6 ways to lobby politicians to make a difference
By Avreet Jagdev
Have you ever been unsatisfied about something in your community? Perhaps you have an issue with the city’s potholes, or the public transit system. Maybe you disagree with a municipal policy — or you have a problem with a larger issue that provincial or federal governments are in charge of, such as healthcare or the military.
Perhaps you are really passionate about a specific issue, one that you want to see more awareness and action around. Luckily, you have the option of lobbying politicians. Lobbying means to try to influence government decisions. It can be done by a group of people, an organization, or even just an individual.
Here are some ways that you can lobby politicians to make a difference:
- Write an email
In our digital age, communication has become quite easy! All it takes is a quick Google search to find your local MP (Federal Member of of Parliament) or MPP’s (Members of Provincial Parliament) email address. It is your elected representative’s job to represent their constituents, so if there’s something you care about, make sure you reach out and let them know!
- Create a petition
There really is strength in numbers. This is especially true when you’re looking to create a change about something that really matters. If there’s an issue in your community that you want concrete action around, gathering signatures is a great way to show politicians just how many people care about the issue.
- Request a meeting
It’s possible to schedule a call or a meeting with your local representative by reaching out to their office and asking to set up a time to speak with them. This is an especially good choice for issues that are less “black and white” and might require a lot of discussion.
- Volunteer for organizations that are working on the issue you’re passionate about
If you really care about an issue, chances are, tons of other people do too. It’s a good idea to do some research and identify organizations who are fighting for the same issue you are. Chances are, they’re working on lobbying of their own! See how you can get involved and volunteer with them to strengthen their fight.
- Try a phone zap
This is a specific method that involves pressuring politicians to take action. Similar to a petition, it involves a lot of people who are passionate about the same issue. Instead of collecting signatures, people make a large number of calls all at once, spreading awareness of the issue and demanding change.
- Stay politically involved
At the very core of lobbying is staying politically involved. This means keeping up with what is going on in the government, exercising your right to vote, joining a riding association, becoming a member of a political party, and attending town halls or other events.
It’s important to remember that we live under a democracy, so we have the power to make the change that we want to see in our communities.