Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Understanding Parliament to Maximize your Association's Objectives

Now that parliament has reconvened and we Canadians are before another Speech from the Throne, the relavance of situating one's organization into Ottawa's policy arena is more important than ever. Through becoming more acquainted with the parliamentary process and its daily and yearly workings, you’ll be much better positioned to maximize your business’ objectives and goals.

The legislative process can be an intimidating one to stay on top of, especially if you fill your days and mind with the constant needs of a running a nonprofit business. In order to ensure you understand the Parliamentary process on a more personal level, you have to have not only a working knowledge of what goes on there, and what policies are being introduced and put into law; but also, have your eyes, ears, and hands in the political arena. It is a full time job, and many organizations do not have the time or in-house manpower to stay on top.

Many-if not most-nonprofit entities do seek the aid of a government relations firm or specialist to bridge this gap between their non-profit’s needs and Parliament’s protocol. These specialists bring years of experience in the Canadian political arena, contacts, troubleshooting savvy, and the like to help you learn and approach your government in the most convenient and effective manner. Here’s a look at the actual specifics that these specialists provide-or conversely you will need to enact-in maintaining a constant and lucid conversation with Parliament:

  • Draw from already established political networks and contacts for aid.

  • Keep abreast of past, present, and future legislative action and policy.

  • Prepare necessary legislative documents for presentation in legislative proceedings (briefs, speeches, etc).

  • Gather support for your nonprofit issues by rallying new coalitions and campaigns.

  • Provide constant research on supporting legislative regulations and policies.

  • Keep a constant presence for influence in the House of Commons Caucus committees.

  • Maintain contact and communication with non-partisan lobbying groups.

  • Provide troubleshooting advice, analysis, and reaction as needed.

The Canadian Parliament is a very specialized and established system set up to provide the best regulation, policy, and laws for all Canadian citizens. Keeping informed and involved with the House of Commons and the Senate is vital to having your needs and wants as a citizen and business professional heard and shaped into history. Whether you opt for the assistance of a government specialist or choose instead to gets your hands into the mix, knowing everything you can about past, present, and future Canadian Parliament and how to best specifically address it-as noted above-is the only way that you can help enact change and positive movement in your life and your business’.

What is your opinion on Parliament and its relation to your business or movement? Personally, I am finding more NGOs and their board members seeking outside help to counsel them on where their cause fits into the government's agenda. In response, we're gaining some important insight and success. Drop me a line or a comment if I can be of help. Also, please share your personal experience here.
Mark Buzan is Principal of Action Strategies, a GR Consultancy for non-profits. Subscribe now to his Lobbying tips newsletter at www.actionstrategies.ca/Action_Strategies/Newsletter.html

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