One of the easiest and most effective things you can do to help animals is to meet with your Member of Parliament to discuss an animal welfare issue.
Your MP represents you and others in your community. Let them know how strongly you feel about animal welfare by visiting your MP in person. This demonstrates that improving Canada's animal welfare laws and policies truly matters to their constituents.
Making the most of a visit with your MP requires a bit of preparation and planning. Be sure to phone your MP’s office first to request a meeting. You can find your MP here.
Before you go to the meeting make sure you:
- Have a copy of supporting materials that back up your position.
- Have a clear request for your MP. You may ask them to support or oppose proposed legislation, raise an issue in the House of Commons, or speak to a Minister about an animal welfare issue.
- Dress appropriately (business casual).
5 easy steps to a successful meeting
If you come across as reasonable and knowledgeable, your MP is more likely to support your request and to help you advance animal welfare at the federal level.
- Come in prepared to have a friendly conversation. Don’t forget to ask "How are you?" and listen to the answer. It’s about building a relationship, not inundating your MP with information and opinions.
- Ask some open-ended questions. For example: "What is your personal opinion on this issue?" or "Do you know how much this issue matters to people in your community?"
- Be fair and listen to their reasons for opposing or supporting your issue.
- Try to find common ground by taking some mainstream positions. If you sound or act like you're on the margins, you are. Having the conversation on their level or within your MP’s comfort zone will make it easier for them to change their mind. Focus on solutions and don’t leave it up to your MP. Offer them a 'fix' for the problem.
- Be yourself and stay calm. Show that you’re confident. After all, you're fighting the good fight! MPs have to deal with a lot of people, many of them hot-headed or overly emotional. Your MP is more likely to appreciate and respect you if you have a relaxed, low-key conversation than something rehearsed or over-the-top.
• Before leaving, try to get a clear commitment of help from your MP, not just vague promises.
• After the meeting, send an email thanking your MP for meeting with you and reiterate any commitments they made.
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