Public relations pro Faye Roberts outlines ways businesses can leverage strong government relations
KITCHENER, Ont.—On October nineteenth, Canadians voted, the ballots were tallied and our newly elected and re-elected officials are now busy organizing themselves. The new Government and Cabinet will be sworn in on November 4th. Now is the time for businesses to activate a post-election checklist to make sure you have a foundation of relationships with government that can serve your business.
Here are a few pointers to help you get started:
• Assemble (or confirm) the list of ridings where your company has facilities, and where your customers, suppliers and employees live. Fill in the names of the newly elected or re-elected Members of Parliament (MPs) on your key contact list.
• Confirm the addresses for your key contact list – email and snail mail; as well as websites, Twitter accounts and phone numbers.
• Confirm you have a place in your list to capture special job assignments – you’ll want to make sure you can add details about cabinet or secretary of state appointments and critic assignments.
• If this is a new exercise in building a key contact list, take the time to include existing elected reps from provincial and municipal levels of government – they’re part of the team as well.
• Add the members of your key contact list to your company’s distribution list to ensure they receive news about your company.
• Your facilities: consider upcoming events, such as open houses or celebrations, as opportunities to invite your government representatives.
• Your trusted advisors: associations and other advocacy groups like the Chamber of Commerce or your industry association may be planning events or meetings where members can meet the new or renewed MPs.
• Draft a letter or email to congratulate newly elected or re-elected Members of Parliament who are on your company’s key contact list. It’s customary to send such a message to those MPs you will be in touch with, as well as to members of the new cabinet who have oversight in areas important to your business (this might be the minister of industry and/or the secretary of state for technology….)
• We’re headed into the holiday season and this offers another opportunity to connect with key MPs and elected officials. Watch for community events where you can meet these key people in low-stress environments. MPs often find opportunities to bring the community together, and these are great places to say hello and make a brief introduction.
• Watch for the speech from the throne. This is a summary of how the newly formed government will spend its time and resources and how its party platform will be translated into action.
This post-election checklist is a good foundation to get your business on track to work with the new federal government (and other government officials) on an ongoing basis or when the time is right. It’s a small investment now in connecting with a group of government representatives that can help access resources and connections to help your business prosper.
Some people might call this “government relations” but whatever it’s called, it makes sense!
Faye Roberts is co-founder and managing partner at Scout Public Affairs Inc.