Blog the Change and Badger a Politician

 Blog the Change

It’s federal election time here in Canada. With less than a month left until the vote on May 2, campaigns are steaming ahead. Now is the optimum time to find out how the candidates in your riding feel about animal welfare

It is becoming more and more important to let leaders know how the public feels about preventing animal cruelty. If you ask the average person on the street, I bet she would be very supportive of increased action against puppy mills, for instance. Everyone I know, even the non-pet-owning types, care about the treatment of animals. Most people agree there needs to be more legal protection. It baffles me that this has yet to reach the government level. If so many people care, how come our government has yet to make any real changes? 

How come animal welfare issues are ignored and pushed aside, left to individual municipalities with tiny budgets? How come local rescues and shelters are doing the all of the work? How come most government-mandated humane societies rely solely on donations to stay afloat?

The only way to effect real, solid change is to let politicians know what is important to us. Our representatives in parliament will only do something if we make it clear how we feel. No community in this country is free from issues. From the sled dog massacre in British Columbia to BSL in Ontario there is no shortage of topics to engage local politicians on. Here in Nova Scotia, a recent dog attack in Yarmouth has local councils considering tougher dog laws, even to the point of legislating against pit bull-type breeds. The small southern town already has the harshest dog by-law in the province. Unless the people stand up and say something, it could get worse.

In my opinion, the best way to do this is still by writing an old-fashioned letter. Not an email, not a petition, but a physical letter with a stamp on it put in a mailbox. A real on-paper letter can’t be easily deleted or ignored. The more actual letters that pile up on the desk, the better. The letter should also be clear, concise, and articulate. Animal lovers are often dismissed and stereotyped as “crazy cat ladies”. In order to be heard and respected, one must use the language of a politician.  Animal welfare isn’t just important to the fringes of society, it’s important for all. It’s time our governments knew that.

The CBC website has an excellent breakdown of the federal candidates. To find who is running in your riding, enter your postal code on this page. There is also a list of all registered political parties on Elections Canada with links to the individual websites. Contact information for local members of parliament can be found here. 

Even if you are not Canadian, it is still a good time to question your representatives. Find out their stance on local issues. Push them to make a statement on topics that matter to you. Tell them that the current way of doing things is unacceptable. Make them care enough to take action. If they still refuse, then the next time an election does come around, you will know how to vote.

24 thoughts on “Blog the Change and Badger a Politician

  1. I hear little in the news about politics in Canada, but it seems you are peace-loving country. Politics here in the States is such a maddening mess that I find it hard to maneuver in the ranting. You’re right though. We should make our feelings known to our representatives in government.

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  2. Nice post! Y’know there are so many people who bemoan the animal injustices in the world…but who do nothing. They may not have the time to commit to working at a shelter, may not have the extra funds to donate to a cause….but i feel like writing a letter is something that most people could find the time and funds to do… great reminder of the importance of something so simple, something so easy.

    Thanks!

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  3. I completely agree that an old-fashioned, with envelope and stamp letter is the most effective way to let your legislator know how you feel about animal welfare issues. It shows a level of sincerity and professionalism that tends to get their attention.

    Great post.

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  4. You’ve made a great point, yet again! I think we should all be more aware about where our politicians stand on all issues, truth be told. It’s scary how many people vote without having any idea about what politicians really stand for!

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  5. I agree! I’m not sure if I heard this somewhere credible, but I think I remember reading that a handwritten letter to a politician should be counted as the opinion of at least 1000 voters – meaning really only 1 in 1000 will make the effort to write the letter, in spite of how they feel. So just one letter can have a bigger impact than you might think.

    On this subject, WSPA asked all the parties their stance on these issues and have posted the responses. Funny enough, each party (that responded) said that if animals could vote, they would vote for them. Ha!
    Link here: http://www.wspa.ca/voteforanimals/survey.html

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    • Very interesting tidbit on the amount of opinion a letter may carry! Really appreciate this post topic and the reminder that putting a pen to paper can make a difference.

