Writing to your Canadian member of parliament (MP)

Canada's political system

Members of parliament (MPs) represent the people of Canada.

People who have similar political views and think that a country should be governed according to those views can form political parties. In Canada there are four major groups or parties :-

There is a large number of smaller parties, many of them are concerned with one or more specialised areas of policy. In general they may have the support of many people but they do not have many members of parliament. More information about all parties can be found here.

People who would like to become MPs generally become members of one of these parties because their views are sufficiently similar. Being part of a large group means that potential members of parliament can be associated with the views of the political party. That makes it easier for voters to pick which person they want to vote for.

When a general election is held the citizens of Canada each have one vote which they can use to elect a member of parliament to represent the area of the country in which they live. The country is divided into areas of approximately equal population, that means that the cities have more representation that the rural areas of the country.

Who forms the government?

Generally the political party with the most MPs. However, two or more smaller parties can sometimes join together to form a government by deciding amongst themselves which particular ministerial posts each party will fill. In short they bargain amongst themselves for the jobs they want.

More information about the Canadian parliament

Visit the Canadian parliament's website - here you can select the language you want to use, then find your MP using your postcode. There is a lot of very useful information on the website.

Why would you write to your MP?

Some reasons you might want to write and tell you MP something:

How to write to your MP

Write your views, message or question clearly in your own words. Your MP should be pleased to hear from you and respond accordingly. They will not always agree with what you say but if they do not then they should be able to explain why they disagree. If you don't like what they say you at liberty to write back and say so and ask them for more information or suggest that they change their mind. This is democracy in action. If you do not like what you hear then why not tell other people?

How effective is writing to your MP?

That depends on your MP and the issue that you are writing about. Generally MPs take notice when a large number of people write to them about a particular issue, they know that if they don't listen then all those people might vote differently at the next election which means they will be out of a job!

My experiences writing to my MP

I live in Edmonton, Strathcona area, so my MP is Rahim Jaffer, a member of the Conservative party.

Sadly my experience is not good. I have written to Rahim Jaffer four times, the last three letters being a 'follow-up' of the first asking for a response, but at the time of writing have not received any communication from Mr Jaffer. Here is the full text of the letters and a timetable. If and when Rahim Jaffer responds the full text will be added.

Following my fourth letter I received a phone call within a few days apologising for the delay and asking me to call back to arrange a telephone conversation - more when I have spoken to him.