As we all know, laws, and amendments to laws are made by the politicians; and politicians are influenced by you – the voter! All of us who are 18 or over should be aware of our individual power to influence our Members of Parliament.
At the last Pro-Life Policy Conference there was a seminar on “Political Lobbying Do’s and Don’ts” by Sue Hierlihy and Paul Dodds. I’m writing a brief summary of it because I believe not enough voters know how much power they really have in influencing what happens in politics. One of the best ways to educate and inform your MP on the abortion issue (or any issue for that matter) is a personal visit to the riding office.
A successful discussion with your MP can be accomplished through these simple six steps:
- Call for an appointment – the phone number can be found in the government listings section of your phone book. On the phone identify yourself as a voting member of that riding. Ask for a half-hour meeting with your MP, don’t take an interview with his/her assistant. Say you wish to tell the MP himself what you wish to speak with him about.
- Gather information about your MP.
- Keep current on the abortion issue.
- Take educational literature with you.
- Plan the interview:
a) Who you are: voter. Mention any political or community activities you are involved in.
b) What to say: start pleasantly. If your MP agrees with the pro-life stand ask him to do something concrete to counteract pro-abortionists.
Many times your MP might say he agrees with you and he’s doing all he can – don’t believe him unless he does something!
Your MP can:
- Present petitions to the House;
- Make statements;
- Influence other MPs;
- Introduce legislation.
If you have any questions of effective lobbying call or write:
502 Hartleigh Ave.
If you can’t visit your MP – write! A letter to an MP requires no postage.
May I suggest that you do not type your letter? If you have a messy handwriting and make lots of mistakes that’s fine! The MP is likely to be impressed that you actually took up a pen and wrote. MPs especially new MPs and backbenchers need our support – please give it – write.
This column uses excerpts from Sue Hierlihy’s new pamphlet: a Guide To Pro-Life Lobbying, which was handed out during the seminar.