Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Monday, November 30, 2009

The British are Crazy

And I'm not talking about the sitcoms.

Evenin' all is not allowed lest it confuse foreigners. Youth, boy, girl, businessman, are words non grata. Also bad words, ""child or youngster" indicate "unreliability or dishonesty""

Birthday cake is banned for being unhealthy.

UK flag is not allowed on ID cards.

Cake sales are shut down in case anyone slips near the tables or dies from eating nut-infested cake that was labeled "May contain nuts".

Oh yes, and Christmas is winterval.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Moon

An article I wrote at the request of MercatorNet. For the record, it was not my first choice of topics but..

"The idea of vampire romance literature has always appealed to me about as much as a prolonged visit to the dentist; avoid if at all possible. Unfortunately it was not possible, so I settled down to watch New Moon in a mood that just about matched the warm and slightly flat Ginger Ale I took in with me for sustenance. Things did not improve. I usually come out of the dentist feeling better than I walked out of that movie theatre. At the very least I don't feel as nauseated....."

Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Myth Busting

Answers to 12 pro-euthanasia arguments.

It’s my life, my death, my freedom, my choice, my right!

I don’t want to die hooked up to a bunch of machines or forced to stay alive when I know it’s time to pass on.

There are already reports of euthanasia being carried out all over the country. Wouldn’t it be safer to have it regulated by the government?

Having the right to die, even if I never exercise it, gives me the control I need to have a peaceful death.

and more...

By the Catholic Organization for Life and the Family (

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Roundup: Catching Horses and Shrivelling Weeds

Playing Hockey with Fishy Sticks

Something seems to have gone a little wrong in the hallowed halls of settled science. A hacker stormed the computers of the University of East Anglia and has brought forward startling (or not so startling) potential evidence of fraud and conspiracy on the part of global warming scientists.

Demon Incarnate Harper Doesn't Care Enough About Global Warming

In light of the above news:

"Environmental activists and opposition members said Wednesday that the absence of the Canadian prime minister at the Copenhagen conference would demonstrate a lack of interest.

“This is the most important international negotiation that Stephen Harper will ever be involved in,” said John Bennett, the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada, an environmental group. “To stay away is bordering on criminal.”"

Tolerance is the Virtue of the Man Without Convictions - G.K. Chesterton

Some people don't have that problem, thankfully. (Note: I have not read the book, but I do read many of his columns)

Smoking and Facebook can be Hazardous to Your Health

Telling people to watch what they post on the internet is starting to sound as old and "duh" as telling people that smoking isn't good for you. However it bears repeating as even people who should have known better seem to keep getting caught.

Hitler's Ghost Still Lives

“We recognize in our German basic law about philosophical and religious conviction and that parents have rights, but the basic law also includes that it is the state’s role to educate all children,” Judge Drier

Civil Service: They Can't Fire You but They Could Always Make You Compost Constable

That's right, dig through the muck to see if there is any inappropriate material in there. A poll, as SDA would say, just waiting to go wrong. Actually, it already has. Look on the left sidebar.

Baby Speaks Out on Behalf of Responsible and Caring Burglar

10 Tries and No Still No Lasting Victory, Better Luck Next Time. I Don't Think.

When this goes back to the CHRT Canada will be watching very, very closely.

Oh Sure, Blame the Canuckies

Unfortunately this guy doesn't seem to remember the result of the Canadian crisis. A startling show of Canadian pro-government solidarity (or at least anti-election/coalition/Quebec solidarity) in which the Governor-General supported the Canadian will against the "big bad separatist-run coalition". No anti-monarchy backlash that I remember. Then again, maybe the British are more anti-monarchy than Canadians. Canadians just don't think about it.

How Large a Share?

In general however I think the system needs massive restructuring. How on earth can it be good for people to be put in the middle of nowhere where there are no jobs and given enough money to live on (albeit badly)? Talk about a guaranteed way to destroy any human being.

Never Again; So Don't Ban Hate Speech

It's not rocket science. Don't give your enemies free publicity, don't reward behaviour you don't want to encourage, and don't give the guys with the guns power to shut off dissent. Which part of this is hard to understand?

Words Can Kill

And the words of irresponsible, evil, right-wing extremists can kill people downright dead. Or not... Then again maybe this is an example of Pre-Traumatic Republican Phobia Disorder. Maybe the census worker committed suicide because he was so scared by all the irresponsible, evil, etc, etc right-wingers that he decided to commit suicide before they could kill him. Hey it's about as credible as half the stuff you can find on the internet. The other half is less credible.

The HRC Latest Front in the War Against Hate

Then again, maybe not. We shall see.

UK Family Courts Make HRC Look Transparent and Fair

And the HRC cannot do anything compared to what a family court can do. An amazing series of articles. Parents reading this, don't worry too much. They said that Canadian courts were good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

10 Commandments of Coalition Building

For Jim R, thanks for the feedback.

1. Focus on one issue, no polygamous coalitions.

2. Expect, and prepare for, internal fighting.

3. Expect, and prepare for, outside attempts to create internal fighting.

4. Language is your greatest ally and greatest enemy. Use with kid gloves.

5. Think before you leap.

6. Money makes the world go round.

7. Use every clever, devious tactic at your disposal. No one likes a bull in a china shop.

8. Communicate your message as broadly as possible, in as many different forms as possible, using as many different types of media as possible.

9. Be gracious when possible.

10. Prepare for setbacks, discouragement, and burn-out. They will happen. Promise.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where Have All the Heroes Gone? They've Gone to the Psychiatrists.

