Tips for letter writing



November 4, 2009

 “But do all this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander”. 1 Peter 3: 15b-16

Writing a letter to your MP

  • To find out who you MP is call 1-800-O-Canada or click here.
  • Have a plan and a purpose. Know who you are writing to and for what specific reason (i.e. to persuade them not just to offer some rhetoric).  State that reason in the opening line of the letter.
  • Keep it short and focused.  One or two paragraphs with a few of the best arguments.
  • Be polite.  Do not talk down to him/her.
  • Make it personal.  Show your real concern.  Include your personal information such as address and phone number.
  • Have someone else proofread it, especially for spelling and grammar.
  • Use proper titles for leadership (Prime Minister: The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Cabinet Minister: Honourable Rob Nicholson, Member of Parliament: Mr. Warawa or Honourable Mr. Warawa, Senators: Honourable Jen Smith. For a complete list click here.
  • Carbon copy the appropriate cabinet minister. A list of the cabinet ministers and their contact information is available here.
  • Hand written is just as good if not better than email.
  • Keep a copy of your letter.  Refer to it in future correspondences by date.  Request a response by phone or mail.
  • Mail to Parliament can be sent postage-free.

Writing a letter to the editor

  • Follow the rules of the newspaper.  Include all your contact information.
  • Have a powerful opening and closing statement.
  • Wait a few hours before you send it to ensure that it is “seasoned with salt”
  • The same rules apply for word economy and proofreading
  • Keep it respectful.  Do not use language that sounds hateful or attacking.
  • Be blunt and clear, not ambiguous.  You know what you want to say but they don’t


* This article is an updated version of a resource produced by Langley ARPA. 

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