Building Relationships at the Ontario Legislature
When I started getting involved with ARPA, and even more so when I began working at ARPA, one phrase has been particularly drilled into my memory. I’m sure you’ve heard it too – ‘relationships first, policy second.’
On Monday, December 5, ARPA Canada hosted a lunch reception for MPPs at Queen’s Park with the intent of focusing on ‘relationships first, policy second.’ Although we have hosted similar receptions for our federal representatives, this reception was ARPA’s first ever reception for provincial politicians and their staffers. The main purpose of the reception was simply to meet and greet MPPs and their staff. Ontario is at the beginning of a new legislative session following the election this past summer, so it was the perfect time to introduce ourselves to new and returning MPPs and their staff.
And we had a great turnout! In total, we had around 50 guests, in addition to a few ARPA staff and chapter members. Our guests included various MPPs and staff from both MPP offices and provincial ministry offices. Guests represented both government and opposition parties. We had the opportunity to tell them what ARPA is and what we do and to ask them about their jobs, priorities, and general interest in politics.
Where opportunities arose, we also brought up various policy issues. For this event, we wanted to focus on three of ARPA’s priority issues in Ontario over the next year. One of these priorities is family law. We provided several policy documents on this issue, advocating for policies based on biblical principles which will benefit children and families throughout the province. A second focus was on freedom of conscience for medical professionals and advocacy for provincial legislation to protect conscience rights. Finally, we provided information on Down Syndrome, seeking to persuade MPPs to ensure that expectant parents who receive a Down Syndrome diagnosis for their pre-born child receive accurate information and proper support. These documents were included in a small package for our guests, and over 30 of them were distributed to MPPs and staff from the various offices.
We are thankful for this opportunity to get to know many new names and faces and to show them a brief snapshot of ARPA’s work. We’ll continue to seek to build these relationships into 2023 and to keep you up to date on our issues of focus and how you too can get involved!