The Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada announced today (March 7) it is in the process of developing a new Parliamentary Partners Program to assist the group in its overall advocacy efforts.

According to a press release, the purpose of the Parliamentary Partners Program is to identify RVDA Canada members who have a strong personal relationship with a member of parliament or senator, and to facilitate more frequent communication with that individual on legislative issues affecting the RV industry.

“During the past six to eight years, several changes have occurred in the Ottawa lobbying community, which have made it more difficult to impact the legislative process. During that period, a phone call from a constituent was usually all that was needed to get a sponsor for legislation or to get a vote for a bill in committee,” said Eleanore Hamm, president of RVDA Canada.

“Today, more than ever, most organizations and public interest groups recognize the importance of grassroots lobbying and have stepped up their local involvement. As a result, parliamentary offices are being bombarded by letters and calls from constituents demanding help on a great number of issues,” she added. “This means that a phone call from an RVDA member to a member of parliament or senator generally does not have the same impact as it did several years ago.

“Usually, the constituents cannot speak directly with the member of parliament or senator, but must talk with a staff member who cannot give a commitment on an issue,” said Hamm. “The issue is explained to the member, second-hand, by a staff member who often does not fully understand the problem and certainly does not pursue the issue with the emotion of one who is directly affected.”

Hamm noted this method of communication does not mean that the importance of grassroots lobbying has diminished in any way.

“Constituent contacts are still the most effective way to communicate opposition or support of an issue. However, in today’s environment, direct contact with members and senators is needed to ensure that we effectively deliver our message to Parliament,” she added.

Under this program, RVDA Canada will search for the member who has a strong personal relationship with each senator and member of Parliament. If the person agrees to the responsibilities of the position, he or she would be appointed a Parliamentary Partner.

“RVDA Canada firmly believes that the contacts and relationships developed by the Parliamentary Partners program will become a critical component to the association’s legislative activities and will help contribute to its success in national advocacy,” Hamm explained.

RV dealers interested in becoming a Parliamentary Partner, may contact Hamm at 604.718.6325 or e-mail [email protected] to request an application form.