February 25, 2017

Tips to Organize Your Event: April 9 Day of Action


Actions will be happening in communities across Ontario and in other provinces on April 9, 2013, at the same time, all with the same message: stop GM alfalfa. The actions will be coordinated in that they will all have the key same message and all actions will be listed on www.cban.ca/april9 The actions do not have to all be exactly the same or directed at the exact same target but the action does have a specific goal and message.

The main location of actions is MP offices. Some MPs may be willing to meet with you (pre-arranged) while you hold a rally outside.

We are happy to provide direct support and discuss your ideas and logistics. Please feel free to call Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator 613 241 2267 ext 25 or email coordinator@cban.ca

All you need are some basic key elements:

  1. A specific strategic location: a local federal MP constituent office. Add your action to our list!
  2. A defined start and end time: 12 noon – 1:00. (12 Sharp)
  3. People! Publicity in your community so people know about the action. We have posters and flyers you can use.
  4. Banners! Signs! Your visual message. Create a photo opportunity for media (and take your own photos, send them to us).
  5. Call or email some local journalists.

There are some easy ways to create a fun action (and photo opportunity for the media):

  • Request a meeting for April 9 with your MP – invite the media to film the meeting or to film delegation going in.
  • Bring something to give your MP. Present petitions to MPs or letters from local groups. Present a gift basket to your MP of alfalfa-related food products.
  • Bring your hay bales outside the office to make your point!
  • Make lots of signs/banners: “GM Hay? No Way!” “No GM Alfalfa” etc.
  • Bring your friends and family!

How to Prepare

What you need to build your day of action

Promote and Publicize:

  • Ask us for our posters and flyers to put around your community.
  • List the protest in local paper and radio event calendars.
  • Write a letter to your local paper on alfalfa and include the protest information to advertise it.
  • Call your local radio station and ask them for an interview the week or day before the protest.
  • Call your local talk-radio and encourage a show about GM or GM alfalfa.
  • Email your friends and groups in your community. Call community leaders to talk to them about your action.

Communicate with your MP and the MP office:

  • Ask for a meeting on April 9. For example, at 12:30 a delegation could go into the office for a meeting.
  • Tell your MP you will be outside on April 9 and that you would like to deliver a petition, letter or gift.

What you need on your day of action:

  1. Visuals: At least one key visual – see above list re: photo opportunity for the media.
  2. A Small Agenda: If you have an idea of what you will do in the first half hour – chants, read a letter aloud etc – that can help. Encourage people to show up right at noon (the media always show up early or right at the start, and then leave).
  3. Media Spokesperson(s): One or more people who are willing to be interviewed by the media including a local farmer.
  4. Media Point-Person: Someone who will approach media and give them the press release, backgrounder, make sure they get good photos, talk to the media spokesperson. This person will also take down the names of the journalists and what media they are from and contacts.
  5. Action Marshal - One or more people who are responsible for the physical arrangement of people at the protest, making sure people are not in an unsafe spot (on the road) and asking people to group together for photos.
  6. Someone to take photos: Someone with a camera who can take photos and send them to info@cban.ca for distribution. Please email with the name of who took the photos and any details of the shots including any names of people in the photos if you can.
  7. General Point person: It would be great if we had reports on each protest directly from someone involved.

Legal and Police Tips:

Your rally is a legal and legitimate action in our democracy. Your MP’s job is to listen to your concerns.

  • You can check out the physical arrangement of the area outside your MP office ahead of time to think through logistics including road safety for protestors. Is the sidewalk public property? How many people can fit outside the office? Where will you put your hay-bale? Will you need to take up more space than the sidewalk allows? Feel free to call CBAN to discuss any concerns: Lucy Sharratt 613 241 2267 ext 25
  • It is a good idea to call your local police to let them know you will hold a small, peaceful rally. This means that both you and the police will know what to expect. The police will probably show up anyway so you might as well establish a good relationship before the rally starts (this also means you do not have to spend time at the beginning of the rally chatting with the police).

For a full description of your right to peaceful protest click her for the pamphlet from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Additional, but not necessary, things to think about:

  1. Sound: if it is easy to get a megaphone in your community, think about if you want to use one.
  2. Food and/or Drink: Are there small food items or easy to manage drinks you can provide to protestors?

Let us know your questions so we can improve this list of tips! Call us to discuss your action.

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