Every Member of Parliament represents a constituency. Yet the amount of attention paid to the Member-constituency relationship by scholars is quite small compared to its importance in our democratic system. Members must spend time building connections to their constituencies, understanding concerns, and mediating these tensions within a party caucus if party policy conflicts with what an MP is hearing locally. Additional responsibilities such as being in cabinet or having a constituency far from Ottawa where travel is difficult can create other challenges. The Canadian Study of Parliament Group organized a seminar on March 16, 2018 which brought parliamentarians, academics, parliamentary staff and journalists together to explore ideas of constituency representation and engagement. This article summarizes the seminar’s sessions and provides some insight into how these various groups of stakeholders think about the nature of constituencies.
Connecting with Constituents: Observations on how MPs engage at home