Contacting your Member of Parliament is one of the most important things you can do to raise awareness about the need for Canada to have a global response to COVID-19. However, because of the lockdown order in place in Canada, many MPs’ offices have stopped accepting in person meetings with their constituents.
The good news is that MPs are still available by phone, email & social media. So, here are some easy ways you can reach your MP virtually during the lockdown.
Send your letter by email
Sending an email is the easiest way to reach your MP at the moment.
Since it’s important for these communications to be personal, using your own words is important. To help get you started though, here’s a simple format you can use:
Introduction. Introduce yourself and mention that you’re a constituent in your MP’s riding.
The ask. Be specific in your ask. For example, “I want to ensure that Canada’s policy in fighting COVID-19 includes a strong global component. Canada can’t beat COVID-19 unless it is beaten around the world.”
Why you care? Include a personal story or comment to support your ask. Here are some arguments as to why it’s crucial that our response to COVID-19 includes a global component.
- Immediate response: Many of the world’s poorest countries do not have enough resources to tackle COVID-19. Many lack basic PPE and ventilators. We need global resources to fund a strong humanitarian response in these countries and the development of new medicines and vaccines available to all, so that no one is left behind. Pandemics love a patchwork response because they spread so easily within the gaps. If we don’t make vaccines and treatments available to everyone, everywhere, this virus can come back in a second wave.
- Economic impact: We’ve already seen the significant economic impact of the pandemic at home and in other rich countries. But the impact could be devastating in Africa and in many poor countries. If we don’t tackle the immediate consequences and minimize the long-term impact, it can undo decades of effort in the fight against extreme poverty.
- Long term vision: We live in a connected world and when it comes to global health security, we’re only as strong as our weakest link. Diseases can quickly spread beyond borders and to protect our own citizens, we must have strong health systems globally.
Thank them. Thank your MP for getting behind the issue or simply thank them for their time and attention. This is a good time to repeat your ask too.
Contact information. Include your name, mailing address (including postal code), email address and phone number so they can reach you for a response or discussion.
Follow up by phone and social media. Once you’ve emailed them, let them know by tagging them in a tweet and calling them. You can even convert your letter into a Twitter thread or screen grab your letter and tweet it as an image. Get creative with follow ups! You could even record a video of yourself reading the letter out loud.
Video or phone meetings
Many MPs are going online to stay in touch with their constituents. If you already have a meeting scheduled with your MP or if you’re hoping to have time to chat with them, contact their office and suggest a one-to-one video or phone meeting.
You can use some of the key points above in your meeting to support a global pandemic response plan.
Virtual town halls
MPs are also finding creative ways to connect with their constituents and many are hosting virtual townhalls on Facebook Live. If your MP is hosting a Facebook Live, you should participate!
How do you know when your MP will be hosting a virtual town hall? Follow them on social media. Many will announce the date and time of their event. Some are now doing them at a set time each week. Or if your MP’s office maintains a regular newsletter, make sure to subscribe and get on their email list so you can stay up to date with their events.
There are also other ways of using your voice and taking actions from home to fight COVID-19, like signing the ONE World petition, spreading the word on social media or writing a letter to the editor.