Federal NDP finance critic Nathan Cullen says the party is a progressive force but won't be pressured into adopting the provisions of the Leap Manifesto circulated by prominent activists.

ELECTION 2015: NDP won’t be guided by Leap Manifesto, Cullen says

Call for radical social, environmental reform would scrap trade deals, accelerate climate action

Federal NDP finance critic Nathan Cullen is distancing himself and the party from the Leap Manifesto circulated by prominent activists who want to quickly stamp out fossil fuel use and upend business-as-usual capitalism in the name of social and environmental reform.

Cullen, one of B.C.’s senior federal New Democrats and MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, welcomed debate on policy but said the party would not be pressured into changing its platform.

“These are good and important conversations,” Cullen said in an interview. “But we’re not going to be guided by a manifesto delivered in the midst of a campaign by high- or low-profile people. It’s just not the way to build a sustainable government.”

The Leap Manifesto, released Sept. 15, is backed by anti-globalization author Naomi Klein, environmentalist David Suzuki and others on the left, including the former leader of the Ontario NDP.

It advocates for ideas like erasing poverty with a guaranteed livable income, opposition to new oil and gas pipelines and a shift to localized eco-agriculture.

“We call for an end to all trade deals that interfere with our attempts to rebuild local economies, regulate corporations and stop damaging extractive projects,” it says.

Leap advocates say the time is over for a go-slow approach to climate change, calling Canada’s record a “crime against humanity’s future.”

A guaranteed income is not NDP policy, Cullen said, nor is ripping up all trade deals.

“We believe that trade should work in Canada’s favour and we also believe in trade,” Cullen said. “There are some people who don’t believe in trade yet type emails happily into their iPhone.”

Nor does the NDP oppose liquefied natural gas exports – if pipelines and terminals can be built responsibly.

The manifesto comes as the NDP under Mulcair are trying to appeal to centrist voters who worry about the economy, while fending off Green attempts to woo away environmentally minded supporters.

Cullen said the NDP will be taking more decisive action on climate change and insisted the party’s platform offers a credible contrast to the Conservatives.

“We will be pricing carbon, we will take the subsidies away from oil and we will be funding the solutions,” Cullen said. “And those are all things that progressive people want.”

He accused the federal Liberals of only belatedly joining the NDP’s opposition to increased tanker traffic.

“People can tell the difference between parties that are just glancing left in the hope to catch more votes and ones that actually have it in the DNA. Being progressive and answering these big questions is in the DNA of this party.”

Cullen said “aspirational documents” are often circulated by activists of all stripes to try to get parties to make commitments.

The manifesto urges government to tax financial transactions, jack resource royalties, raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and impose a national carbon tax that a backgrounder suggests could charge almost seven times as much as B.C.’s carbon tax.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May says the Leap Manifesto aligns closely with the Green platform.

“I encourage every Canadian to read it and sign it,” May said. “But don’t just sign it – vote for it.”

The Leap website claims nearly 25,000 supporters. Its initiating signatories include numerous musicians, actors, authors and academics.

Just Posted

Storm prompts travel warning for Boundary, West Kootenay

Up to 25 cm expected on high mountain passes

Cops seize load of pot near Salmo

Traffic stop nets hundreds of pounds of cannabis

Home fuel tank fails, spilling oil near Nakusp

Officials say 700 litres may have escaped in the spill

RED Mountain resort delays opening day

Lack of snow puts damper on start of season

Body found in car at bottom of lake near Needles ferry

Police say at this time no foul play is suspected

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Almost 14,000 Canadians killed by opioids since 2016: new national study

17,000 people have been hospitalized for opioid-related poisoning

Most Read