Notes for Meeting with your Representative on Climate Change
The notes for meeting your MP are available for download here (PDF)
Notes from actual meetings with MPs can be read here
Meeting with your MP
JustEarth is facilitating the formation of lobby groups. Contact the co-ordinator at email@example.com for assistance finding other participants (team members.)
Notes for Team Members
- Your group needs to meet to prepare. One person should act as team leader to co-ordinate, contact the MP’s office, etc., make introductions and ensure that you don’t go off-message at the meeting, and finally to ensure follow-up. (See Notes for Team Leaders for further details.)
- Political parties have different positions on climate change. Find out the general position of your MP’s party. (Your member may have an individual position somewhat different, but would find it difficult to say so publicly.)
- At the meeting, introduce yourselves and bring a written statement to leave with the MP, the Citizens Guide to a Climate Change Action Plan, a brochure, or another environmental organization’s brochure. You will doubtless be politely received. It is good to take notes (a tape recording might be tacky). If the MP is keen and largely on side, propose that he or she sponsor an “town hall” or community forum on climate action, to help push the agenda. If your MP is not at all keen, say you hope to change their mind, that this is urgent, refer the person to the IPCC website, etc. Keep the door open for another visit. No party is saying or doing as much as is needed. So, wherever your MP stands, try to get him or her to move further.
- If you are told that the MP is doing everything already, ask if he or she has supported a reduction plan which meets necessary targets. If you get an absolute refusal, ask if the MP has any “open hours” at his or her office, or when he or she might be having a meeting or community forum that you could attend and ask your questions publicly.
Notes for Team Leaders
- Keep a list of all persons wishing to join in on the visit (telephone numbers and emails, also addresses desirable as the MP’s office may ask for a list of who is coming, and may want to ascertain that the people are from the riding).
- Organize a meeting of participants (at someone’s home, office or cafe, etc.). This need not take long (an hour will do it, or if people want to talk climate change content, somewhat more). Get times of availability of participants for the meeting with the MP. (Possibly not all will be able to attend–you need to negotiate with the MP’s office to get a convenient time.) Discuss what content you want to focus on (there is so much). Different participants bring different areas of expertise. A forum for exchanges (restricted to people who have agreed to meet their representative) is available at www.justearth.net. The co-ordinator can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ensure that you have written background information to take to the meeting (JustEarth, or information from other environmental organizations on climate change). Obtain the party position on climate change of your MP, and any special particulars of that person. (He or she may be a member of the environment committee, or have spoken out on the issue.)
- Contact the MP’s office (see Notes for a Meeting) to arrange a meeting. This may take several telephone calls and/or emails or faxes. Unless you get a meeting arranged immediately, follow up with a written letter to the MP. MPs are busy, spend much of their time in Ottawa, and have other obligations that require travel outside the constituency. We can’t be sure that a request for a meeting actually got to them.
A letter to an MP needs no stamp if it is sent to:
Name of MP,
House of Commons,
Ottawa ON, K1A 0A6.
(Emails go free, too, but there are so many one may be ignored.)
- Members’ assistants tend to be nice and helpful. Cultivate!
- Persistence may be required. This is a very important and urgent cause.
- Arrange to meet briefly with the group just before the scheduled meeting takes place, to review who is doing what.
- At the meeting introduce yourselves, briefly, and clarify how much time you have. Make sure that you get to make your points within that time. MPs may go overtime–some find the opportunity to discuss helpful, something to aim at. You can’t predict how a meeting will go. Discussions can ramble–bring the MP back to the subject if he or she digresses too much. Be specific about what you hope for on the part of the MP (see the Notes). Thank the MP for his or her time.
- When you are well away from the MP’s office, debrief. Analyze how it went. Consider how to follow up. Let JustEarth know. We will post responses on the website.
- Follow up with a letter of thanks for the MP’s time. (This helps to keep the door open for another visit, by you, or others, or some combination of new blood and you.)
Meeting with your MPP
Visit your MPP (if you live in Ontario) with a copy of Citizens Guide to a Climate Change Action Plan
Please note for people in other jurisdictions, adapt and use as appropriate.
In the recent Ontario election there was almost no mention of climate change or other environmental issues. Now is the time to ask the re-elected McGuinty government to come up with a serious climate change action plan. Ontario’s goals for greenhouse gas reductions, while better than the federal governments, are far from adequate.
Ask your MPP, phrasing as needed–if your MPP is a Cabinet minister ask to raise in Cabinet – if not ask to raise in caucus and the House.
- Will you support a climate change action plan with firm targets and dates, based on the scientific assessment of need?
- Will you support a concerted plan to replace the use of fossil fuels with sustainable, carbon-free or low carbon alternatives? to include a carbon tax as an essential element?
- Will you support effective monitoring and evaluation of efforts on climate change targets? on new programs and major budget expenditures as to their effect on environmental deterioration in general, and climate change in particular?
- Will you support the review of provincial laws, so as to facilitate action on climate change? Including corporations legislation, planning codes, taxation, advertising?
- Will you support citizen involvement, such as by holding town hall meetings and special legislative committee hearings?
- Where there is no vision, the people perish. We need a visionary plan to reduce climate change, to put the interests of all the earth’s inhabitants, especially future generations, ahead of our extravagant lifestyles and oil company profits.
Notes for Meeting with your MPP
- Make an appointment, by telephone is best, either the constituency office, or at Queen’s Park. (MPPs have 2 offices.) If you do not get a reply in a day or two from an assistant, try the other office. You could try email, but again use the phone if no reply fairly soon.
- Ask for an appointment, best with several people, to discuss the urgent need for a strong climate change action plan. (If you get a reply that the MPP is doing everything already, you will have to do some explaining — ask if he or she has supported a reduction plan to meet global targets).
If you get an absolute refusal, ask if the MPP has any “open hours” at his or her office, or when he or she might be having an open meeting that you could attend and ask your questions publicly.
- When you go for the appointment take something written to leave behind, the Citizens Guide to a Climate Change Action Plan, brochure, your own organization’s brochure. You will doubtless be politely received. It is good to take notes (I think tape recording might be tacky.)
If the MPP is very keen and largely on side, propose that he or she sponsor an “open house” on a climate change action plan, to help push the agenda that he or she shares your concern on.
If the MPP is not at all keen, say you hope to change their mind, that this is urgent, refer the person to the IPCC website, etc. Keep the door open for another visit.
- Follow up with a letter of thanks for the time. (This helps to keep the door open for another visit, by you, or others, or some combination of new blood and you.)
- MPPs’ assistants tend to be helpful. Cultivate them.
George Monbiot, in Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning, says 90% reductions in carbon emissions are necessary for industrial countries; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently said 85%. Kyoto calls for 6% below 1990 levels and Canada has increased its emissions by 30% since signing. Others have called for us to limit our CO2 emissions to 350ppm which is less than our present levels (around 385ppm).
Fossil fuels are non renewable: It is better to switch to renewable energy before we do more damage to the planet.