Notley takes aim at 'Leap Manifesto' in address to federal NDP convention

An NDP supporter uses his phone during a lunch break at the 2016 NDP Federal Convention in Edmonton on Saturday, April 9, 2016.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

EDMONTON - Alberta Premier Rachel Notley attempted to appeal to fellow New Democrats on Saturday, urging them to get on side with her province's plan to tackle climate change and pursue resource development — including a pipeline.

In a speech at the NDP convention, Notley took aim at the so-called "Leap Manifesto" — a relatively radical policy blueprint driven by activists within the NDP that openly rejects pipeline development and calls for Canada to wean itself off fossil fuels.

The premier's address comes as Notley's government is furious about federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair's openness to exploring ideas contained within the manifesto.

A number of rank-and-file New Democrats are pushing for the document to be explored and debated inside the federal party as they consider the NDP's future following October's crushing election defeat.

After a tough defeat, it's always tempting to hide in slogans and dreams, Notley said.

"That is just a form of giving up," she said. "New Democrats never give up ... We never give up, and so Canada has public medicare, and public pensions, and union rights, and many other things that matter a lot to working people."

Alberta has already put forward a concrete plan as opposed to aspirational ideas, she added.

"We're acting, really acting, on the basis of a concrete plan that is actually being implemented," she said.

"That is what you get to do when you move up from manifestos, to the detailed, principled, practical plans you can really implement by winning an election. That's how we remain true to the principles and values of our party and of our pioneers."

Mulcair faces a critical leadership review on Sunday where rank-and-file delegates will vote in Edmonton to determine if he should stay at the helm of the party.

Prior to the vote, a joint resolution from the ridings of Toronto-Danforth and Vancouver-East that calls for a debate on policies that could flow from the manifesto will face a vote on the convention floor.

Former federal NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin said there have been divides in the past with the federal party and provincial counterparts.

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