines; fracking in New Brunswick, Quebec and British Columbia; increased tanker traffic off our coasts; and to Canadian owned mining projects the world over."

(Opinions expressed in this blog are my own and should not be considered consistent with the policies and positions of the Green Parties of Canada and Ontario)

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