By Tayler Hernandez
Every four years it’s the same story.
You register to vote, go to the polls, line up, tick off a name on a sheet of paper and wait to hear the results. Years of waiting to turn 18 so that you can vote, months of campaigning by candidates, weeks of non-stop news coverage of the upcoming election, just to be over within a matter of minutes until you can participate again in four years.
But does that have to be it? What if there were other ways that you as a citizen could engage in the election process before and during a party’s four year term in office?
Don’t worry, RESULTS Canada has you covered!
They’ve put together an Election Toolkit to help you engage now and will be sharing more tips in the lead up to the election. But, as you know, it doesn’t end after Election Day. RESULTS Canada will guide you through the process of engaging meaningfully with your newly elected officials so that over their four year term, you can be a part of building the political will to end extreme poverty.
For now, let’s jump into what you can do immediately!
Not only can you use your voice to vote in the election, your voice also has power leading up to the election. The period leading up to the federal election is crucial for engaging with candidates who are running to be Members of Parliament (MPs). Now is the time to be heard!
You can engage with candidates in a number of ways including having an in-person meeting, sending a letter or an email, calling, or even posting on social media. No matter how you choose to engage, it’s important to remain non-partisan and engage with all candidates. You don’t know who will end up being elected for your riding, so use the time leading up to the election to have open discussions about the issues you care about. Educate and influence the candidates about international development and Canadian aid. But also listen and learn about where they stand on the issues. Ask them where their party stands on Canadian aid.
The federal election is an opportunity for Canadians to decide who represents them in the House of Commons. Remember, that MPs work for YOU. This means that they want to hear from you. Share what issues are important to you, why they’re important, and what you would like to see them do about it. The government has a huge role to play around ending extreme poverty. Let your candidates know these are issues that matter to you!
The period before a federal election is also a great opportunity to begin building relationships. Whoever ends up getting elected will be your MP for the next four years. Use this time to get to know them and start building a connection. Once this relationship is built, it will make it easier to continue to engage with them in the future as you continue to advocate for a world free of poverty.
Our democratic system provides you with the opportunity to be an active participant during the pre-election period. Don’t wait until Election Day to make your voice heard, start now and speak up. Through local engagement, we can have a global impact on the lives of those living in poverty!
And stay tuned as we’ll be sharing more on how you can have the greatest impact not only before the election, but after!