In 1986 a small charitable organization named Alberta Pro-Life was founded in Edmonton. One of the first pro-life groups in the province, this humble organization set its sights on educating Albertans about abortion and being a provincial voice for life.
26 years later, in 2012, Alberta Pro-Life was now not the only pro-life organization in the province by far, and they quickly recognized that the majority of pro-life organizations were focused on educating and changing the publics opinion on abortion. They then saw the need for an organization to take the lead on influencing public policy in Alberta. After consulting with their supporters and members, Alberta Pro-Life committed to fulfilling that need and adopted its third mandate – to protect human life through political advocacy on behalf of the pre-born.
At the same time as Alberta Pro-Life took on this new mandate, they realized that their brand would need to be revamped to keep up with the ever-changing and ever-modernizing world around them. In Fall of 2012 they took the step to have their current brand reviewed, and that year The Wilberforce Project was born from Alberta Pro-Life.
The Wilberforce Project was named after William Wilberforce (1759-1833), who was a Member of Parliament in England from 1780-1825. Not only was Wilberforce a Politician and a philanthropist, supporting numerous causes, but he became a household name as one of the key abolitionists of the African Slave Trade. From the Winter of 1786 William Wilberforce fought to abolish the slave trade by leveraging his position as a Member of Parliament to influence public opinion, but most importantly public policy. After a grueling 21 years, Wilberforce saw the long-fought for Slave Trade Act receive royal assent in 1807.
William Wilberforce was known for his tenacity and commitment to human rights, and The Wilberforce Project saw it an honour to take upon his name and identify ourselves with the care and courage he put into his career and ministry. We hope to fill the large shoes he walked in, fighting tooth and nail as well, to one day see enshrined in Alberta’s public policy the value of pre-born children.
Our First Mandate: To serve as a hub for pro-life activity throughout Alberta
The first mandate of The Wilberforce Project is to be an umbrella group for all pro-life groups, organizations, and peoples throughout Alberta. We fulfill this mandate in a number of ways, three of which are listed here:
1) By annually bringing together leaders and key players of the pro-life movement to develop goals and plans for the movement in Alberta. This opportunity also allows for networking and resource sharing amongst organizations, unifying the movement further.
2) By having the Political Coordinator tour across Alberta once a year, meeting with local pro-life groups and organizations. This allows The Wilberforce Project to be in-tune with the needs, struggles, and successes of the pro-life movement throughout the province and to connect organizations and people where applicable.
3) By creating a single source where pro-life groups can display their information and pro-life individuals can quickly see an overview of the movement that is happening across Alberta; a source that allows anyone in Alberta to learn, connect, and be involved in the pro-life movement.
Our Second Mandate: To educate Albertans on the issue of abortion
The second mandate of The Wilberforce Project is to educate the public of Alberta on the issue of abortion. We recognize that there are a number of pro-life groups throughout Alberta who have this task as their main mandate, and who fulfill it exceedingly well. In the spirit of not attempting to reinvent the wheel, we leave this task mostly in the hands of those organizations, and focus our pro-life education on two topics within the political field:
1) We educate and train individuals on the necessity of pro-lifers participation in politics. This training can include everything from the basics of how a democratic government is run and why party memberships must be held, all the way to the advanced strategy we have to build a pro-life province.
2) For individuals who are more keenly involved in politics, we run both nomination training as well as campaign training. This equips pro-lifers to walk through the nomination process and to run a campaign in their own ridings, or to be equipped to volunteer their time to other pro-lifers towards these ends.
Our Third Mandate: To protect human life through political advocacy on behalf of the pre-born
As The Wilberforce Project’s third mandate states, we seek to protect pre-born children through political advocacy. This is mainly accomplished by identifying and creating a network of engaged and active pro-lifers throughout Alberta. With this in hand we seek out pro-life MLAs, MPs, and any other individuals in government who we can connect to the pro-lifers who are ready and willing to 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.