Why is this an issue? Edit
At present, MP's share their time between their home riding and Ottawa. Naturally, not everyone can afford to fly to visit their MP when they have an issue and telephones and mail can sometimes be sluggish. The following is a set of guidelines for MP's being accessible to citizens. It includes usage of new technologies while allowing traditional methods accessible to everyone.
Ways to communicate Edit
1) Postal Communications should be accepted and replied to within 48 hours of recieving the letter. In addition, if a letter requires follow up, it is not acceptable to send a form letter without providing a timeline on when the citizen can expect further information.
2) Email is a very fast method of communication. Emails can arrive in seconds vs days for traditional email. Although email is a lot quicker, it's a lot easier to delete an email than a hard copy letter. As such, all email should be tracked and responded within the same standard as standard postal mail.
3) Video-communications are another essential tool for communication. With web cameras for PC's and high speed internet connections being widely accessable, it can be expected that an MP can respond to a request for an digital conversation as they would any face to face conversation - within 2 days if possible. One candidate has proposed spending 2 hours a day 5 days a week where he would be accessable for a video chat, this would be an excellent idea to implement across the board.
4) Instant messaging is another popular tool among young and old alike. For an MP to list their IM addresses (AOL Messenger, GoogleTalk, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Skype and Yahoo Messenger are some popular ones) for citizens to add to see when the MP has a moment to spare. IM is great for sorting out quick issues - it is realtime so the MP and the citizen can get a response quickly and easily. A government run IM system (based on Jabber or similar) would be a more secure way than using existing commercial services so it is another proposal for the table
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