(Just for the record. This was written before the Fort Hood shootings, so the rather dark irony in the title is purely coincidence. Promise)

They were mostly suits. Civil servants who were there because they had nothing better to do, and the matter involved their department. A group of badly prepped politicians sat around the table, asking nice, polite little questions. A few witnesses answered the softballs, read out prewritten talking points regardless of context, in the better moments made a few nice points, and engaged in personal slurs against people who had the audacity to make personal slurs against them. Day number whatever in another cumbersomely named Parliamentary Committee.

They were debating one of the most important issues in modern Canada. There were no youth chanting slogans, only a bare handful taking notes. The rest were too busy yelling at politicians over yet another environmental bill. A few hundred yards away freedom of speech was balancing on the line. They didn't know, they probably wouldn't have cared if they did.

They try to assert their individuality. They scream their defiance at the government.

Let's talk about utopia.

Grim, concrete, an atmosphere of fear and intimidation so thick that it begins to slowly choke the life out of you.

Sterile, white, conformity, no pleasure, no pain, a syringe, the lawns never have weeds.

Colourful, drugs, sex, drunken conformity of sodden pleasure, monotonous fluctuation.

Utopias are like pizzas, everyone has their own variety. But one theme that runs through many of them is that this is a No-Hero Zone. You don't need many heroes where everything slips by like pistachios on a conveyor belt. No drama, no moments of crisis. The bad ones disappear, taken by mysterious giant hands from above. The good ones run their course and land with a self congratulatory little rattle in the appropriate bag.


Heroes track mud in on the clean floor. More often than not they attack the postman, mistaking him for a burglar.

Criminals are so much simpler to deal with.

"...the image of a hero has shifted in our modern age to a man who is flawed, dark, and mysterious. We are reluctant to accept a heroic calling. These days purity and virtue are , to say the least, questionable. Cincinnatus, Galahad, and Roland have been replaced by anti-heroes such as Dirty Harry, Jason Bourne, and Rambo." Frank Miniter

So now we get heroics perpetrated by aberrations. Tortured, tormented, criminal, and very high-tech.

" believe in the heroic makes heroes." Benjamin Disraeli

What happens when we no longer want heroes? Can we eradicate heroism?

They have stars in their eyes and passion in their hearts. It seems the eternal prerogative of youth to be heroic. Or perhaps I should have said, it is their prerogative to feel a nameless need for something more.

We cannot quite eradicate "causes", so we will find them causes to our liking. Busy work.

Soon they grow tired of playing with toys. They get a job, buy a Starbucks.

If there are no standards, can we ever really rebel, ever really defend?

"In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite sceptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines... By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything." Chesterton

We are immersed in relativism and cynicism. There is no good and evil, no right and wrong, no up or down, no standard beyond expediency and we're not even sure about that. In this claustrophobia of equality can we be expected to look up to a hero? Can we believe in anything above or beyond ourselves? Did we kill the fairy tale when we made androgyny our god?

Can you die for something that is not a good? I dare say that most people when they dream of heroics, dream of the moment when the dragon's blood spills around their fingers, burning, staining. The Princess looks on from a safe distance and a red Ferrari. They want to fight for something worth fighting about. They don't want to be the sort of person that would make others consider legalizing high-level anti-depressants just so they don't have to listen to his grating moans.

Anti-heroes, heroes who do not know why they do what they do, heroes who are almost as repulsive as the evil they are fighting, heroes with all the attractive glamour of an oozing infection, have a hard time inspiring heroism. Real Heroism.

Is that why we are being given anti-heroes? Why we are given evil and told to admire it? Why suicide bombers are being elevated, and those who euthanize others portrayed as martyrs?

"Today, there is a tremendous cynicism about the capacity of the individual to impact the broader world, and the truth is that you probably can't make that big of a difference. But storytelling has always been the terrain where someone could. We need someone who can level a mountain so that we can step over an anthill... What I have noticed in the Millennials- the people who are coming of age in this new millennium-is a sadness about the possibility of heroism." Barbara Nicolosi

Swirl from the golden apple and the heroism of the good through the vortex into a grey room. Walk a few steps. Vapours start to form about your head. Turn around. There is a joke to be told. Tell it. Laugh because you aren't supposed to.

Embrace heroism, live it. Track mud in on the floor. Better yet, mop it up.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Renouncing Islamism

A reporter interviews ex-Islamist fanatics to find out what made them do what they did. Why they turned to this radical form of Islam.

Various reasons are cited, racism featuring prominently. Poverty interestingly enough, not, at least in these cases. Isolation and alienation, imposed either from without or within their communities seemed to be also very significant.

One interesting quote:

"I can trace something that seems genuinely new: an ex-jihadi way of looking at the world, that carries lessons about how to stop Western Muslims sinking into jihadism.

As children and teenagers, the ex-jihadis felt Britain was a valueless vacuum, where they were floating free of any identity.

Ed Husain, a former leader of HT, says: "On a basic level, we didn't know who we were. People need a sense of feeling part of a group – but who was our group?" They were lost in liberalism, beached between two unreachable identities – their parents', and their country's. They knew nothing of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or the other places they were constantly told to "go home" to by racists.

Yet they felt equally shut out of British or democratic identity. From the right, there was the brutal nativist cry of "Go back where you came from!" But from the left, there was its mirror-image: a gooey multicultural sense that immigrants didn't want liberal democratic values and should be exempted from them. Again and again, they described how at school they were treated as "the funny foreign child", and told to "explain their customs" to the class. It patronised them into alienation.

