As a nurse, your clinical expertise and knowledge of the social determinants of the health affords you valuable perspective that policy-makers need to be made aware of. Our toolkit is designed to help nurses have their voices heard.
After you’ve found the candidates for your riding, we suggest you engage them by sending a letter, requesting a meeting, and staying connected.
Tips on engaging with a political candidate
Remember: political candidates want to hear from you because you’re the expert on health care.
Your elected federal officials are in office to represent you. You’re entitled to reach out and talk to them about the issues you care about, whether they pertain to your riding or the nation as a whole.
The issues discussed with candidates are usually around national policies such as federal funding for health care, but you should always aim to make it relevant by providing examples from your riding. Increasing federal health transfers to enhance virtual care or long-term care delivery in your community is something the federal government and your future-elected member of Parliament can help with.
Here are some more tips to help you get the most out of your interactions with political candidates:
- Know your stuff: During a campaign, you never know when you’ll run into a candidate – at a neighbourhood event, grocery store or on your very own doorstep. Take some time to prepare two or three priority issues you can speak about with candidates. Or, if you’re short on time, download CNA’s election platform, titled Charting a Course for a Healthier Nation [PDF, 1.3 MB], so you can inform candidates of our identified priority issues.
- Stay connected: Follow your local candidates on social media to know more about them and what they are saying during the election. You can also follow CNA and the media to stay up to date on the latest federal election developments and access summaries and resources of major election issues as well as parties' stances.
- Be concise and direct: Candidates are always crunched on time. If you are meeting them at your doorstep, at an event, or asking a question during a webinar, be ready to get your ideas across in just a few minutes or even a few seconds. You will also have a bigger impact if you can generate a discussion, which you can do by asking open-ended questions that encourage the candidate to tell you more. If you ask whether your candidates support more funding for long-term care, that will usually only get you nothing more than a resounding “yes.” Instead, ask them open-ended questions like how they and their party will take action to fix the problems with Canada’s long-term care sector.
- Get face time: Contact your local campaign offices for a virtual or in-person (if possible) appointment with the candidate or their staff. Be persistent and follow-up if you don’t get a response. Arm yourself with our election platform to help communicate the issues and evidence clearly. Your local candidate’s information will be available on Elections Canada’s website.
- Work the scene: Check with your local campaign offices and candidates’ social media channels to find events, town halls, webinars and debates near you or virtually. Be aware of and follow any local public health measures. You can focus on attending virtual events only. Events are great opportunities to meet your candidates and ask questions and find out how they will act on your priorities. However, these spaces do not usually allow time for a genuine conversation. Do not forget to tweet with our #CNA2021 while you are engaging in this year’s federal election!
Finally, follow your area’s COVID-19 public health guidelines. If public health measures permit, you can attend meetings where candidates will be present. These events can include rallies, community events, debates, and local town halls. You may even run into a candidate at your grocery store. There will also likely be many virtual engagement opportunities, such as webinars and town halls, which you can attend to engage with candidates.