While the national union continues to lobby all political parties, advocacy strategies are often most successful when a grassroots campaigns is mobilized. We encourage you to talk to your local MP and ask them to stand up for Canadian forestry jobs and our communities. This is important work and can make a real difference in raising awareness about the forestry industry crisis to a wider pool of MPs. Members of Parliament are often more willing to listen to someone who is a direct constituent and voter.
Here is a step by step tool kit for lobbying your MP:
- Contacting your MP
- If you are not sure who your MP is you can look it up on the Elections Canada website here: http://www.elections.ca/scripts/pss/FindED.aspx?L=e
- Put a request to meet your MP in
writing first, either via e-mail or fax. Keep the request brief but
include your name, address, contact phone number and e-mail if
applicable, and the reason for your meeting. A possible script could
- Hello, my name is _________. I live in the riding of and would like to meet with my MP to discuss the challenges facing the forestry industry in Canada. I work in the industry and am concerned our federal government is not doing enough to stand up for forestry jobs and our communities. I would like to share some information with my MP and find out what their positions are. I can be reached at _____ to schedule a meeting. Thank you. Signed.
- Follow-up with a phone call
within a week if you have not heard. The phone script can go like this:
- Hello, my name is _______, I am following up on my request for a meeting with my local Member of Parliament. I would like to talk to him/ her about challenges facing the forestry industry in our community. Can you proposed some possible dates for meetings?
- Try as best as possible to be flexible with your schedule. MPs are very busy and it may take a few weeks before a meeting is confirmed.
- Note, some ridings in Canada are quite large, and you may have to settle for a phone meeting in the short term if an in-person meeting cannot be arranged.
2. Preparing for a meeting once it is secured
- Preparing in advance what you want to say and what specifically you want your MP to do will help ensure the meeting goes smoothly (although don ‘t assume your MP will do exactly what you want!)
- All MPs received this briefing note (link to it) but it will be important for you to be familiar with it in case they have questions. You may wish to bring an extra copy with you to the meeting.
- Some key messages we are
suggesting be relayed are:
- The forestry industry is integral to Canada’s economy, employing hundreds of thousands and supporting whole communities
- Talk about the local importance of the industry (size of the mill, number of employees, etc)
- The industry is in crisis – global recession, unfair US subsidies
- We are not asking for a bailout like the auto sector, we are just asking for fairness
- We are seeking loan guarantees, a level playing field with the US vis a vis the black liquor subsidy and protection for pensions
- The ask – will the MP support these measures and will they encourage other MPs within and outside of their parties to do likewise
- Check out our website for other downloadable information to take to your meeting.
3. The meeting with your MP
- You will likely have about 30 minutes for a meeting so be prepared to introduce yourself, (name, where you live, what your connection to the industry is and how long you have been working in it) discuss your concerns, ask your MP to take specific actions and allow time for him/ her to ask you questions. Conclude the meeting by stating your desire to stay in touch and repeating your key asks.
- Arrive a bit early and present yourself to the office manager. They will lead you into meet the MP
- Note, a staff member for the MP will likely attend to take notes, be sure to get their business card.
- You can bring one or two additional people to the meeting but be sure to plan out who will be saying what so you do not trip over each other during the meeting and miss raising important points.
- Be sure to take a notepad and pen to take notes and any requests by the MP for follow-up information.
4. Follow up
- It’s always a good idea to follow-up with a short note thanking the MP for their time and clarifying any issues that emerged during the meeting or providing requested additional information.
- Drop us a line and let us know how your meeting went.
- Always remain polite and keep your cool.
- If you do not know an answer to a question make a note and promise to get back to them with an answer; than do it. Contact us if you require more information.
Remember this is an important issue to you, your family and your community and your efforts are important!