Tips for Meeting Politicians
Once you feel you have enough information about nuclear weapons, you and your group may decide to try and meet with your Member of Parliament (MP) or a local Senator. If so, here are some tips that may be helpful.
First, do some research on the person you are meeting. The Parliamentary website (http://www.parl.gc.ca) is an excellent source of information about MPs, Senators, Parliamentary committees etc.
The following URL takes you right to an alphabetical list of MPs. Click on the letter of your MPs surname, and it will take you to a short political biography of your member. This will be useful in tailoring your questions to your MPs interests and parliamentary responsibilities. http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/house/mpscur.asp
You can also search by constituency.
The biography will tell you if your MP is on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, or the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs. If so, you may want to find our what the Committee is currently discussing. This is also available from the Parliamentary website, under committee business.
In preparation to meet your MP, you should:
Decide who will go to the meeting. (A group of 2-4 people is a good size, but a larger group is OK too.)
Decide on the main points you want to make, the questions you want to ask, and what youd like the politician to do. Try and anticipate some follow-up to the meeting, so you have a reason to contact the office again.
Assign responsibility among your group for who will speak to which points, and who will ask which questions.
Consider taking visual material to the meeting.
Consider putting together a small folder of good information to leave with the MP. It could include a description of who you are, and accurate background information about the issues you will talk about. Even if MPs dont have time to read it, their assistants may.
Be on time for the meeting. Even better, be a few minutes early! And dont overstay your welcome.
Once you know what you want to talk about, e-mail or phone the MPs Constituency office and request a meeting. Half an hour to an hour is about as much time as you can expect to get.
MPs e-mail addresses almost all follow a formula. It is: the first five letters of their last name, followed by their first initial @parl.gc.ca. Thus Mary Anderson would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you cant find the local phone number, the House of Commons information service (613 992-4793) can give you phone and fax contacts for all MPs in their Ottawa offices, and in their constituencies.
Offer to send additional material, to follow up points of particular interest to the MP.
You might also consider inviting your MP to public meetings or seminars your are holding, as a way of making them aware of community concerns about nuclear weapons. Even if they cant attend, they will know the meetings are taking place.