"Nobody ever said – you're equal to us, you're one of us, and we'll hold you to the same standards," says Husain. "Nobody had the courage to stand up for liberal democracy without qualms. When people like us at [Newham] College were holding events against women and against gay people, where were our college principals and teachers, challenging us?"

Without an identity, they created their own. It was fierce and pure and violent, and it admitted no doubt.....

He says the Saudi message is particularly comforting to disorientated young Muslims in the West. "It tells you – you're in this state of sin. But the sin doesn't belong to you, it's not your fault – it's Western society's fault. It isn't your fault that you're sinning, because the girl had the miniskirt on. It wasn't you. It's not your fault that you're drug dealing. The music, your peers, the people around you – it's their fault."

Just as their journeys into the jihad were strikingly similar, so were their journeys out. All of them said doubt began to seep in because they couldn't shake certain basic realities from their minds. The first and plainest was that ordinary Westerners were not the evil, Muslim-hating cardboard kaffir presented by the Wahabis. Usman, for one, finally stopped wanting to be a suicide bomber because of the kindness of an old white man."

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to Run a Coalition...

Lessons I learned from the Wilberforce Weekend Ottawa, more or less.

1. Form a governing body that oversees smaller sub-committees covering a full range of departments: communication, organization, ethics, legal, finance, etc, etc, etc.

2. Expect and prepare for division and internal fighting. You can either be into cage fights or you can have a coalition. Not both.

3. One coalition - One issue/project. Otherwise you will not only have cage fights but WW3. Either that or a coalition of one.

4. Don't get distracted. Focus is essential.

5. Let's repeat it again, focus. Repeat I am focusing, I am focusing, I am focusing... Twenty times before breakfast.

6. Use the enemy's weapons and outwit them at their own game. The Bible commands us to be serpents.

7. Whatever your budget projection is, multiply it several times.

8. Learn to use language like loaded weapons. C.A.R.E.F.U.L.L.Y (Bloggers that goes for you to)

9. Find the most credible spokesperson for your cause. In other words a sympathetic figure. If you think that is a cheap trick and all debates should be argued on pure logic and principle, I hear there is a nice Ivory Tower in a remote spot for sale.

10. Analyze your enemy. If he has semi-automatic Uzis and you don't, raid his weapons dump.

11. Expect your opponents to fight really, really dirty. If you can't handle misquotes, abuse, name-calling, slander, why aren't you gardening?

12. Expect someone or other in the group to shoot their mouth off sooner or later and prepare to play damage control. Just remember that we still jail people for assault so take some emotion-control therepy before you confront them.

13. Communication is the quintessence of any activism.

14. The devil is in the details. You thought lawyers were into precise language and interpretation? You have to make them look like the Little League. Particularly when reading your enemy's documents.

15. Remember that the enemy will be using point 14. Use a thesaurus when you write.

16. Young people like to get involved in stuff, on their own terms. Reading between the lines that means social media.

17. It's not just who you know. It's only 99% who you know.

18. Meet your audience where they are at and with what they will understand.

19. Feed people, it makes them happy.

20. Know what you're doing. If you don't know, learn.

21. Did I mention the word accountability yet?

22. If you want to play the game like a stupid, vicious, amateur, bigoted.... Please join the enemy. We need you there, not here.

23. People are only robots in sci-fi movies. In all other dimensions they tend to burn out and need copious amounts of encouragement and support.

24. If you dislike asking people for money you might as well put yourself in handcuffs.

25. What is your objective for tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year? Next decade? Next century? Why don't you know?

26. Figure out who is ahead and by how much when it comes to influencing public opinion and getting their message out. If the difference is big you can afford to take more risks than if it is 50/50.

27. Don't be afraid of law courts. After all your opponents are going to drag you into them if you don't drag them in first.

28. Oh and you aren't supposed to say opponents, instead you could try fellow citizens of the opposing viewpoint. Personally I prefer enemy forces of evil... but they are probably right that there are more helpful ways to phrase it.

29. Study history... then study it some more.

30. Please don't reinvent the wheel, please?

31. If you can shortcut, do so. That is the basis of progress after all.

32. Identify the moral high ground. Then take it. Quickly.

33. Actions speak louder than words. Well, almost. Don't let the opposition get the words but don't let them monopolize actions either.

34. You have the support of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Regardless of what your position is seemingly. So use it.

35. If your neighbor can't understand and support your position in under 90 seconds, you're dead. You just haven't finished moving yet.

36. Be gracious. It helps.

37. Don't let your opponents pick the battleground.

38. Have your facts. Know them. Deploy them. Put them into fortune cookies if you have to.

39. The only place where it is all mountain tops is the Himalayas, and even they go up and down. You will have setbacks. Promise.

40. Use every available means to get your message airtime (within reason....) and invent new ways if you can.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Reason that Miss Marprelate was AWOL..

She was at The Manning Centre for Building Democracy's Wilberforce Weekend Ottawa, an anti-euthanasia conference which she had the privilege of event blogging.

The euthanasia topic is coming to the front in Canada because of Bill C-384 which is seeking to legalize it.

One of the most important points this conference stressed was how uninformed and misinformed people are about this life-and-death issue. It is extremely important that everyone get clear and accurate information about it so they understand what euthanasia is (and is not), that almost no one needs to suffer unbearable pain, how euthanasia opens vulnerable people to abuse and coercion, etc.

70% of people in Canada support euthanasia, almost certainly many support it because they don't understand what the word means and they are beset by fears. Fear of being alone, fear of pain, fear of dying, fear of abuse, fear of losing control, fears of every type. Most, if not all, of these issues can be solved without killing the patient and that is what we need to focus on.

