Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sunday, November 15, 2009

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.

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