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Yes, our MPPs really DO want to hear from YOU!
Two years ago I became a Canadian citizen – at the tender age of 49, a bit of a late bloomer you might say. Later that same year, I cast my first vote in a federal election, excited to finally take part in the political process which I’d watched from the sidelines for many years.
I’ve always taken an active interest in politics. I even had signs on my lawn and discussed issues with poor unsuspecting candidates who came to the door not knowing that they were wasting their time on a landed immigrant without voting rights.
I knew that one day I’d make it up to them. Because I have always sincerely appreciated the commitment and energy our public servants bring to their jobs: the tireless outreach and efforts to engage, the sacrifice of privacy and family time in the interest of community, and the relentless hours on the campaign trail.
So when asked to visit my MPP to talk about Stella’s Place I didn’t hesitate – my turn to walk the talk. I checked out my MPP’s website first. It stated that he would love to hear from me. And he did! I called the constituency office and after chatting for a few minutes the staff member asked, “Would you like to make an appointment to discuss this in person?” I did.
MPPs have designated days and hours they spend in their constituency offices, available to meet with members from the community. I met with both my MPP and his constituency manager. They had set aside half an hour for me. And they had prepared for the meeting. They knew about Stella’s Place when I walked in.
For my part, it was important to be equally well prepared. Think about it – at the courtesy of half an hour per person, an MPP might be able to see only 10-15 people per day. So make your voice count. Be clear about why you are there and what it is you are asking your MPP to do.
My MPP was interested in the news release about the Province’s spending announcement of an additional $140M for mental health. In the Legislature, he happens to sit next to Michael Coteau, who is the Minister of Children and Youth Services and leads the initiative on integrated Youth Service Hubs. He will suggest a joint visit of Stella’s Place. Bingo!
He also offered to make sure our online petition complies with the proper format of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and to display it in the constituency office for other visitors to see and sign. And he confirmed that Stella’s Place is now on his radar as an agency well-positioned to take the lead as one of the proposed nine Youth Service Hubs.
When you visit your MPP you start a relationship that is personal and much more impactful than an email or a name on a petition. A conversation about an issue is much more satisfying than a one-way exchange. I invite you to try it! Here’s a quick summary of what you need to know:
- Find out who your MPP is and how to reach them here
- Review the press release and speaking points from our previous blog
- Arrive at the constituency office on time and prepared
- Thank your MPP in writing after the meeting, summarizing the actions you discussed
Thanks for giving this a whirl, we appreciate your support!
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