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Constituent Engagement and Survey Responses

As I write this column for our great newspapers in the Bow River riding, my website, and my e-newsletter, I’m reminded how important it is to keep our weekly newspapers alive. Recently I had the opportunity to question the Minister of Heritage at committee about the main estimates (government spending). I asked him how his government, that purports to wanting to promote Canadian journalism, can justify splashing over $60 million in advertising dollars to online foreign tech giants while local outlets like in the Bow River riding are seeing federal advertising dollars dry up – sometimes to zero. This money used to go to our papers and now they’ve lost it. He didn’t have a straight answer for me, but I pressed him to re-think about his government’s priorities.

The reason I mention this interaction is because I’m always hearing from constituents about the issues that matter most to them. In fact, keeping our local newspapers alive is an important topic for many. If you weren’t aware, I publish a monthly survey released along with my e-newsletter that you can sign up for through my website. But in my regular snail mail correspondence, I’m also asking constituents their thoughts on relevant issues. The mail surveys can be returned to my office in Ottawa postage free. It’s one of the best ways for me to stay up to date with your thoughts.

In my latest mailer, I highlighted some of the work my Alberta MP colleagues and I have been focused on in this Parliament. Included was a survey with 10 questions on a variety of topics including: inflation, government spending, internet regulation, community safety, firearms laws, foreign interference, among other topics. When the responses to this survey start trickling into my office, I always read and respond to them.

Ultimately, Members of Parliament are accountable to their constituents, and I believe MPs should be doing everything they can to stay in communication with their constituents. Be it through social media, email, letters, or phone calls, I always enjoy hearing your thoughts.

So I will leave you with this ask: Next time you see an email from my office in your inbox or a constituency mailer in your mailbox, fill it out with your thoughts! I’d like to hear from as many constituents as I can. In a riding with such a vast geographical footprint and such a diverse population like Bow River’s, it’s important to hear your thoughts – no matter where you live.


Martin Shields

MP Bow River

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