Thursday, February 4, 2010

For my Democracy Today I am Contacting my MP

I had an uncle named Charlie who was one of the most interesting people I've ever known.

Very intelligent with a dry sense of humour and a sharp wit.

If you asked anyone in the small town in New Brunswick where he lived, about my uncle Charlie; they would either tell you of a prank he pulled or the amazing things he did for the community.

He never held public office, though he was often asked to run. He had no use for politicians, and never felt any desire to become one.

All of his advocacy was in the form of letter writing to his elected representatives. And if they ignored him, he'd publicly expose them in he form of a letter to the editor. They had to pay attention, because he held a great sway.

He was also an amazing writer, and even if he was just complaining about a pot hole, he had such a great turn of phrase, that you had to keep reading. Politicians knew that and never wanted to see their name in print, when it came from the pen of my uncle.

There's kind of a funny story that took place when I was visiting once. Charlie had written another letter to then NB Premier Richard Hatfield, and in it he made the accusation, 'but it's not like my feet would ever be seen under your table ....' Something to that affect.

Well Hatfield decided to challenge that statement so invited him for lunch at his home. I was there on the big day and I remember my aunt fussing over him, while Charlie kept teasing her about the uncouth antics he planned to pull. She'd fix his tie and he'd loosen it, grinning at me all the while.

Then when the limo pulled up in the drive, my uncle went out and in a booming voice, making sure that all the neighbours who had gathered outside their homes could hear "Boy, politicians live pretty well on our dime, don't they?" My aunt was mortified, but I think it was done not only to impress those watching, but to cover the nervousness underneath all that bravado.

When he returned, and was subjected to the usual queries, he stated that the first thing he said when he got there was "Boy, does it ever stink around here." (Hatfield was a hog farmer) He may have been just making that up, but you just never knew with Charlie.

When he passed my aunt received a letter of condolence from the Premier. In it he said that Charlie had been his life long adversary, but had earned his respect for taking his civic duty so seriously. I now have that letter and it is one of my most prized possessions.

My point to this story is that one person can make a difference. If you don't like a situation let your elected officials know. You don't have to take it to the level of my uncle, but one simple action performed by a lot of people can enact change.

Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament started out with a simple protest and encouragement to everyone to email, phone or write their MPs to let them know that what happened was not acceptable.

From there it ballooned into a full blown advocacy group, now numbering almost a quarter of a million people. And this was accomplished because one young man, Christopher White, decided to do something.

So today for your democracy, contact your Member of Parliament. If they ignore you, make it public. You can go over to CAPP. I believe someone there is keeping track of them.

Never assume that you are just one person, so what difference will it make. Fortunately Chris had no such reservations.

Terri Elvald, our C.A.P.P. Coordinator from Simcoe - Barrie, has kindly prepared a list of emails, of all federal MPs. You can also visit their personal web pages if you'd rather phone or write.


All Conservative MPs

All Liberal MPs


This is a list of Canadian MPs meant for copying and pasting into your email client to mass email the MPs and ask them to return to work on January 25th without the prorogue.

There are many letters on the C.A.P.P. site, but I encourage you to write your own. Anyone willing to harvest Bloc emails, please feel free to and hit me up on Facebook.

Terri Elvald, C.A.P.P. Simcoe - Barrie, Coordinator

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