      -Chandra at Daley’s Dog Years

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  7. Great points! We seldom research the candidates and then follow up on their voting record like we should. Spending a couple of hours contacting our representatives could have a huge impact!

    Thanks for blogging the change!

    Amy from
    BtC4Animals.com and
    GoPetFriendly.com

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  8. Pingback: Blog the Change for Animals – Consistently « Something Wagging This Way Comes

  9. You are very, very wise, Miss Kristine. We doggies (and kittehs) can’t speak for ourselves so we rely on our humans to do it for us. And too many times, the humans are too busy or…something…to ask questions and tell those politicians how they feel. And so we suffer for it.

    We read about them talking abouts BSL up in Nova Scotia and wondered if you knew about it. But we shoulda known that you would be on top of things!

    Wiggles & Wags,
    Mayzie

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  10. Politicians have a way of skillfully jerking people around. When they start jerking animal welfare around, they just might find out the people are not so easy to manipulate. This is my wish and I hope to see it come true.

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  11. I agree- it is so important to stand up and have our voices heard.

    This isn’t about politics- but it’s an example of “showing up” making a difference.

    In Victoria, BC where I live a made beat and killed a pitbull puppy named Bandit. He was eventually handed a 6 month sentence even though the Crown was only asking for 3-4 months. Why? People a small but dedicated band of people marched the streets and stood on street corners getting signatures and people packed his hearing every step of the way. The judge told the court room he was moved by this show of support for Bandit and opted to increase the sentence requested by Crown legal counsel.

    When we speak up we can be heard. The “system” doesn’t necessarily make it easy to make our voices heard… but nuthin’ worth it is easy 🙂

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  12. The truth is that the government here in the states is so great at maneuvering what issues they are willing to argue and be asked about. Can you believe that when politicians are doing debates or are being interviewed by the media for forums they pre screen questions. But your right they cant ignore mountains of hand written letters. can you imagine the media frenzy awesome post

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  13. Americans are not as careful about who they elect as Canadians and others, sorry to say, but as the pet community organizes, there will be more opportunity to point people to the sites that can help them make if difference for animals – that is, if the person who wants to get elected isn’t lying…

    But you are right – people need to move out of their comfort zones and take action. They don’t need to spend money, and as a contributing writer at BTC4animals I can attest to that, but taking the time to write a letter, post adoptables on your FB or blog once a week…how hard is that?

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  14. It’s handy that different sites let a person find out who their MP is…but I just can’t imagine not knowing. We need to wake up!

    Our local NDP MLA was instrumental in getting laws passed about using safe anti-freeze to protect dogs and cats from poisoning. Our MP is a Harper man and all they seem to be interested in is themselves. I checked the platforms of different Federal Parties some time ago and the Green Party has a policy about agribusiness and it’s treatment of cows, pigs, chickens, etc. I haven’t checked out the others. some digging is necessary.

    But if you really want to know what a Party is about, read their policy paper. It’s more thought out and can be a guideline to hold them to.

    http://greenparty.ca/platform2011
    http://www.ndp.ca/platform
    http://www.liberal.ca/platform/
    http://www.conservative.ca/policy/platform_2011
    http://www.ndp.ca/platform

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  15. Pingback: My Brain is Wishy-Washy « Rescued Insanity

  16. All Things Dog Blog will be here with our tail wagging and our swimming gear all ready. Can you guess what we’re going to be wagging our tongues about? A recent visit from a neighborhood pup almost took a life. Come read more about our excitement and the advice we will be sharing from our experience in lake and swimming-pool ridden Central Florida. Happy tails!

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  17. I think a lot has to be done at the municipal level, as you point out, and fewer people vote in municipal elections than in federal ones. Maybe you should keep track of those and tweet it up for all of them!

    And, while it’s hard to effect change at the federal level, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!

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