Do something by writing to your local Member of Parliament (MP). Your MP was elected to bring your opinion and views to Parliament. They depend on you to educate them about what issues should be considered most important. Writing a letter takes a short amount of time and it ensures that the people who make decisions on your behalf know how you want to be represented.
Your MP receives hundreds of messages each week on a wide range of issues. Your letter should be the most interesting one they receive!
Before You Get Started
- Find your MP (search by postal code): https://www.ourcommons.ca/members/en
- No postage is required when you send a letter to an MP.
- Keep a copy of the letter you send to refer to it when you receive a response.
- Decide what you will write about. Is there a specific issue you would like your MP to take action on? For example, the TRC released 94 Calls to Action and Beyond 94 provides helpful insight into the progress made on the calls to action.
- Try your best to educate your MP on the issue you are raising. Even if your MP is not the direct target of the action, your letter provides them with an opportunity to learn about an issue, that concerns their constituents, and to act themselves. Find articles or other resources from credible sources that can help you highlight the issue you are focusing on in your letter.
- There will be occasions where it is more strategic to write directly to other decision-makers, such as the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, or the Prime Minister. Check to see if these decision-makers are responsible for the action you are focusing on. If they are, it is important to look up steps on how to get your letter to these leaders.
Your Letter Will Make a Difference
Most MPs will usually respond to letters from constituents and will forward your letter to the relevant Minister, even if they disagree with you. In turn, the Minister is obliged by Parliamentary convention to respond to the letters sent to them by MPs.
- Make it short – aim for your letter to be no longer than one and a half pages.
- Keep to the point – focus on one issue and do not try and cover too many things in one letter.
- Include your address – this way, your MP knows where to send a response.
- Check your MP’s correct title – do you address them as Mr., Mrs., Dr., Sir, Rt. Hon.?
Step 1: Introduction. If this is your first letter to your MP, you can start by introducing yourself and sharing why you care about the issue that you are raising. If you have a personal connection to the topic of your letter, then this is a fantastic way of engaging your MP and conveying your passion and commitment. Remember to acknowledge your MP for any supportive actions that they have already taken – MPs rarely hear the words ‘thank you’ from their constituents.
Step 2: Use the EPIC format. The acronym ‘EPIC’ is a useful way to remember how to structure the main part of your letter. After the introductory paragraph, your letter should follow this structure:
E = Engage! Get your MP’s attention with a dramatic fact or short statement.
P = Problem clearly stated. Present the causes of the problem you just introduced.
I = Inform the MP about solutions. Develop your solution by giving examples of how and where it has worked, how it is cost-effective and how it has benefited Indigenous Peoples.
C = Call to Action. Let them know what you want them to do about it.
Step 3: Ask for a response. Make sure to be clear on how they can contact you – by email or written response (written response is ideal). What is next? Pressing ‘send’ or putting your letter in the post is not the end of your action!
Step 4: Follow up with your MP. If you have not received an acknowledgement of your letter after a few weeks, give your MP’s office a ring to confirm that they have received your letter.
Step 5: Let us know about your letter! If sending your letter by email, copy firstname.lastname@example.org so we can compile a list and follow up with Parliament as part of the 215Pledge.ca. If you write a letter by hand, feel free to scan it or send a clear picture of it to us via the same email address.
Step 6: Inform DWF of a response. If you receive a response from your MP, make sure to inform us, so that this information can be compiled and used to take action.
Step 7: Be encouraged! Even if the response you receive is not great, do not be disheartened. Be proud of yourself for taking reconciliACTION. It is the strength of all of us that will move reconciliation forward throughout Canada.
(Insert date here)
Hon. (insert local MP)
(city and province)
(Find your MPs contact information and insert it here)
Dear Hon. (MP’s name),
My name is (insert name here) and I am a constituent in your district at (insert postal code). I am writing this letter because (state reason here). The on-going recovery of children’s bodies at former residential school sites amplifies my belief that our country must do better.
I am strongly encouraging you to take action on (your concern here) in collaboration with Indigenous communities. (State why action is important).
This action is a part of Truth and Reconciliation’s 94 Calls to Action, that the Government of Canada committed to in 2015. (Find the Call to Action you are referencing and add it here). It is only after we accept the truth and acknowledge it by taking action that meaningful reconciliation can begin.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns, and I look forward to receiving a response from you on this matter.