The Wilberforce Project
by Frank Dabbs
The Wilberforce Project is Alberta’s new political conscience. The recently-elected socially-conservative government has refused to come to terms with 13,240 abortions each year in the province, a number acknowledged by the Abortion Rights Coalition.
The Wilberforce Project has made a long-term commitment to building a political force of volunteers and political candidates who will make pro-life values and policies a force in Alberta’s political life.
In 2012, Alberta Pro-Life took on the responsibility for political action and advocacy to influence public policy in the province. It changed its name to the Wilberforce Project as a namesake of the British intellectual and parliamentarian, William Wilberforce. He used his influence to end slavery, although it took most of his career to do so.
The Wilberforce Project has the mission to “seek to protect pre-born children through political advocacy by identifying and creating a network of engaged and active pro-lifers throughout Alberta, and to educate Albertans on the issue of abortion.”
“To seek out pro-life MLAs, MPs, and other individuals in government to connect to the pro-lifers who will volunteer and vote for them because of their convictions about the value of human life.”
“This allows the pro-life candidates to already have a solid voting bloc the moment they step into the nomination and campaigning role in their ward, riding, or area. This also allows currently-sitting pro-life MLAs, MPs, and others to have a basis of consistent encouragement to maintain their convictions in the current sea of our pro-abortion government.”
The Wilberforce Project will educate and train individuals who are pro-lifers on participation in politics. This training includes the basics of how a democratic government is run, why party memberships must be held, and the strategy to build a pro-life province.
In the 2019 provincial election cycle, Wilberforce volunteers ensured that the United Conservative Party had pledge pro-life candidates in many of the 87 ridings.
Wilberforce officials are coy about exact numbers, however other UCP officials think it is keeping tabs on about 40 MLAs who are committed to acting on the Wilberforce agenda. Alberta has “the most pro-life legislature in decades, and maybe ever,” Cameron Wilson, Wilberforce director of political action said when the UCP formed the government after the April 12 election.
The Wilberforce agenda is also to provide supports for pregnant women fleeing domestic violence and entrenching conscience rights into legislation for health-care professionals.
Premier Jason Kenney will keep abortion services as they are in Alberta. However, he did not criticize anti-abortion candidates, just asked them not to divide the new party. He notes that abortion services are settled law, and he won’t alter the status quo in Alberta.
“He has no interest in re-opening this debate,” said his spokesperson Christine Myatt.
Abortion became legal across Canada in 1988, when the Supreme Court struck down abortion prohibition as unconstitutional. Canada has the most-ungoverned, unregulated abortion control in the world. Control is entirely in the hands of the medical profession.
During the past five years, 2013 to 2018 Alberta, with 12 percent of Canada’s population of 34 million, recorded 7.5 percent of abortions in the nation.
Wilberforce offers nomination training and campaign training, equipping pro-lifers to win nominations and to run campaigns in their own ridings, or to be equipped to volunteer their time to other pro-lifers.
Patience like that exercised by William Wilberforce to see slavery abolished is a key ingredient to this strategy. Patience, the wisdom of serpents and the unselfish innocence of doves.