Writing your Member of Parliament - Guide to the Personal Letter
Updated: Feb 21, 2021
Contacting your representative in the government is one of the best ways to draw attention to our sport and the issues with Bill C-21. Not everyone wants to put in the effort of a personal message, so a form letter is a good alternative. However, nothing beats a letter that speaks from the heart. We've put together some great tips and standard copy you can include to write a noteworthy and compelling letter.
It is CRITICAL that you put any emotions aside. Your entire letter should be calm, rational, and professional. This is a requirement for you to be heard at all, so get in the right headspace before you start.
Your Tone and Intent
We know you could be anywhere in Canada, and your MP could be from any party. Whether you're directing a letter to the Liberal Party that has proposed C-21, the Conservative Party of Canada, or the New Democratic Party, it's good to take a moment to assess where they currently stand.
Have they been supportive in the past? Then your letter is more about giving them additional information. If they've been less supportive, your job is to open their eyes to unforeseen impacts of the decisions being made.
Whether you're sending an email or a hard copy (we recommend the hard copy!), ensure you start with your MP's name. Use their formal title as well. MPs are addressed as 'The Honorable [full name]'. You can find your MP using this tool.
Introduce yourself with your name, and note that you live in their riding. It's important for your MP to know that you're a voting constituent. Let them know you're writing to talk about Bill C-21 and how it will completely eliminate the sport of airsoft in Canada.
Describe your Interest in the Issue
You want to be brief but impactful. Make sure you begin by telling them your relationship to airsoft (player, business owner, event host, venue owner, etc). Then you can get into some solid talking points.
Bill C-21 proposes changes to the rules around replicas and prohibited devices in sections 84(1) and 84(3.2) of the criminal code
Those changes will completely eliminate the sport of airsoft and all the businesses that it supports
The impact of that change impacts thousands of employees, tens of thousands of players, and millions of dollars of annual spending
Airsoft is extremely safe and exists legally in places with strict gun controls like Japan and the UK
Talk briefly about how airsoft has positively impacted your life, and what you'll be losing when it disappears
Prompt them for Answers
There are a number of great questions to ask an MP about airsoft. Questions force them to think about the problem before responding. More importantly, they owe you the information they're using to make decisions. Get them on record and ask them for the answer. Here are a few excellent ones that you can include:
How many arrests or injuries are caused by airsoft on a yearly basis in Canada?
What were the results of an analysis of international comparisons and best practices?
What is the government estimate of job losses, business closures, and lost tax revenue due to this bill?
What do you Want?
Ultimately, all airsoft players want the same thing. Make sure these points are clear. You want:
airsoft to remain legal for import and sale
playing airsoft to be legal
to ensure possession of airsoft for the intent to play the game will not result in confiscation or prosecution
The next part is a bit tricky, and it depends on where you stand politically. Not every airsoft player is also pro-firearms ownership. However, the challenges faced by firearms owners are similar to those faced by players of this sport, and a unified front against legislation affecting both groups is a powerful statement.
We would recommend you ask for Bill C-21 to be rejected completely.
Request that the MP tell you what they're going to do about this issue. If the MP and their party have been helpful with similar types of issues in the past, ensure you thank them for their efforts. Include your full name and contact information.
Email is obviously the easiest option, but there is a lot of power in a physical letter. A physical document mandates a response and can't be ignored or deleted. It's free to send a letter to your MP. You can find their email and physical address using this tool on the 'contact' tab. It's always useful to keep a copy of your letter for your records.