I've been meaning to do this post for a while, but current events have finally given me a kick in the pants. Here are a few simple steps to making your opinions known to your MP. I'll do it with a current example in italics.
- Check in with the news. Find something that you have strong feelings about, and think the government can address.
MP Jenny Kwan was on the CBC talking about Canadian response to the refugee crisis in the US (I had a very odd moment of agreeing with the Tory speaker more than the Liberal one.)
- Do a bit of research. Usually you can find the name of someone who has an opinion on this topic and will have laid the issue out.
Ms. Kwan mentioned Amnesty International, so I checked out their page. They sure do have an opinion. In short, we should not call the US a "Safe third country" for refugees because hahahahahahahaha.
- Find out who your MP is using this handy feature on the parliamentary site.
I can't actually do that, as my postal code is not where I live, but I found a riding map, and my MP is Alistair-MacGregor (NDP).
- Find out what your MP's position on the issue is. It's usually on their website, which will be linked from the parliament page. Failing them having a position, check out their party platform (also linked from their website).
Mr. MacGregor's opinion is quite negative in regards to the refugee ban.
- Call your MP's local office (the number and hours will be on their website) and tell them that you live in their riding, that you're concerned about issue X, and would like them to speak out about doing Y. Ask them to call you back if you have to leave a message. Keep it short and to the point. It may help to write it out before hand.
I said: Hi, my name is [RL name]. I live in your riding. I just wanted to say thank you to Mr. MacGregor for doing such a great job supporting refugees in Canada. I was hoping that you would also support revoking the US's safe third country status, because I think it endangers vulnerable refugees that we could be helping. My number is [#], please get back to me.
- You can also write an e-mail to your MP, but I've heard phone calls to the local office are better. The mailing and e-mail address will be on their webpage. E-mails are just as good as letters, and get there faster.
- You can also write an e-mail to the minister in charge of these shenanigans. Here's a list of ministers of things (ETA: which includes the critics of those ministries in other parties, who you can also write). Here are some tips about what to put in a letter.
This is a bit quick and dirty because they're debating this thing tonight, and I wanted to get it out there. Call your MP today!