Call Canadian Officials!: Phone Campaign for Canada Resident, Saeed Malekpour
Introduction to Phone Campaigns
One of the most effective ways to make your voice heard is to CALL the offices of officials and leaders. Polite, concise, and personal phone calls to your officials are one of the most effective ways you have to influence your leaders.
Phone campaigns are most effective if they take place 4-10 days before the issue comes to a resolution.
Contacting government officials is an important way for you to take an active role in advancing an addressing the issues important to you. You have a powerful voice and a special interest in protecting and promoting human rights.
Read on to find phone campaign directions, phone numbers of officials, an example telephone call script, and more!
Directions: Phone campaign for Saeed Malekpour
U4I encourages you to place phone calls to Canadian authorities urging them to show support for permanent Canadian resident, web developer Saeed Malekpour. You can read more about his case here.
Lodge your concerns and urge Canada to show firm support for one of their own residents. It’s up to us. Maintain the pressure by calling Canadian authorities now through November 5th.
Calling Canadian officials regarding Saeed Malekpour’s case will instantly make more noticeable his situation because authorities will be met with it in real time. It’s easy make the call! Follow the instructions for more on how to participate.
A few things to keep in mind
Officials get many phone calls at their offices every day. Be sure to keep these tips in mind:
- Calls to your own representatives are far more influential than those from people who are not their constituents, so if you are a resident of Canada it is especially important to pick up the phone!
- If an answering machine picks up, leave a message: “This is [your organization] calling to [short message].”
- Know your issue! Read up on the case and issues before calling. Plan what to say in advance using the script and suggested messages before you call any elected officials. Keep it short and simple. You will want to state your purpose right up front when you call: “As a (constituent / concerned citizen/ representative of your organization), I urge you to…” Keep your comments brief, pertinent, and factual.
- Remember officials are people too and they like to be told when they’ve done something right. Reaffirm your appreciation for the positive steps they have already taken. Be courteous and respectful in all communications. Don’t use threats.Be reasonable. Don’t ask the impossible.Be constructive, not negative.
- If you represent and organization, you are better off calling in such a capacitysince officials tend to perceive organizational communiques as representing a larger set of interests than individuals’.
- Refer to the resolutions or laws being violated by number and title (Don’t just say, “Iran is treating its citizens badly.” Be specific (i.e. “The IRI is blatantly violating Articles 10, 11, and 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”)
- Be very clear about what you mean and what action and/or position you want the official to take. Clearly explain what the issue is, your stance on the issue, and what the official should do.
- Make sure to thank the person you talk with for their time!
Campaign Targets & Phone Numbers
Embassy of Canada in Iran (Tehran)
Mr. Dennis Horak,Charge d’Affaires
Office of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Tel.: (613) 992-4211
Constituency Offices Tel.: (403) 253-7990
Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon
Tel: (613) 992-5516
Fax: (613) 992-6802
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tel: (613) 947-4566
Fax: (613) 947-4569
Official Opposition Critic for Consumer & Consular Affairs
The Honourable Dan McTeague, P.C., M.P – Liberal
Tel: (613) 995-8082
Fax: (613) 993-6587
Foreign Affairs and International Development
Paul Dewar – NDP
Tel: (613) 996-5322
Fax: (613) 996-5323
National HQ – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Ottawa)
Brian Goodman, Chairperson
Susan Bibeau, Director General of the Immigration Division
Tel.: (613) 995-6486
Canadian Residents – Call Your Member of Parliament
If you are a Canadian resident, we encourage you to call your locale’s MPs. You can find your Member of Parliament’s telephone number by entering your Postal Code at this website: http://bit.ly/aYhXMa
Example Telephone Script
Before making a call, write out what you want to say. Know the issue. Be prepared so you can confidently raise the issues and urge action. A staffer will most likely answer the phone and will most likely ask if you are a constituent of the region. If you are not a constituent, be prepared to explain why you are calling and how the issue impacts you. The phone call does NOT have to be long! You should be able to get your message across in 2-3 minutes. Below is an example script.
Staffer: Prime Minister’s office, how may I help you?
YOU: Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] from [YOUR CITY]. I’m calling [on behalf of YOUR ORGANIZATION /out of concern for one of Canada’s permanent residents], Saeed Malekpour. He’s been detained in an Iranian prison for 2 years on some ludicrous charges related to “internet offenses.”
Staffer: Ok, thank you for calling. Is there anything else?
YOU: Yes, I just wanted to further note that Saeed has been tortured in prison, denied legal access, and spent more than a year in solitary confinement. I’m hoping that because he chose to make Canada his home, the Canadian leaders can urge Iran to release him and drop the politically motivated charges against him. He is an innocent web developer who has been pinpointed as an easy target by Iran and he really needs the international community, especially those leading his country of residence, to campaign for him. His support for Saeed’s case could set a huge precedent and show the IRI people are still watching.
Staffer: I’ll convey your message.
YOU: Thank you so much for your time.It is much appreciated. Please tell [LEADER’S FULL NAME AND TITLE] that Saeed is to be sentenced around November 4th or 5th, and I know that his family and lawyer are concerned he could een be dealt an execution sentence, so all support is appreciated. Please thank [LEADER NAME for addressing Saeed Malekpour’s case.
Staffer: I will. Thank you for calling.
Other messages you can choose to address during your phone call include the below. We suggest picking only a couple to discuss in order to keep the phone call focused and short.
- I hope that [NAME OF LEADER] can continue to work to address Iran’s continued, systematic human & civil rights abuses, especially as related to Canada’s own citizens and residents.
- Saeed was arrested in October 2008 after going to Iran to see his terminally ill father. When he got to Iran, he was arrested and falsely accused being responsible for the development and administration of the adult website – which is completely untrue.
- Some of the completely untrue charges include things like “taking action against national security by designing and moderating adult content websites” and “insulting the sanctity of Islam.”
- Saeed wrote an open letter in March 2010 where he talked about the torture and threats of sexual assault he continues to face. After he wrote that letter, they moved Saeed back to solitary confinement and accused him of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic”.
- Saeed’s case is an internet law case full of technical terms and, truthfully, there is little knowledge or understanding behind the “evidence.” The authorities keep denying Saeed access to the resources he needs to disprove the accusations.
- Iran is violating Articles 10, 11, and 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, AND the basic tenants of the “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.” It is my hope that Canadian officials can step-up for Saeed and ensure that one of their own residents is ensured these inherent rights.
- Please ask [OFFICIAL'S NAME] to make Saeed gets a fair trial, legal representation, and medical. He has only a few days before his sentencing, and he needs Canadian officials’ help badly.
Once you’re done…
Let us know how it went! Sharing experiences and the different reactions each caller gets can be invaluable in tracking how many calls officials received, as well in exchanging ideas, tips, and tricks for making the best call. Send us an e-mail and let us know how your call went! Or visit this discussion thread on U4I’s Facebook to share your phone campaign experience publicly! Please make sure to also send e-letters to Canadian officials urging them to act on behalf of the country’s permanent resident!