While the parliament is on hiatus during the summer, this doesn’t mean that advocates need to put their feet up and relax. Sure, everyone needs a break. But it’s important to remember that as elected officials return to their ridings, summer is an excellent time to make those important connections. This is worthwhile whether you belong to a CARP chapter and are coming as a CARP representative or have an issue you are passionate about as a voting member of the public.
The truth of the matter is that while politicians listen to a national organization like CARP, they really pay attention to those who vote. Elected representatives also know that the population of older Canadians is growing. If you are making the effort to meet them regarding an issue you are passionate about as an older Canadian, there are likely many other members of the voting public who feel the same way.
Here are some tips for meeting with elected representatives:
Before the meeting:
- Familiarize yourself as much as possible about the issue you feel strongly about. Use our website as a source of information.
- Do your research to find out what issues your MP cares about. You can find this info on openparliament.ca as well as on your MP’s website and social media.
- Call, email, or visit the constituency office to set up a meeting with your elected representative. Provide your name, your postal code, and the reason that you would like to meet with the elected representative.
- If the elected official is unavailable for a meeting, request a meeting with a member of their staff. Staff may have more time to meet with you and they can bring your particular concerns to the elected official.
- Practice. Create a concise 2-3 minute “elevator pitch” to introduce the issue clearly and powerfully. There’s a lot to fit in: who you are, what the issue is (fact focused), why it matters (an emotional element) and what your request to the elected official is. Leave time for questions and discussion.
- Know both sides of the issue. Be prepared for arguments against your ask.
During the meeting
- Start by thanking your elected official for positive actions they have taken in the past or for making the time to meet with you.
- Share your pitch.
- If there are questions you don’t have all the information for, follow up with further details through an agreed upon method (email, phone).
- Ask for a follow up or response.
- Take a photo (or a screen shot). Ask to take a photo with
your elected official – confirm that it can be shared on social media and that they can be tagged on the photo.
After the meeting
- Share the photo on social media by tagging your elected official and thank them for their time. You can send us the image and we may share on social media as well [email protected]
- Thank your elected official. If you promised any additional information, include it in your thank you.
- Follow up. If there as a commitment, follow up after a few weeks if you haven’t heard anything.
- Continue to engage via email, social media and other opportunities. Elected officials love to hear from their constituents. Polite, respectful but firm persistence is key!
Adapted from Results Canada