PostMastery: A Reboot Alberta Initiative for Effective Assertive Citizenship
We’ve all heard the cliche about “telling truth to power.” That skill is now a necessity for effective citizenship engagement. In Alberta, given the election of the Kenney-controlled UPC Majority Government, it is more important than ever for citizens to confidently, competently, and consistently communicate to our elected representatives.
The citizenship efforts to “Press for Change” in Alberta’s political culture is at the beating heart of the Reboot Alberta Initiative. There are many Rebooters already getting serious about influencing the policy direction and destination of Our Province. They are doing this through direct engagement with MLAs by writing letters. To optimize that effort, we are setting up some ways to help engaged individual Rebooters to be effective in bringing their truth to power through persona letter writing.
Why Writing Personal Letters to MLAs is Effective
There are many ways to communicate with government officials, advisors and lawmakers. Some are more effective than others. With Covid-19 demands for self-isolation and the power of the Internet, we can still do some very effective influential policy and issue communications. The real question is what do we want to communicate to whom and for what reasons and how to be most effective.
What Are Your Issues and Concerns?
There are so many varied policy and political issues all in flux in Alberta these days. Some are forced upon us through health, safety and adaptive demands due to Covid-19. Other changes are being pushed in a fast-forward mode by the Kenney government, taking advantage of the anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and doubt imposed by Covid-19. Changes seem to happen in every area and almost daily, so it’s hard to keep current with accurate reliable information.
Reboot is Here to Help You BE an Engaged Citizen
We are going to do some Zoom training workshops on becoming a PostMaster in how you can communicate your concerns to those in control of the political power in Alberta. You will be able to watch some videos on issues, and ideas, download templates and materials to get you going and to help you stay engaged in bringing your truth to power and keep doing it. These workshops will be for Reboot Alberta network members and by invitation only. There will be tips, talkback, and techniques on the www.rebootalberta.com website. I recommend you subscribe to keep current.
Bringing Your Truth to Political Power in Alberta
It is generally accepted that the most effective way for a citizen/constituent to communicate to a politician is through personal letters, to constituency offices, not the Legislature. I mean Old School, real letters, ideally handwritten or typed, personally signed, folded, put in an envelope, addressed to the MLA, a real stamp attached and then walked to a mailbox.
The secret to effectively bringing your truth to political power in Alberta is your personal concerns through personal stories. Regardless of the medium, the message has to be your truth, in your words, and being clear about your concerns.
Your letters have to be personal, purposeful, powerful and pointed. YOu must be assertive as well as respectful. It has to have a doable “Ask,” most often a request for a follow-up meeting. We can coach you on how to prepare for and optimize the results of those meetings too.
This Old School approach takes time and effort but it indicates, to any politician, a real serious commitment by the citizen/constituent about their concerns. Signing an online petition or an online form letter doesn’t take much effort. Leaving an angry voice mail or rattling off a nasty Tweet, or comment on a Facebook page or Blog doesn’t carry much weight either. Nothing has the same weight and influence as a thoughtful letter, signed by a real person respectfully outlining serious concerns and seeking solutions requesting a followup action.
Practice Safe Citizenship
We are supposed to stay home, but unless quarantined, you can go for a walk, so why not include a mailbox on the way? Just be careful using the mailbox. You don’t have to touch it so let’s not take extra risks and let’s not make our mail carriers take any more risks than they already are.
The more practical, and wiser, alternative under these Covid-19 circumstances is to write or type your letter on a piece of stationary or print it off your computer. Then sign it, scan it and email it to the MLA’s constituency office. That level of commitment will be just as impressive, if not more, in these circumstances.
So what are you going to write about, and why, what are you going to say and how can you be most effective in saying it? How are you going to get your message out to the community and encourage others to take up the challenge of bringing their truth to power? Reboot Alberta is going to help you answer those questions on your issues and concerns, in your way and for your reasons.
It’s All About Hearts, Heads, and Hands
Here is a place to start your journey as an active, assertive and engaged Alberta citizen with Influence. It’s about what’s in your Heart, what do you care about? What’s in your Head, what do you know about your concerns? Are you ready to lend a Hand, meaning what are you prepared to do about your concerns?
First, make a list of your concerns on public policy issues and political direction in Alberta. Put them in order of importance to you and make a short note about why it is important to you.
Next, reflect on the key facts you know about the top three issues/concerns and how reliable do you think that information is. What questions do you have but know only a little or no information?
Think about what you want to be done about the top three issues/concerns? In your opinion, what should the Alberta government Start doing something, Stop doing something or Stay on their course in your issues/concerns?
What, in your opinion, are the consequences of your Start, Stop or Stay recommendation to the MLA? Write then down.
Share this post to other Progressive and Moderate Albertans who want to be Engaged Citizens and help to Build a Better Alberta.