I must say I was very impressed with the quality of the conference, it was just brilliantly put together. You came away from it feeling like you knew a great deal more about what it takes to launch a successful campaign or coalition, on any issue, than when you came in.

Event Blogging the Wilberforce Weekend: Introductions and Welcome

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official videos and/or audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

The conference starts off in the Jazzy Restaurant at Ottawa U with lovely hors d'oeuvres, A few minutes before six o'clock Wes McLeod and Shannon Joseph welcome participants from 7 provinces and 4 states.

The conference is important for it's role in bringing together key players from related disciplines.

They introduce Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Preston Manning of The Manning Centre

Then they introduce the various people who contributed to the conference and give them a gift of appreciation:

Michele Boulva of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family

Janet-Epp Buckingham of the Laurentian Leadership Centre

Margaret Cottle, Palliative Care in Vancouver

Ugo Dodd, board member of Canadian Physicians for Life

Eric Lowther of the Association for Faith and Service

Derek Miedema, researcher for the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

Barbara McAdorey, researcher and co-ordinator for the Parliamentary Pro-life Caucus and Canadian Physicians for Life

Dan Scott of Tyndale University College

Sarah Sonne of 4MyCanada

Peter Stockland of the Centre for Cultural Renewal

Rhonda Wiebe of the Ethics Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities

Also thanks the volunteer help from Ottawa

Alex Schadenberg takes the mike next to give a brief introduction.

He is pleased to be here. The Wilberforce Weekend hoped to draw 100 people and they are happy to have achieved that goal.

People are here from different perspectives. From disability advocacy, medical, pro-life, religious, everyone can discuss things openly wherever they come from. We want to examine issues according to the Wilberforce model, focusing on cultural shift, changing the culture. Whatever our perspective on these issues it will be productive to examine them together. This is what we need to do as a society. We need to be open to moving with this issue. New ideas are good. We can be effective if we get different ways to see and present ideas. We are looking to sow seeds of change.

This is not just an information session, you are here to contribute and you need to feel that you can. I have gained from this and hopefully so will this country.

Event Blogging the Wilberforce Weekend: Overview of the Wilberforce Weekend Ottawa

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official videos and/or audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Wes McLeod

We come here to advance a transformative cultural policy.

Democratic and biotech forces are raising end of life issues high on Canada's scene. There are many forces that support advocacy groups at every level. We are training for outcome based advocacy. Wilberforce's campaign is one example of sound advocacy principles. We ought to study this campaign and apply these strategies for transformative cultural and public policy. This is an important weekend because it allows for synergy between key stakeholders working in different capacities and fields.

Our objective is to have an open and creative learning atmosphere where we can hear from many angles and people. Here, next steps will be proposed and you will have opportunities to volunteer for teams and standing teams that deal in these matters.

We will have a variety of sessions including watching the film Amazing Grace, strategy development, and lectures.

They will also be making audio and video recordings of the event.

The conference continued with a singing of O Canada, using a film produced by the National Film Board.

Preston Manning spoke next.

Welcome and thanks. We are watching a film depiction of one of the most successful advocacy campaign in our history. Wilberforce and his friends were held together by a single purpose. Tomorrow Mr. Manning will give a lecture extracting from the movie Amazing Grace what made Wilberforce's campaign successful.

In this conference we will constitute ourselves as a strategy planning group, as if we were launching a campaign. It is proto-campaign planning. We will divide up into small groups which deal with financing, media, etc. The leaders at the end will meet as if they were a campaign team. This is to draw out your wisdom on these matters and to give people the experience of what it is like to be on a campaign. We will need to keep discipline in these committees, people in politics want to discuss strategy and so forth into the night but you need to keep on track if we are to get anything done.

There are a few things to watch for in the movie Amazing Grace. Wilberforce and Pitt were 22 and 21 when Pitt became Prime Minister. Young people can do amazing things. The second thing is that people in ethical campaigns want all or nothing, but Wilberforce went after strategic objectives, abolishing the slave trade not abolishing slavery.

You should also notice the personal struggle that Wilberforce underwent, changing his beliefs. If you are trying to change someone it helps if you have changed your mind too.

In Amazing Grace it is shown in one Parliamentary House for dramatic effect but it really happened in two Houses, Commons and Lords. There were also committees, small groups that were even more important than the Houses.

Wilberforce also did not make personal enemies. Some of the MPs who voted for his bill in the end were violently opposed to it before. Wilberforce broadened his circle by embracing people who would disagree on everything except ending the slave trade.

Event Blogging the Wilberforce Weekend: Amazing Grace

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official videos and/or audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

The movie opens with William Wilberforce driving along the road. He is sick but he stops to intervene when he sees a horse being ruthlessly beaten.

He has been fighting slavery for years with no success. Now he has nightmares about slavery, haunted by his failure to stop it. Tormented about what he ought to be doing but isn't.

At that point he meets a girl by the name of Barbara.

The movie goes back in time to Wilberforce's early days in Parliament, before he became involved in slavery debates. He is arguing about England's strategy in the American Revolution. Afterwards he joins other MPs in a game of cards. As one of his opponents runs out of money, he offers his slave in lieu of money. Sickened at the whole incident, Wilberforce leaves. Pitt comes out after him and tells him that he needs to change himself before he can change the world. Wilberforce decides to take a stand, goes back into the club and standing on the table, sings Amazing Grace.

In a new scene, Wilberforce has a religious experience. He was lying on the wet grass and marvelling at nature because "God found me". It is inconvenient, he has a political career, but he just wants to marvel at spider webs.

