Writing to your Member of Parliament (“MP”) or Member of the Legislative Assembly (“MLA”) can be an excellent way to take part in the democratic process. Whether it is letting them know that you like what they are doing or that you are unhappy with a proposed policy or current issue. MP’s and MLA’s value letters from their constituents as these letters inform them of the issues and policies that are important to their constituents. If you no one reaches out and shares their views, they act on the information they receive from the media, lobby groups, and their personal preference or experience.
So, if you want to contact your government representative regarding your concerns on local schools, capital improvement projects, economic development, or other local issues such as health care, security, clean water, clean environment, support in times of trouble, food, etc. you should do so.
In order to increase your chances of getting your concerns noticed and make a difference, here are some guidelines on how to contact your MP or MLA.
Send a Letter, Not an Email
Email is less formal and may be taken less seriously than sending a hardcopy letter. Type your letter out and be sure to sign it. Taking the time to mail a letter shows that the matter is important to you.
Brief and Clear
Keep your letter to one or two pages maximum. If your letter is too long, it may not be read, but if it is too short and does not contain enough information it may not get a response.
Single Issue in Each Letter
If you have several matters you would like to contact your MP or MLA about, write a separate letter for each matter.
Accurate Grammar and Spelling
Check (and double check) your letter for spelling and grammar. Poor drafting and spelling makes it less likely that your letter will be taken seriously.
Polite and Respectful
Elected representatives are subject to a great deal of verbal and written abuse. A letter that is too critical or rude is not likely to be read. However, a thoughtful and well-reasoned letter that expresses disagreement with a particular policy may get a response.
What to Include in your Letter
In order to increase your chance of being taken seriously you should include the following:
- Why you are writing;
- Explain your concerns;
- Describe why you are interested in the matter;
- Explain what you would like to see happen;
- Request a specific action to be taken;
- Politely ask for a response; and
- Thank the MP or MLA for their time in reading your letter.
Send your Letter to the Proper MP or MLA
If you don’t know who to send your letter to, click here
Addressing and Sending your Letter
MLA’s or MP’s should be addressed as “Mr. surname MLA” or “Ms. surname MP”
If you receive a response, make sure to follow up with your MP or MLA. This will let them know that the matter is important to you.
For additional information on how the Alberta Legislature works, check out “The Citizens Guide to the Alberta Legislature”.