Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Event Blogging the Wilberforce Weekend: Advocacy Campaign Planning Meeting

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.

This is a simulated campaign strategy meeting. In a real meeting they would go around and ask how the meetings went. Did someone talk too much? Did you stay focused?
Somethings will need to be adjusted to different regions

The Reports

Coalition Building -

Had quite a few young people which was great to give a different perspectives.

A coalition has to include different ethnic groups and perspectives.
Needs a positive and self-explanatory name
Rights and equality based focus
Open to everyone religious, non-religious...
Guidelines for communication, discipline, clear expectations, unity in diversity, entry protocols?
Separate English/French Coalitions. Separate religious coalition? Effective communication strategy.
3 Actions to begin with:
Make a Coalition agreement
Appoint a Steering Committee

Grassroots Democracy

Three tracks, legal (not grassroots), political (grassroots), medical care.
First - Education, Most people would stare off into space if you talked to them about palliative care. End of life and pain relief are easier phrases to understand.
Second - Need for regular messaging events. Demonstrations, rallies, at local to national levels.
Third - Contact MPs on this issue. Email and pre-made postcards are not much better than nothing. 1-2 paragraph personal letter with return address is great. MPs really do log and pay attention to your input.
Fourth - Involving Youth, essay and video contests. Specific outreach to campus.
Fifth - Organize speaking tours
Sixth - Make use of information technology


Pleased to tell you that in 50min we were able to summarize the entire Western Philosophical canon (laughter).

Should be more popular than academic.
Words like justice and equality cause confusion.
Ethics is knowledge. You need to have as much info as possible to make ethical decisions. Spoke about how some things are unknowable or not yet known.
We also spoke about how the opposition subverted the use of the word choice.
As a community we should be erring on the side of life. We are caring for the living, not helping people die.
There are many international documents that we can use in our favour. They have things about the value of humanity written in secular language.
(Slogan) A positive ethic creating a caring community.
Preston Manning: Ethics should also take concern for the internal ethics of coalition as well.


Would need to have two main focuses. Supplying the needs of the campaign immediately. Profile MPs, finding talking points, databases of research and organizations.
Second in the academic community to get credentialed research that fills in gaps, clinical research into how this affects vulnerable people. Research into affect on families.
In retrospect research would find it better to liaison with other groups to find out what they need.
P Manning: In the heat of a campaign find someone who already knows it rather than researching it yourself for 2 days if possible.
The worst thing that can happen is when key players get worn out so we have the ...

Spiritual Group

Had Catholics and Protestants and still got on.

The role of community is important. Support for family of campaigners as well. Campaigners can't always be there for their families and children.
Listening service, people need to talk.
Rest and relaxation. The need for fun.
Positive letters for encouragement.
Providing books
PM Manning: Having people who ask about and encourage you can be so good.


Our vision is to have a steering committee from all different organizations. No need for a new organization just representatives from different existing ones.
8-10 people should meet a few times a year. One part-time staff person. Different organizations contribute money and we do fund raisers.
Steering committee would have controls on finances etc. Reports to other organizations.

Formed a draft budget for one year.
Need to develop the following:
Objective for steering committee.
Short term incremental goals to keep focused.
Who is on the steering committee.
Operational protocols for problem solving.
Third-party evaluations
Volunteers, recruit specific skill sets from within different organizations. Attract specific volunteers for specific projects.
Steering committee should be delegates from, not leaders of, source organizations so they are accountable to parent organization leadership.
P Manning: Do you allow for a campaign manager. There can be fights between underlying organizations and the campaign manager when the underlying organization can't hand off the issue to the campaign manager for a campaign.
Organize - this steering committee could pick a leader. Maybe a rotating position.
In other words, don't create something new, leverage existing skills.


Wasn't too happy with the fact that Organization report involves half a million dollars. Research - easy to raise money. Spokesperson, staff, communication, legal case funding (hard to do),
How to raise money. Foundations hard to get money from. Need a groundswell of supporters. Coalition fees - membership fees. events as money raiser. Multi-face segments, fundraising from all faith communities. Web-based funding. Focus groups, Letter campaigns. Track communications. Communication media team. Phone campaigns.
Reasons for giving - personal experience with the issue, education, people who want to make a difference, networking together, need to get public exposure because people want to give to successful organizations.
P Manning: There are some problems. easier to get money for negative appeals than positive appeals. Strategic problem. More fights in coalitions over money than anything. raising and spending money are delicate.

