Don MacDonald is the editor of the Sudbury Star.
Members of the NDP from a certain generation used to rail against companies like the former Inco and Falconbridge. The old NDP firebrands would argue they treated their workers poorly and didn’t pay their fair share of taxes. Some — like former Nickel Belt MP John Rodriguez — called for Inco to be nationalized.
Nothing became of such talk. The NDP was no threat to win a federal election and besides, Steelworkers Local 6500 and Mine Mill Local 598 did a fine job negotiating good pay, benefits and pensions for Sudbury’s miners.
Provincial governments also brought in tougher safety and environment laws, and the people who ran the companies themselves seemed to have adopted a somewhat kinder and gentler approach to running things. And why not? Their companies still made billions in Sudbury.
You don’t hear much from the NDP today about nationalization. However, the NDP does have a new type of firebrand — those behind the so-called Leap Manifesto. Their plan for Sudbury is not to nationalize the companies that exploit its mineral riches, but to shut them down, and with it, the city.
It wouldn’t happen overnight, but in time. Here is the manifesto’s key paragraph, as it applies to mining (and the oil industry): “There is no longer an excuse for building new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future “¦ (including) Canadian-owned mining projects the world over.”
Taken literally, the Leap Manifesto, if implemented, would ban new mine development, including in the Ring of Fire. Without new mines, Sudbury’s key industry would wither and with it, as many as direct 20,000 jobs. Thousands more would disappear across Northern Ontario.
Yet, over the weekend, delegates to the NDP’s national convention – the one that fired leader Tom Mulcair – agreed to talk about the manifesto. It’s not party policy yet, but it reveals a deep divide within the NDP. Already, there is talk of the Alberta NDP splitting from the national party.
In Ontario, the provincial NDP has long touted the economic benefits of the Ring of Fire and take every opportunity to criticize the governing Liberals for not getting this epic mining project off the ground. The manifesto betrays the NDP in Ontario and the thousands of NDP supporters who work in the mining industry.
The Leap Manifesto, however well intentioned, is bad policy and one that threatens to return to the NDP to the political wilderness, from whence it came.
For the original source of this editorial, click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2016/04/13/pov-leap-manifesto-a-threat-to-sudbury-ndp