Engage Your MP’s Office
Are you curious about whether your Member of Parliament is aware of developments in South Sudan, Darfur, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Do you want to play an integral role in STAND’s advocacy about important policies? Do you want to have your voice heard?
Good news: MPs care about what their constituents have to say. Engaging with your MP can produce change, and STAND can provide support to ensure that your meeting has the greatest possible impact.
STAND depends on its connection to a broad network of students to meet its objective: achieving a world without genocide. As the leading student organization advocating for the prevention of and response to genocide, STAND is powerful because it can mobilize students across Canada to take action to inform Members of Parliament about important issues and to advocate policies that will help to bring about a world without genocide. So, we are available to help you with anything that you need in advance of your meeting.
Meeting with Your Member of Parliament
The best way to engage your MP is through an in-person meeting. As a constituent, you are virtually guaranteed to be granted a meeting if you request one, so you have nothing to lose! Moreover, meeting with an MP is a phenomenal way to make an active contribution towards STAND’s efforts to influence Canadian policy and raise awareness about genocide and gross human rights violations around the world.
Don’t know your MP? Enter your postal code on this online service to find out, so you can engage your MP.
How to Set Up a Meeting
To set up a meeting with your MP, call his or her office or send an email including:
- Your name
- Your contact information including postal code
- A description of STAND, for example: STAND Canada is a national advocacy organization that aims to establish ending genocide as a cornerstone of Canadian foreign policy. As the leading organization for youth-led anti-genocide activism, STAND empowers Canadians to take action against genocide by providing them with the tools and resources required to create positive change. We envision a world without genocide and we want Canada to play a key role in the international stage to realize this goal. For more information on our mission, current activities, and the various anti-genocide resources that we provide, please consult our website http://standcanada.org
- The topic of the meeting: a description of the issue about which you would like to meet
- It is best to keep your message polite, concise, and professional.
Before your Meeting
To maximize your impact, prepare for your meeting by reading up on the issue that you would like to discuss; jotting down some speaking notes with the key points that you want to say; and thinking of some “asks” – things that you could plausibly ask the MP to do. If you need some advice on this, you can consult our policy documents or email our Advocacy Director at advocacy[@]standcanada.org. You may also wish to prepare a briefing package for the MP, which should include a top-sheet that summarizes your main points and lists the information provided in the rest of the briefing package.
At your Meeting
We recommend that you approach the conversation positively and with enthusiasm, engaging the MP as actively and politely as possible. It often also helps to bear in mind your objectives and to state them at the beginning and end of the meeting. Try to articulate the thrust of what you want to say in the first minute and then spend the rest of the time giving context and providing rationale. We also recommend being solution-oriented.
As well, here are some helpful logistical tips for the meeting:
- Things to remember: building location, room number, contact information for the office
- Dress code: business casual to formal is the norm
- Addressing the MP: if your MP is a Minister, it is typical to call him or her Minister ____, whereas MPs can usually be called Mr./Mrs./Ms. It is advisable not to call the MP by his or her first name unless asked to do so.
After your Meeting
We encourage you to let us know how it went! Did the MP agree to take any concrete steps, such as making a statement in the House of Commons? This is helpful information for us to know because it means that we can keep track of whether this promise has been fulfilled.
You may also wish to follow up with a thank you email to the MP wherein you attach an electronic copy of any materials that you provided at the meeting. Further, you could say something about the meeting on social media!
Other ways to Contact Your Member of Parliament
Although an in-person meeting is the most effective means of engaging your MP, you can also contact them through letters, phone calls, or emails. As well, presenting an MP with a petition from constituents is a great way to display volume of support. Finally, consider inviting your MP to attend a STAND event, speak to students, or participate in a roundtable debate with experts, fellow MPs, or candidates.
Your voice is important. Because few people take the time to meet with or contact their MP, it doesn’t take very many constituents sending letters or requesting meetings to convince the MP that an issue is important to Canadians. By letting your MP know that you care about preventing and responding to genocide you demonstrate that there is public support for taking action.
STAND is committed to supporting citizens that are taking part in anti-genocide activism through engagement with MPs. If you have questions about engaging your MP, contact our Advocacy Directors, Sarah Schattmann and Francesca Morfini, at advocacy[@]standcanada.org.