Communications and Media

They focused on external communication and on a web campaign as the first step. Considered it as a branding exercise.
Some observations:
They (pro-euthanasia) are ahead on language, public perception
We are ahead on truth
They are ahead on faces, public figures
We are ahead on witness, stories
They are ahead on being perceived as caring
We are ahead on sanctity
They are ahead on the future, that it is "inevitable"
We are ahead on our position being the status quo
From 0-10 how well we were doing. We are 4 out of 10. we are on defence and we are behind. If you are behind you shouldn't be on defence but on offence.

Developed some slogans:
If my doctor supports euthanasia she's not for me
Kill the pain not the patient
Stop the death machine
What's the rush?
He fought for our lives should we not fight for him? The Canadian treasure box series. People as treasure not trash.
Showed some example slides.


First - Legislative. Charter. Need to uphold current law. Redefining some concepts like aid and abet, counselling. Enforcement issues. Positive proactive measures like healthcare bill of rights.

Second - Litigation, look at things like withdrawn and refusal of treatment, discrimination, interference in upcoming legal battles. Access to services.

Third - Set of legal principles. Abuse of palliative sedation. Medical futility, food and fluids. Constitutional implications in federal/provincial jurisdiction issues. Two key issues for Canadians is our healthcare and Charter

Fourth - Administrative issues and administrative bodies. Our own administration, set up advisor board, legal fund for good cases. Look at accountability for hospitals.

P Manning - If you only had $500,000 what would you focus on?

Legal - Find right test case for palliative sedation. Address medical futility and access to services. Develop principles. Accountability


Want to stop calling it the palliative track but call it medical. Broaden to include all who need support, disabled, older people, etc.
We have stories going for us. Positive about how care has made difference. Negative about not receiving care and potential for abuse. These people don't have a choice when they are taken advantage of. Spread through new media.
Need a new name
Networking opportunities for doctors etc who get lonely. Website, web based mailing list that is uniquely Canadian. Form subgroup of coalition for medical professionals
Contact medical organizations, etc to make sure they are strong on these issues.
Get medical people involved.

Get on curriculum committees.

Get team for specific issues. Little SWAT teams of five people, lawyer, doctor, etc. give 3 minute presentation each to MPs.
Lack of education makes people afraid. Or they have small fear of loosing control, we need to replace with the big fear of euthanasia making you loose control.
Remembering heritage we have. A cultural green, our heritage is like an old growth forest. You can cut it down in a few minutes but it takes hundreds of years to grow.
P Manning: You will notice that communication runs through all groups. Love the old growth forest analogy.
In this country there are regional differences. You can make a national strategy but it needs to be customized for different regions.

Quebec Group

Need to create a French-speaking coalition.

Covered much of the same ground as the other committees. People have many fears, choice is illusion, we need a diverse membership.

The object is to protect vulnerable people, not just people with terminal illnesses.

Coalition is not the right word. A better word might be "Regroupement" for Prevention of Suicide and Euthanasia. This is tentative. It should be suicide not assisted suicide. Quebec is very much into anti-suicide campaigns, how can you oppose suicide and support assisted suicide?

Necessary actions: Find a leader, appoint a team, give correct education and challenge confusion and misinformation, show alternatives, reclaim important words, identify political allies.

P Manning: In Quebec there is most likelihood of supporting euthanasia but more concern for vulnerable people.

Quebec - They are not more likely, there is just lack of information and much disinformation.

Wes McLeod

Next steps we can take:

Each person leverages synergies they have discovered or renewed here.
Manning Centre commits to communicate a summary of this meeting. This will be emailed to you. We will also give to each person a list of people who attended the seminar with contact info.
Third thing DVDs will be available from Euthanasia Prevention Coalition later on.

Q & A

Question 1 Will a list of people on each committee be available?
Answer 1 Yes

Q2 Faytene's posters available?
A2 Have to talk, probably yes.

Q3 Powerpoints available on email?
A3 Yes
Q3 Thanks for work of people.

P Manning: Thanks to Wes and Shannon

If you found this seminar helpful, use these guidelines where you are in your own organizations.

If you found this type of seminar helpful and would like to do something like this Wes would probably be open.

If there is a desired will to work towards a national campaign Alex and Wes would like to hear from you and what area you are interested in helping with.

1 comment:

  1. Nice going on capturing the essence of all the comments

    I think this will serve as a valuable reference

    Eric Lowther