Many people ask me what are some of the differences between Canada and the USA. There are lots and lots of differences, of course. One that has come to my attention of late is the ways we engage with our elected officials.
In Canada, MP Irwin Cotler sent around a petition to be signed by any resident of Canada. This petition needed to be signed by each individual and mailing addresses were required. The petition is about Iran and calling Iran accountable for the crimes against humanity perpetrated within her borders. The petition is very important. You can find it on the ARZA Canada website, print it out, sign it and have everyone you know sign it and get it to MP Cotler’s offices in Ottawa by May 31.
I do not know if members of parliament have twitter accounts or facebook accounts, for that matter. (Yes I will look into this). Because I am not a Canadian citizen I do not vote so this information isn’t as vital to me.
In the post September 11 world contacting the United States Congress has become something entirely different. Because of the anthrax scares all mail goes to a facility in another state and is zapped to kill anything that could harm an individual. This means that contacting representatives is most effective if done through fax, email or phone call because it alleviates the need for the process I described above. Today I learned that it is also possible to tweet your representative. Human Rights Campaign posted this which enables citizens to tweet their representative! I hope that the RAC starts to do this, too. It is simple. Hopefully effective and enables people to engage in political issues that they are passionate about.
I am already a fan of twitter (you can follow me at @rabbisteinman) and this just solidified my opinion that it is leading the way in social media.
The RAC does have a great Chai Impact Action Center where you can email your representatives pre-written letters or draft your own. Check it out!
Here’s a list of all Canadian politicians on Twitter: http://politwitter.ca/ and a great article about it: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/how-mps-use-twitter/article1480734/.
Most are also on Facebook.
All Members of Parliament have email addresses. They can be found at http://www.parl.gc.ca.
Thanks, Rachel! This is why I count on you.