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Have a particular disability issue you care about? Let people know! One of the best ways to spread the word is to reach out to local and province-wide papers.
You Hold The Power
Assertive, Not Hostile
Tell Them How To Help
Tips for communicating with your representatives
Remember that you hold the power
Be confident! When you call your representatives do not feel nervous or like you are a burden to them. It is you they work for and it is you they must answer to. Without support from constituents like you, they cannot maintain office.
Give personal accounts
Representatives want to hear personal stories about how legislation affects their constituents. For example, if you or a loved one have struggled to get by on PWD assistance, talk about how this has impacted your lives and let the representative know that the current policy is not working for you.
Elected representatives use personal stories to help bolster their arguments both behind closed doors and in public speeches and interviews. Knowing exactly how their constituents are affected by legislation is how they know what works and what does not work.
Be assertive but not hostile
Your experiences, views, and input are important and . But be mindful not to turn ...Thank your members of Congress for doing the right thing. Our representatives need to know when something is working or if their voters are happy with their work.
Tell them what steps they can take
You may have a broad goal that you wish to convey, such as more public support for persons with disabilities, but it helps to be specific about how the representative can help make that a reality. What policies should be changed or more strongly supported? What are the biggest areas of concern? Knowing this information will help your representative more effectively advocate for you and your cause.
You do not need a script, but it is good to have talking points
For some people following a script is overly rigid, restricting, and uncomfortable! Feel free to approach communication however your please, but--especially for conversations--it helps to have a list of talking points or notes that you can use to support your communication and bolster your arguments.
Try to book an in-person meeting
Some representatives regularly meet members of the public at their constituent office, or will at least offer appointments with one of their staff. Contact the office and ask if one of these is possible. You can also try stopping by the office in-person to arrange an appointment.
Change does not happen instantly, and the more you voice your opinion the more prominent it will be in your representative's mind. Speak up, be consistent and persistent, and do not think that your engagement has to end with just a single call or email---keep in touch with them!
Hello, my name is (your name) and I am a constituent of representative (representative's name). I’m reaching out to urge the representative to (your request). We should ensure that (goal of your request). This matter is especially close to my heart, because (personal connection to issue). Please (steps you want your representative to take). Thank you.
Hello, my name is Jane Roberts and I am a constituent of representative Smith. I’m reaching out to urge the representative to do more for persons with disabilities.
We should ensure that people with disabilities who are unable to work are still treated with respect and receive the financial support they need to live happy, healthy lives. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and many persons with disabilities, including my brother Stephen, barely have enough to scrape by each month and are forced into a life bordering on poverty. That is no way for anyone to live.
Please increase the Persons With Disabilities benefit so that people like my brother can live the lives they deserve.
Hello, my name is (your name). I am a constituent in the riding. I am concerned about (the issue) and I strongly encourage (representative's name) to (how you want the representative to respond). Thank you for your hard work!
Hello, my name is Jane Roberts. I am a constituent in the riding. I am concerned about how inaccessible public services are and I strongly encourage MLA Smith to support the provincial accessibility legislation that is under discussion and formulation. Thank you for your hard work!
Script 3: Increase Disability Funding
The 300 To Live campaign, which advocates for raising provincial disability assistance rates, has provided this very helpful script for contacting your elected representatives.
Premier John Horgan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister Nicholas Simpson: SDPR.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Find the email of your MLA by using this tool.
RE: Permanently increasing income and disability assistance
Dear [politician’s name],
My name is [name] and I am writing to you from [city / constituency] in order to urge you to continue the $300 per month increase to income and disability assistance, and to further increase income and disability assistance to livable rates.
(Optional: share your story about how the $300 increase has helped you or someone you know, & what barriers you / people in your community are facing.)
Poor and disabled people have been living in an ongoing crisis of poverty, inaccessibility and injustice for far too long, which has been maintained by provincial legislation and policy. The recent temporary increase of $300 has significantly helped poor and disabled people gain access to basic necessities, such as healthy food, medication, and safe housing.
Withdrawing this increase will force people back into choosing which bills to pay and starving at the end of the month. [We / disabled and poor people in B.C.] need the $300 to live.
Do the right thing: make the $300 increase permanent. I urge you to:
1. Maintain the $300/month increase to income and disability assistance rates
2. Permanently raise income assistance rates to at least the poverty line, indexed to inflation; and
3. Ensure that increases to income assistance and disability assistance include a clear, earmarked increase to the shelter portion.
Thank you for your consideration.
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