Wilberforce thinks of becoming a preacher instead of a politician but he is not sure. Pitt tells him that he plans to become Prime Minister. No one of our age has ever taken power says Wilberforce. Counters Pitt, Which is why we are to young to know that certain things are impossible. So we'll do them anyway. Do you want to use your voice to praise God or change the world?

Pitt invites several guest to come to Wilberforce's home for dinner. Wilberforce doesn't know why they are coming. The guests show him chains and tell him about the slave trade. They tell him that he can do both the work of God and the work of a political activist by opposing the slave trade. Pitt hopes to get Wilber to stay in politics because Pitt wants to become Prime Minister and needs Wilberforce's help.

Wilberforce is unsure. He goes to visit his old pastor, John Newton, who wrote "Amazing grace" and is an ex-slave trader. John Newton is mopping the floor, dressed in rough cloth. Newton says that Wilberforce has work to do. He should not choose a life of solitude. Newton lives with the ghosts of 20,000 slaves. Wilberforce wants to hear about the slave trade but Newton can't face telling his testimony. He tells Wilberforce to fight the slave traders. He warns Wilberforce that he will get dirty, he will dream it, but for God's sake to do it, stop them.

Thomas Clarkson, a revolutionary and anti-slavery activist visits. When he comes in Wilberforce is in box made to the dimensions of a slave berth.

The movie moves forward in time again. Wilberforce gets a letter from Jamaica about the horrific conditions there.

He meets Barbara again. They decide to have an argument but find out that they agree on everything. Barbara tells about how she followed his campaign as a girl and enthusiastically supported all of it. Wilber gets angry because after all the petitions and efforts they have had no success. Barbara urges him to talk about the campaign.

The movie goes back in time again. Wilberforce goes to the India dock with Equiano to see a slave ship.

Wilber makes his first speech about slavery in the house of commons. There are vigorous protests from other MPs. They protest that slavery brings in great revenue and if the British stopped then the French would just take over.

Wilberforce calls a meeting of supporting MPs and activists. Almost no one shows up. He says we are talking about truth, so should spread truth everywhere in every way. Fox, a vigorous opponent of Wilberforce in other matters, shows up to support him.

Pitt then gets elected Prime Minister.

A group of MPs are taken on a yacht with a music group and lavish refreshments. As they sail along they are taken beside a slave ship on which 400 out of 600 slaves died on the journey to the Indies. They see chains and smell the stench of death from the ship.

Wilberforce's friends spent the winter gathering evidence. Equiano published his book which sold like wildfire. People boycotted slave sugar. The activists had to fight rumours and gossip about them.

Wilberforce is taken ill with colitis as he begins his campaign.

They brought up the bill a year later. The MPs bring objections, that there is no evidence that the Africans object to the trade. or that the ordinary English people object. Wilber brings a petition signed by 390,000 people. Fox, to great objection, signs his name. The opponents ask for time to examine all the signatures. They are given time.

Dundas, another MP, suggests that change should be made gradually so as not to bankrupt the nation.

Clarkson gets involved with the French Revolution. This undermines Wilberforce because now he is associated with a violent foreign revolution and accusations of treason are considered substantiated even though Wilberforce refuses to support any revolution.

God has set before Wilberforce two great aims; the abolition of the slave trade and the reformation of society. Wilber is taken very ill. Becomes addicted to opium to control the pain. This is now five years after the first bill is brought forward.

Pitt warns Wilberforce about his revolutionary friends. Threatens him.

The threat of revolutionary France undermines all their work. Wilberforce is called a seditious traitor and no one will listen. Supporters faded away, died, were ineffectual, no one took an interest. Wilberforce basically gives up

Now the two time periods of the movie join. Barbara and Wilberforce get married. Pitt comes to the wedding and he and Wilberforce heal the breach between them. Pitt says that times are changing and things may be better for Wilberforce.

Wilberforce goes to visit Newton again who is writing his reminiscences. Newton recalls the beauty of the Africans' names. Says that they were the humans, the English were the apes.
Wilberforce finds Clarkson, gathers his friends. He is going to fight again. His friend comes from the Indies with statistics, accounts, etc. He tells how in the Indies there are rebellions. They are looking to Wilberforce and England for hope. Says that they are not doing enough. It is not a game.

Wilberforce's friend suggests an idea for winning the war against slavery. They pass a seemingly innocuous law which says that French ships sailing under American flags can be seized. This seemingly dull bill, so patriotic, so harmless, will strike a deathblow to slavery because 80% of all slave ships fly the American flag to avoid privateers. If the bill passed, no one, English or French, would be able to ship slaves because of the danger of seizure. It would bankrupt most of the slavers.

They get a boring MP to bring it forward so no one knows that the anti-slavery group is behind it. They arrange for most of the opposition MPs to be at a race track and they carry the bill.

Wilberforce breaks his addiction to laudanum because he cannot feel the joy of their victory.

William Pitt dies but he arranges his succession to make sure that Wilbur can win the battle against the slave trade.

They bring another bill to the house of commons. This time, it passes 283 to 16.

Event Blogging the Wilberforce Weekend: Information on Sub-Committees

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official videos and/or audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Sub-committees you can join.

Research - Looks at the opposition and public opinion

Legal - Constitutionality issues

Medical and Palliative Care - Offer constructive alternatives

Ethics - Moral issues and principles

Communications and Media - Politics is 90% communication. Unless a politician can see in 90 seconds how to explain to the public your issue, you are done.

Grassroots Democracy - Mobilizing large groups

How to Build a Coalition - Form a core group that won't get divided.

