Clear and effective writing is an important skill in both your personal and professional life. When it comes to getting a point across in writing, you want to make sure you don’t get bogged down in the details and the reader knows exactly what you are trying to say. If you have a concern that you want to express to your MLA, here are some suggestions on how to write an effective, clear, and concise letter.
Understanding the role of a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)
MLAs have an important role in the democratic process. They are responsible for representing constituents, reviewing proposed laws, scrutinizing government spending, exercising oversight, and a variety of other responsibilities and special roles. The Legislative Assembly of BC has more information about the responsibilities of a member available here.
How to find your local MLA
MLAs represent their electoral district/constituency or “riding”, which is a geographical grouping or boundary where the people they represent live. You can find out who your MLA is by visiting the Legislative Assembly website and entering your postal code. Their contact information will then appear.
Writing your letter
Writing to your MLA can be an effective way of bringing attention to an outstanding concern and to ask for help in resolving an issue. To communicate your message clearly, you may want to consider these things:
Consider your medium.
Our lives are busy and sending an email takes less time than mailing a handwritten letter. However, some may argue that mailing a letter is more personal. Both ways are effective, it is up to you to decide which one is right for you.
Keep your letter to one or two pages. You may be more likely to merit a response if you can succinctly lay out your concern without rambling on with unnecessary details. If it’s not adding to the letter in some way, leave it out.
Make it clear what the issue is and state the purpose of the letter, how you suggest it might be resolved, and what support or action you need from them in order to assist you.
Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself at the beginning of the letter and share why the issue or topic concerns you on a personal level. Allow the reader to see you as a person and a member of the community that they represent.
There is always room for questions and it’s a good way to facilitate effective communication. You may also be more likely to get a response.
A polite and respectful letter helps to get your point across in a calm manner.
Whether or not you hear back, it’s always a good idea to follow up. If you haven’t heard from them, you can send a friendly reminder. If they responded to your initial email, make sure you thank them for their response and remind them of the commitments that they may have made to you.
If you have questions or feedback about the Legislative Assembly of BC or are looking for a particular office within the assembly, please visit this page on their website for more information.
Our blog offers tips and information on a variety of topics (but is not legal advice). As a provincial regulator, we oversee certain sectors and specific consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Visit our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca for more information.