Leap Manifesto

I was shocked and disgusted at the audacity of Jim Shepard’s letter to the editor in the newspaper. Does he think we are idiots?

His suggestion that, “it is essential that all British Columbians fully understand the NDP’s Leap Manifesto,” is a double lie. For effect, he repeats the phrase, “NDP’s Leap Manifesto” nine times, implying that the B.C. NDP have adopted it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And B.C. voters do not need to read it to know the NDP’s election platform. It is clearly stated on their website.

The more important questions are: who is Jim Shepard and Concerned Citizens 4 BC? And what is it about the Leap Manifesto that they don’t like?

Jim Shepard is a former economic adviser for Christy Clark. When Vancouver Sun reporter Daphne Brahmen wanted to ask him about his full-page, NDP bashing advertisements, she says, “calls to Shepard’s home went unanswered and the CC4BC website has no contact information.”

A B.C. government website lauds Shepard for having served, “as chair and CEO of Finning, OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, director of B.C. Rail,” etc. In other words, he is a member of the one per cent, the oligarchy which pulls the strings behind the scenes for this right wing neo-conservative government.

So who is the CC4BC? Described as a “B.C. Liberal surrogate,” one reporter found its website used an “iStock photograph” to depict a group of supposedly concerned B.C. citizens.

So other than their frontman, Jim Shepard, most of them would rather stay behind the scenes.

It reminds one of the billionaires like the Koch brothers in the U.S., who as Jane Mayer exposed in her book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, raised close to $ 800 million to put toward the 2016 Republican presidential campaign.

Last of all, what do these one percenters not like about the Leap Manifesto? I admit, its subtitle, A Call for a Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and One Another, sounds diabolical.

But its signatories include many of my favourite Canadians like David Suzuki, Maude Barlow, Gord Downie, and 46,000 others. Is it because the authors suggest making public policy based on science? Or maybe it’s the recommendation to put an end to fossil fuel subsidies (good old corporate welfare, it’s the best kind) or of higher income taxes on corporations and wealthy people (the one percenters always insist on fairness, like a Mitt Romney type being in a lower income tax bracket than his maid).

We, the 99 per cent, do not need to read the Leap Manifesto, or go to Shepard’s provincewide, public interest conversation. All we need to do is go to the polls May 9 and vote in our own best interests for a change.

Terry Shykora