Organization and Administration - Databases, social networking

Funding - How to raise money. To move a national poll 3-4% takes around 5 million dollars, if you are lucky

Spiritual Resources - Wilberforce's campaign lasted for over 50 years. Sustaining people in bad times

We have people from across Canada and the States. This work has international implications, America affects Canada. We are part of an international world, our ideas have big implications. There are people in our groups from different perspectives, respect that.

Event Blogging the Wilberforce Weekend: Principles of Effective Participation in Advocacy Campaigns

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official videos and/or audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Preston Manning has been in Parliament and founded two political parties that became official opposition. He published a book called "Think Big". He is CEO of The Manning Centre for Building Democracy and is involved with the Fraser Centre. He also speaks on many different issues. He and his wife have 5 children and 10 grandchildren.

Preston Manning takes the mike.

Wilberforce's anti-slavery movement was a campaign to right a great social evil. One of the most successful advocacy efforts in British history, it stretched over 50 years.

There were many heroes who were motivated to this work by their faith

Sharpe the legal mind
Clarkson the organizer
Moore was into education
John Newton the 6:20 Amazing Grace
Stevens lawyer and strategist
Clapham Group which provided spiritual support
The Parliamentarians especially William Wilberforce

Most were young, evangelical Christians from the Wesley/Whitfield revival.

This is coming from a religious perspective but these lessons can be good for people of other faith convictions.

Our agenda for this lecture is to extract principles and lessons from the movie Amazing Grace.

The Great Guideline "Be wise as serpents and gracious as doves" Matt. 10:16

This applies whatever your faith conviction. During the first year of Jesus's ministry He was the only public figure, His disciples just followed and listened. After a year He sent out His disciples to do work on their own but before He sent them out He gave them a talk which included this verse.

The serpent is the image of the devil and the dove is the image of the Holy Spirit, in other words this is saying be smart as the enemy but gracious as God.

Don't be vicious as snakes and dumb as pigeons.

Jesus was once asked about paying taxes to Caesar. This was a loaded question because whatever His answer He would be seen as either a traitor to the Jews or to the Romans. Strategy point one: He didn't answer right away. Sometimes shutting up is the best response. He asks for a coin. Then He asks who's picture is on the coin. His answer is "Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" This was a quick sound bite and was very shrewd.

A Gracious Resolution

Slavery was a taboo subject in the house of Lords. Some moral crusaders would have rushed into there cursing the trade and everyone involved in it. Pitt said that this would make sure the subject was never raised again for 20 years.

This was the resolution. "That this House at it's earliest convenience, give consideration to the circumstances surrounding the slave trade."

This was very mild and gracious. Pitt was very good at the serpentry part.

William Wilberforce was gracious. "I mean not to accuse anyone but to take the shame upon myself in common indeed with the whole Parliament of Great Britain .... We are all guilty."
Many in the House of Lords were benefitting from the trade if not actual slave owners

Stephen came up with the idea to divide the slave traders by bringing forward an anti-French bill that included anti-slavery issues.

What can we learn from our past mistakes in handling of moral issues like abortion. We went for all or nothing in the abortion debate.

Two-Fold Test: Is it wise? Is it gracious?

Two-track approach

The suppression of the slave trade by legal means
The reformation of manners by social actions and service. Factory conditions, cruelty to animals, etc.

People believed his legal approach because he showed his care in other practical ways.

Seize the High Moral Ground

Begin the initiate by identifying and empathizing with the suffering that you seek to alleviate. People want to start with first moral principles or the legal issues. That is a mistake. Don't start there with the public.

A saying is "We don't care how much you know until we know how much you care."

When the people feel that you care they will listen to your principles and laws. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus got his authority from being in the community for 30 years and being able to identify with them.

In the case of the current bill before Parliament, there were six speakers who spoke after the bill was presented. Only one started by addressing suffering and that was the other Bloc member.

The anti-slavery activists used a case where 130 slaves were thrown overboard in a storm. They used blood encrusted chains and ex-slaves with brands. The abolitionists started by using compassion, then moved to principles.
The public is motivated by fear in their support of euthanasia. They are afraid of dying more than death, there is a fear of abuse, fear of loosing control, fear of pain. We need to identify with the fear and sympathize. Then we can get the moral credibility to speak.

Building a Coalition

William Wilberforce "bringing together who are likeminded and who may at some time or other combine ...for the public good" is a principle "of first rate importance."

We need to bring together people who agree on a few issues even if they disagree on a whole bunch of other things. What is the common ground of people who oppose euthanasia? Clever opponents will try to blow coalitions apart. They throw thins in the middle to create division. With the abolitionist there were lines between Quakers and people like Fox.

You need to figure out how you can defend your coalition from attack. Be preemptive, anticipate division and figure out how to deal with it ahead of time.

Support the campaigner with spiritual resources.

There will be discouragements. Opponents of William Wilberforce gave his supporters tickets to an opera and so they lost an important vote. The French revolution hurt them badly because the abolitionists were identified with it. Wilberforce was depressed and ill. Clarkson opted out for over a decade.

Personal spiritual resources, Wilberforce had "The Great Change". He would have said you need a personal inner change before you can ask others to change

Counsel of Godly pastors like John Newton

Fellowship of a support/accountability group. The Clapham group was called a sect but we would have called it a support group. They probably kept Wilberforce in the game when things got tough. This is key to long term success.

Side note: A copy of the talk with PowerPoint Slides will be available.

Be clear on objective/strategy. Distinguish between immediate objectives and your ultimate objective. Don't go for all or nothing

Utilize the tools of democracy, almost all of which were invented or used during this campaign
Boycott, pamphlet, petition, public meeting. Today there is social networking.

