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Leap-Manifesto-Community-Forum-PosterMK-copy3The Leap Manifesto will continue to be a major topic of discussion within the NDP over the next two years.

So all NDP members may be interested in attending a Leap Manifesto community forum being organized by Ottawa Leap supporters on Tuesday, June 14 at 7 pm in Ottawa City Hall's Jean Pigott Hall.

Billed as "an open and critical discussion about the Leap Manifesto," the event will feature:

  • Avi Lewis, documentary filmmaker and Leap Manifesto co-author
  • Verna McGregor, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Minwaashin Lodge
  • Larry Rousseau, PSAC regional executive vice president
  • Ken Smith, president of Unifor Local 707A (Fort McMurray)

Again, this not an NDP event, but a community event that may be of interest to New Democrats.

Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served.

For Facebook users, here's a link to the event.

Fair Vote Canada holding meeting about electoral reform

  • Date: Monday, May 2.
  • Time: Doors open at 6:30 PM, event starts at 7 PM.
  • Where: Tom Brown Arena, 141 Bayview Rd.
  • Speakers include: NDP MP Nathan Cullen

Canadian elections have always used an electoral system known as "first past the post" (FPTP). Whichever candidate wins the most votes, wins the seat. It seems fair on the surface, but FPTP often awards majority governments to parties that have not won a majority of the votes. In other words, FPTP can leave more than half of Canadian voters without any meaningful representation in Parliament.

A growing number of Canadians are demanding that we reform our electoral system and Justin Trudeau won much support by promising that 2015's federal election would be the last to use first past the post.

But what Trudeau didn't say was what electoral system he'd propose in the place of first past the post.

There are a surprising number of alternatives to FPTP, some of which can be just as unfair as FPTP. In fact, a recent analysis commissioned by The Broadbent Institute indicates that at least one of the options would have yielded Trudeau's Liberals an even stronger majority, even though they only won 40 per cent of the votes.

To hear about more about fair electoral reform, and how the NDP and Conservative critics plan to keep Liberal government accountable as their voting reform initiative goes forward, the public is invited to attends the AGM of Fair Vote Canada on Monday, May 2. NDP MP Nathan Cullen will be among the speakers.

"Let’s build a politically legitimate reform movement that works for all parties and Canadians," says the invitation to the event.

The AGM is open to the public and you are welcome to bring friends and family. Admission to the AGM is free. Donations are appreciated and will go to the National Capital Region Chapter of Fair Vote Canada (http://ottawa.fairvote.ca/).

Membership is necessary to vote in elections or on motions ($10 first-year memberships and $25 membership renewals will be available at the meeting).

Elections for positions on the Chapter Executive will be held. RSVP: NCR@fairvote.ca or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/291642261166730/

During a general meeting on Feb. 2, the Ottawa West Nepean NDP voted to send seven delegates and five resolutions to the federal party’s national convention, which is taking place April 8-10 in Edmonton.

Alex Cullen, Marilyn Davis, Jim Patterson, Kevin Nguyen, and Marlene Rivier were elected as the riding association’s five voting delegates to the convention. Shelley Rivier and Dan O’Hagen were elected as alternate delegates.

During the convention, the OWN delegates will vote on whether the party should undertake a leadership review. They will also debate and vote on dozens of resolutions chosen by the party’s resolutions committee from among hundreds submitted by riding associations from across the country.

During the Feb. 2 meeting, OWN NDP members voted to submit five resolutions for consideration, four of which have a strong environmental theme and a fifth that urges nuclear disarmament. A sixth resolution, calling for a moratorium on the construction of new pipelines, was narrowly voted down.

Debra Mair did much of the research and legwork behind the environmental resolutions, including the resolution urging the federal party to enable remote participation during future conventions and other national meetings.

“I’d like to participate in the party’s convention, but I’m not willing to go on an airplane [and contribute to the generation of thousands of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions] for a two-day meeting,” said Mair.

The other environmental resolutions passed during during the meeting would see the party pledge support for the Leap Manifesto and renewable energy co-ops, and direct the federal party to consider divesting any investments it might have in large fossil fuel corporations.

The most hotly debated resolution concerned pipelines, calling for a moratorium on the construction of new pipelines “until it is demonstrated that such infrastructure is compatible with the objective of reducing carbon emissions.”

Marilyn Davis was one of those who voted against the resolution. “I’m in favour of reducing carbon emissions, but pipelines are by far the safest way to transport oil and gas,” she said. “I want to make sure we don’t have another Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.”

Along with choosing delegates and resolutions, the Feb. 2 meeting also featured two short presentations:

  • Janice Ashworth gave a brief overview of the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op (OREC), which allows members to put some of their RRSP and TFSA investments into local solar projects.
  • And Jack Wilson, who is the vice president of the OPSEU local representing instructors at Algonquin College, spoke about his union’s campaign to convince the college to abandon its campus in Saudi Arabia. (Jack also spoke about the issue yesterday on the CBC Radio program Ontario Today. You can hear that interview here.)