Whether you are already politically active or not, it is easy to engage with the candidates in your riding. For one thing, engaging voters is critical to their success. If a candidate appears at your door, or you see them out at an event, simply let them know what you are concerned about; personally, for your riding, your province, or for the country.
Here’s a few quick points to keep in mind:
- Candidates are trying to connect with as many people as possible because they need your vote. You may bump into them at the mall or they might show up on your doorstep, but they might send out volunteers who will also be interested in learning how you might vote. Sometimes volunteers can connect you with the candidate if you ask (especially if you indicate your vote is undecided).
- Candidates and volunteers want to learn what people in their ridings are concerned about. They may ask you questions about your biggest priorities, their party, or the party leaders. Think of it as a quick survey that gives their party data on your interests and concerns.
- Candidates want to know whether they can count on your vote or not. If they see you are on the fence, they will want to know what it will take to win your vote. If you are not planning on voting for them/their party, they may want to know the top 1-2 reasons why not and will probably just quickly disengage and thank you for the chat.
- Candidates have no ability to influence their party’s current policy agenda because it is already set. This is why following up once candidates get elected is critical. If you have an established personal relationship with them, you can re-engage to advocate for issues or change important to you (and hopefully to psychology).
- If you express an interest in their candidacy or party, they may be curious to learn whether you would be interested in volunteering or donating to either their campaign or party.
- Candidates and volunteers may ask you for your contact information so that they or their party may contact you to see:
- if you still intend to vote and if so, for them or not;
- whether you would be interested in donating or volunteering;
- whether you need a ride to the polls.
Engaging with candidates lays the foundation for connecting with your MP. The CPA and Canadian psychology need you! If you have energy, enthusiasm for advocacy and time to spare let us know. After the election, we can sign you up to our Very Involved Psychologist (VIP) or Very Involved Psychology Researcher (VIPR) initiative. https://cpa.ca/advocacy/vip-vipr/ The best advocates for psychological practice and research are individuals who have helped to elect an MP and built connections.