Shift the discussion/decision to the most favourable arena. Wilberforce wanted to shift the power from the House of Lords where they would never win to the House of Commons.
Today we need to shift from the Supreme Court to Parliament

Meticulous research and preparation, prepare your case and for your campaign meticulously and thoroughly.

There are a few people at each end on any issue and about 60% floating around in the middle

Use existing law (e.g. the Charter) someone got a judge to declare slavery illegal using existing law before Parliament passed it's bill.

Learn to use the Charter. Our opponents use the charter but we should and we can. This Bill is actually unconstitutional because it legislates medical practice which is a provincial matter.

Address the Myths that sustain the status quo, like pain is unmanageable.

Stick to your key messages.

Speak with one voice. Figure out who is the most credible spokesperson. (not politicians) and get the messages coming from those people.

Watch your language, invent new language if you must.

Be Prepared for Setbacks


Question 1 By phrasing this as a Christian thing you have marginalized people like the questioner and also marginalized the issue in Canada. You say that the anti-slavery was Christian but there is actually another side. This should be phrased as a social not religious issue

Answer 1 I thought I made it clear at the beginning. This campaign is instructive and has a faith dimension, but the lessons from this are relevant whether you are coming from a faith background or not.

Q1 Suggests cut back on Christian content in slides

A1 Good advice.

Q2 There is a difference between Wilberforce and our situation because euthanasia is illegal but slavery was legal. So it is really the opposite situation.

A2 Good point but to get Parliament to do what you want, whether to change or keep a law, is the same. It is unfortunately easier to rally people against things than for things. This is a challenge when trying to get support for things like palliative care.

Q3 We need to change from negative to positive debate, enhancing support and allying fear.

A3 That will be a challenge for small groups, to frame the debate in a positive way.

Q4 Our opponents have their own religion and use a Wilberforce campaign. In New Hampshire we had success because we said euthanasia supports elder abuse. This is a public safety issue which appeals across the board.
Q5 Fletcher, who is disabled, wrote a National Post article about why he is sitting out of the debate. He supports euthanasia but thinks that is unacceptable until we offer more alternatives to euthanasia.

A5 Fletcher is an example of a credible spokesperson because he has been in that situation. In his book he talks of his fear of going to hospital lest someone think he is not worthy of life.

Q6 This speaker has a disability and has to deal with this issue. In the disability movement we reject the word "suffering" because it is dehumanizing. I get nervous with using the word suffering, when we do so we create pitiable people. We have been before the Supreme Court many times. We think that should be a single issue, short term coalition. Don't drag in abortion and so forth.

A6 This addresses two things, campaign strategy like long term or short term, narrow or broad as well as finding a good spokesperson.

Q7 About identifying with suffering. He has close family with disabilities. He can silence opponents because of that but it shuts down the debate and brings it back to just the issue of choice.

A7 Opponents use suffering so we need to either identify too or change the battleground

Q8 Works with people with Down Syndrome. We are facing a generation coming up who will never know someone with Down Syndrome because of prenatal diagnosis. We support fair and balanced information. We encourage people with Down Syndrome to talk about their marginalizing experiences and their vulnerability within the medical system.

Q9 In answer to the first questioner. This is going to be lead mostly by people of faith, most are Christian but not all. We should create a multi-faith coalition. I am Catholic but my greatest support in same-sex marriage opposition was from Muslims. We want non-believers in our coalition. However whether we like it or not it will be guided by people of faith, which is more than just Christians.

Q10 Questioner 4 feel marginalized by this. She is not a practicing religious person but is a leader in her area.

A10 We need different perspectives. Faith based arguments work best for some people, secular arguments for others. We don't need division.

Event Blogging the Wilberforce Weekend: Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Debate in Canada

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official videos and/or audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

This is about building a coalition which he has been doing successfully for 10 years.

We need to be focused on the issues. Some people are concerned about many different social issues but we cannot mix them up. There is no other way to form an effective coalition.

We need to identify with the people whom this directly affects.

We need to focus on the issue in our sessions later on.

We are bringing parallels from the Wilberforce campaign. Although euthanasia is illegal, we are fighting social opinion.

We need to define what euthanasia. "Aid in dying" is not a good term for euthanasia, everyone wants aid when they are dying.

Directly and intentionally ending the life of another person by active or passive means for supposed reasons of "mercy' is the definition of euthanasia. The only thing that separates euthanasia and murder is the motive of "mercy".

Assisted suicide is direct and intentional involvement in ending the life of another person. You encourage suicide, or give a lethal prescription, but the patient actually kills themselves.

Withholding or withdrawing aggressive medical treatment is not euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Neither are unintentional overdoses or unintentional deaths.

This is about the direct and intentional cause of death.

I get calls all the time from people who think that their friend or mother is being euthanized by a hospital. Unless it is direct and intentional it is not euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Terri Shaivo was not dying. She had no medical condition causing her death. She was just cognitively disabled and was dehydrated to death. Terri died because she was denied basic care. Morally this was euthanasia.

We are not opposed to natural death, just to killing.

We are not opposed to ending medical treatment that lacks benefit, is overly aggressive, burdensome, etc. This is not about just pulling out a plug. There is much misinformation even among educated people on this point.

We are opposed to imposing limits on medical care that is beneficial. This particularly affects people who are disabled and so forth.

Jocelyn Downie says there is no difference between killing and letting someone die. That is a lie. If you die a natural death that is not euthanasia.

