Alberta and Prince Edward Island have both just elected new provincial governments. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador will soon be going to the polls as well. In the fall of 2019, all Canadians will be asked to elect members to the House of Commons to represent them at the federal level of government.
But how do you decide who to vote for? How do you decide who will best represent your interests while they are in government? That is for you to decide but thankfully we have a few tools that will help you to make an informed decision.
In Canada, as in many other countries of the Northern Hemisphere, we are free to evaluate candidates and elect those we judge to be most in line with our own values. For people living with diabetes, this often means searching out candidates who are willing to invest in research; who will help to reduce the cost of diabetes supplies; and who will help everyone living with diabetes to have equal access to devices, supplies, and programs.
How can you find out what their opinions are on issues that surround people with diabetes? How can you figure out if they know anything about diabetes? Here are a few things that you can do.
Ask them when they come to your door
Often candidates will tour neighbourhoods asking for your support. When a candidate comes to your door, ask them directly how they feel about lowering the cost of diabetes care? Will they consider expanding the current insulin pump program to include CGMs or include people of all ages who require insulin? Ask them if they support increased funding for research and development. Find out where they stand on the issues that matter to you.
Question them when they call you
Candidates and their supporters also will reach out to potential voters over the phone. Again, this is your chance to ask them one-on-one what they think and how they will support people living with diabetes if they are elected (or re-elected).
Reach out through social media
Many candidates nowadays have a strong social media presence as part of their campaign. Reach out to the candidates in your riding or contact the parties who are running candidates in your area and ask them for their position. Have they included diabetes-related issues in their platform? Are they planning on it? These are just some of the questions that you can ask on Facebook or Twitter pages for example.
You can also look for your local political hashtag like #nlpoli or #peipoli to call out all candidates in your province. Posing a question and using a political hashtag or tagging candidates can generate some great interactions both from those in office and those looking to be elected.
Attend town hall meetings
Contact party offices to see if their candidates will be hosting any town hall meetings. These are forums that allow constituents to stand up and ask for opinions on issues that are important to them. You may only have a short amount of time, but it can allow you to get those questions out there. You can also enlist friends and family to attend. Your larger presence can show the candidates how important this issue is.
Submit questions to news program debates
Often leaders of political parties will take part in live debates. News programs will usually reach out to the general public to ensure that they have a broad variety of questions to present to candidates. Send in your questions and again, allow your voice to be heard.
To make it easier to keep track of what each candidate has to say and to ensure that you are clear on what you want to know, we have created a great single-page, fillable download. With this page, you can clarify your ask as well as take notes on the information provided to you by the various candidates.