May 22, 2013
If your Member of Parliament is Conservative
Stopping GM Alfalfa will require a political decision.
Your direct communication with your Conservative MP can make a huge difference to how that MP views the issue and how involved they become.
Many Conservative Party Members of Parliament already understand that GM alfalfa is unwanted and unnecessary - they have heard this from farmers in their ridings. Other MPs have not heard a lot about the issue and do not understand why it is important.
Talking to Your MP
- Call or write a letter to your Member of Parliament. You can search at www.parl.gc.ca for your MPs contacts using your postal code.
- Write back a second time once you have your MPs response. CBAN can help you with your response if you would like to contact us.
- Find some other friends in your riding who are willing to go with you to meet your MP. You can form a small delegation of concerned constituents and request a meeting. CBAN can help you prepare for this meeting. You can contact us or see the resources below.
Tips for Writing Your MP
Be polite. You have an important point to make and you care deeply but it is important to be polite so that your letter will be taken seriously. Impolite language or styles will discredit your message.
- Avoid capitalizing your words or sentences (this is the equivalent of yelling on paper)
- Avoid using colours, bolding or too many exclamation marks to emphasize your points
- Avoid using rude language or accusatory tones - your MP will be more responsive if you write as if he or she is reasonable and will listen - who knows, they might begin to see themselves this way on this issue.
Tips for Getting a Meeting With Your MP
- Write a letter outlining your concerns and ask for a meeting to discuss these.
- If you have collected signatures on the petition for a moratorium on GM alfalfa you can ask to present these in person to your MP. This is very effective as all of those signatures are from voters!
- Follow up your letter with a phone call or even a visit to the local constituency office, to request a meeting. If you already have a small group - 1,2 or more people to go with you - you can give your names, this will help stress that the issue is important to a lot of the MP's voters.
- You can get to know the people who work in the local constituency office - ask to talk to the person who schedules meetings for your MP. If you are friendly, they might find it easier to help you.
- Do not take no for an answer. Your MP's job is to listen to your concerns, even if they have a different view and the party has a different policy. There are specific times of the year when MP's are in their ridings for the purpose of meeting with their constituents - that's you!
Tips for Meeting Your MP
- Take a look at the "Talking Points" CBAN has provided. These are some suggested points that you can raise in your meeting. If you are a small group, it is a good idea to divide different but key messages among you so that you keep on track in the meeting, so you can argue specific points that are most important and most strategic. It is easy to get off track in a meeting or repeat each others points. You have a unique opportunity to stress a few key messages that are the strongest arguments, that your MP will remember. You might have many concerns about genetic engineering but it is wise to think about what arguments your MP might connect with, and what arguments might help you with your specific demand - in this case, please stop GM alfalfa!
- Bring a relevant piece of information to give your MP. You can print the Information Handout that CBAN has prepared or create something similar. You can also bring any signatures on the petition (bring the original, count the signatures ahead of time). This way you will be able to give the MP something new in the meeting and they will have a new information piece to refer to later (their staff should file it for future reference and research).
Talking Points: This is a page of some suggested lines you can use in your letter, phone conversation or meeting. These are not to hand out, but are for your use in preparing your message.
Information Handout for your MP: This is a 2-page handout for your MP. It is designed to provide basic information for the MP to refer back to later. It is always good to come to a meeting with something to hand to your MP. The MP's staff can file this information and it will be useful to them later. Also, never assume that your MP has the information, even if you have included it already in your letters.
Petition: Collect more than 25 signatures and then bring the originals to your meeting. You can use the petition to help you get a meeting: request a meeting to present the petition. You can ask your MP to present the petition in the House of Commons. They do not have to agree with the petition in order to do this.