Tips for Meeting Politicians

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 MP’s surname, and it will take you to a short political biography of your member. This will be useful in tailoring your questions to your MP’s 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 you’d 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 don’t have time to read it, their assistants may.
• Be on time for the meeting. Even better, be a few minutes early! And don’t overstay your welcome.

• Once you know what you want to talk about, e-mail or phone the MP’s 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 anderm@parl.gc.ca.
• If you can’t 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 can’t attend, they will know the meetings are taking place.

Abolition Resolution

Abolition Resolution
Whereas there are over 30,000 nuclear weapons (of which 4,400 are on hair trigger alert) posing an immediate threat to the world due to the risk of their accidental or intentional use;

Whereas billions of dollars are being spent annually on nuclear weapons which could be used to address human needs around the globe;

Whereas some 61 international Generals and Admirals from 17 countries advised in December 1996 that long-term international nuclear policy must be based on the declared principle of continuous, complete and irrevocable elimination of nuclear weapons;

Whereas the International Court of Justice determined in July 1996 that the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons is, for all practical purposes, contrary to international law; and that all states are obligated to conclude an agreement for the elimination of nuclear weapons;

Whereas the NATO states in their policy statements continue to refer to nuclear weapons as being “essential to preserve peace”;

Whereas there are no ongoing multilateral negotiations ongoing for an agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons;

Whereas a model Nuclear Weapons Convention has been filed before the UN General Assembly as a discussion document to encourage progress toward a Convention;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT ____________________________
A) call upon the Government of Canada to:

ï conform with international law and make clear in the United Nations and in NATO Canada’s strong moral, political and financial commitment to urgent negotiations for the total elimination of nuclear weapons;

ï urge that all nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert be de-alerted immediately and move to de-activate systematically all other nuclear weapons to reduce the risk of unintentional nuclear war;

ï support public education in Canada and abroad concerning the urgency of a ban on nuclear weapons, as it did during the negotiations for a ban on landmines.

B) advise the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the requests contained within this Petition.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that ____________________encourage its members to study and speak out to family, friends and neighbours about the urgency of the abolition of nuclear weapons.