Laura Stone and Justin Giovanetti report on the recent leadership review vote at the NDP’s national convention in Edmonton. Mr. Mulcair lost his attempt to forestall a leadership review by a margin of 52% to 48% and will step down as leader of the party, which fell to third place in the last election after rising for the first time to Official Opposition status in the 2011 election.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Social studies, current events, history

Key Question to Explore:

  • What is the Leap Manifesto and what part did it play in the downfall of Tom Mulcair?

New Terminology:

Leap Manifesto, immemorial, infrastructure, financial transaction taxes, reconciliation, austerity

Materials Needed:

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

The recent New Democratic Party policy and leadership review convention in Edmonton produced two significant outcomes: 1) Tom Mulcair was voted out as leader; 2) The NDP voted to review the Leap Manifesto, a document that proposes a radical shift away from non-renewable resources. The manifesto also served to deeply divide the convention because Alberta’s NDP, ruling over a resource-dependent province, openly repudiated it.

Since the manifesto appears to represent a bold new direction for the NDP, students could benefit from a lesson on what the Manifesto is about, who wrote it, how it affected the leadership vote and how it may affect the future of the NDP.

Using the attached article as well as the link to the official Leap Manifesto website, students will work in groups to complete worksheets that explain the Manifesto and suggest reasons it helped bring down Tom Mulcair as leader of the NDP.

Action (lesson plan and task):

Have students read the Globe article silently and then ask them for a summary. Ensure they understand the tensions that the Leap Manifesto generated between those who support it and the Alberta NDP who, generally, oppose it. Have students list other possible reasons Mr. Mulcair did not win the support of his party, including his last campaign, in which he promised to balance the budget in his first fiscal year in office.

Ask students what they know, if anything, about the Leap Manifesto. Use this as a way to introduce their group work. Organize the class into groups and have all work on the same worksheet. When they’ve finished, ask for group reports and encourage a discussion based on their work.


Using this website: complete the following tasks:

  • According to the website, what is the main crisis Canada is facing today?
  • What does the Canada of the future look like, according to the vision statement of this document?
  • Why ‘leap’? Why not take smaller incremental steps to achieve the above goal?
  • How soon could Canada be getting 100% of its electricity from renewable resources? What research is cited in support of this claim?
  • What role should Indigenous Peoples play in the transformation to a country run by clean energy projects?
  • Describe Leap’s vision of a non-polluting economy. What would housing, transportation, and future jobs look like?
  • How does Leap interpret the current drop in oil prices, as good or bad?
  • What is Leap’s position on building new pipelines?
  • Why would the Alberta branch of the NDP take issue with the document?
  • How did Tom Mulcair’s position on the Manifesto possibly hurt his chances to win the leadership review vote?
  • Discuss the manifesto within your group. Take a vote to see how many would support it.

Be prepared to present an oral report on your work.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Have groups provide oral reports to the class. Discuss as needed and ask for a show of hands: Ask students: how many of you would have supported this Manifesto if you were asked to vote?
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students can describe the part the Leap Manifesto played in the recent NDP convention that ousted Tom Mulcair as leader.

Confirming Activity:

  • Consider asking students to follow news reports on the NDP to see if the party shows stronger or weaker support for the Manifesto as time goes on.