We must remain clear and focused or we will lose the debate. Same-sex marriage or abortion does not belong in a euthanasia debate. Take lessons from these campaigns but keep those issues out.

We need to deal with the issue of choice. Choice is a lie. It is a mantra. This is about the rules that a physician must follow to directly and intentionally cause death.

If it is about choice, we will lose the battle.

Bill C-384 was introduced by Francine Lalonde. The debate will be on Dec 1 and the vote will be Dec 2, 2009.

Safeguards in this bill

Patient must be 18. This is unconstitutional and would be struck down by courts. If this is a social good it cannot be limited by age.

Patient must have tried or expressly refused treatment. This means nothing because you will always have either tried or refused treatment.

You must be in severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief. It is not only people with terminal conditions. It can include chronic depression.

You must appear to be lucid, you might not be lucid but you just have to appear to be so. This wording is so broad you could drive a hearse through it.

This is not about choice.

In the morning I appear to be lucid, that doesn't mean I'm lucid. I have six children.

A medical practitioner must be provided with two written requests by someone appearing to be lucid. They must be more than 10 days apart and expressly state the person's free and informed consent to opt to die.

Euthanasia support groups facilitate euthanasia and will line up two physicians for you where needed.

People can have terrible moments of shock where they find out they are dying. If assisted suicide is legal they could be killed during their worst moment.

This Bill does not define terminal illness.
It does not require a witness at the time of death.
It does not restrict death tourism. In Switzerland it costs about $12,000 to die. Someone could make a lot of money. This is not about equality and choice.

The bill does not create a right to die with dignity.

Alex met with Steven Fletcher and asked if he would feel right if his doctor had the right to kill him. Fletcher said "absolutely not"

It would allow people who are chronically depressed to get assisted suicide.

It is a danger to people with disabilities.

We need to contact MPs about this especially to Ignatieff who has not announced his stand.

Tracy Latimer was perceived as better off dead. They didn't talk about what she could do. She went to school everyday by bus. The assistant said at the trial that Tracy was a happy child who was not suffering.

She loved music and she had a radio that she could turn on and off when she wanted to. She liked windshield wipers and outdoor fires. She was dehumanized. This dehumanized people with disabilities

The Gronigen Protocol is about euthanasia of children under 12. There was a court case where a child with severe spina bifida was euthanized. They didn't give the baby pain medication or surgery. 22 newborns with spina bifida were euthanasia over a certain period of time. There were five criteria for the euthanasia of infants. There must be a certain diagnosis and prognosis. Must be hopeless and unbearable suffering (which might include disability.) An independent doctor must agree. Parents must give informed consent, but parents are too shocked and emotionally involved to give informed consent at that time. The procedure must be carried out in accordance with the accepted standard. There must be an after the fact report.

Three groups of infants can be euthanized.

Group 1 are going to die. Why cannot we just let them die naturally.

Group 2 Need significant treatment, grim prognosis. Should they be treated or killed?

Group 3 are not dying but have suffering that is sustained, severe, and cannot be relieved. They said that it is the babies who would otherwise live but whose lives would be wretched to the extreme who need euthanasia the most. What does wretched to the extreme mean?

This is about eugenics and cost-containment. It is also about possible future suffering.

Malphurs and Cohen study. This concerns cases where one "loving" spouse kills a spouse and then commits suicide. In almost all of these cases the murder victim resisted death.

Some said that euthanasia has nothing to do with depression. To their surprise depression was associated with more euthanasia requests. In 2007 49 people in Oregon were euthanized. No one received psychological assessment.

Royal Society of Canadian put together a report on end of life decisions. 4 out of 6 panel members were radical supporters of euthanasia.

Nadia was a 18 year old student at Carlton University. She went online trying to seek help for her depression but she found someone who pretended to be a young female nurse. They created a "suicide pact" and Nadia killed herself. The predator tried to get Nadia to kill herself on webcam so he could watch.

We require a wider, stronger, effective, and unified organization. Alex is committed to winning this battle. We must accept our diversity. This must be a single issue coalition.

We are looking for people who are willing to build or work with a central organization that opposes euthanasia

We are confident that we will defeat this current euthanasia bill unless there is something unexpected.

We need more leaders
We need more speakers
We need more donors
We meed more workers
We need you

On Facebook most of our fans are young people. We ask how we can motivate young people. Young people can be motivated if you meet them where they are.

Question 1 Jocelyn Downing position is not lying, she is mistaken. Tracy Latimer was suffering from a dislocated hip, it was bad medicine that it wasn't corrected. Women do kill their spouses too by the way. They are equal opportunity homicidals. I'm a bachelor.

Answer 1 I shouldn't have said she is lying. I read her book and went to two of her lectures. She is very much in favour of euthanasia. She actually gave a government funded talk.

Q2 Two issues that are potential pitfalls ahead. With regard to "All or nothing", Francine Lalonde bill will lose because it is all or nothing. But we may face a much more reasonable bill later on, what then?

A2 There are some who say the current bill is too wide, others that there is not good enough palliative care, some just support euthanasia period.

Q2 But we need all or nothing because we can't have death.

Q2 You are speaking from the point of view of a doctor. As such your strongest and most personal point of view is this, that doctors are there to save life, to say they should kill changes them. Physicians need to start saying that.

Q2 We will need to oppose a moderate bill, it must be all or nothing.

Q2 Yes, that is a problem

Q3 What about extraordinary measures being removed without patients consent, that is euthanasia.

A3 That can happen. It is a huge concern in disability issues. This might be a huge ethical problem when some people die, but it is not actually euthanasia if someone dies a natural death.