Hosting a Pre-election Meeting

By Deborah Mebude

Canada is days away from the official start of the 2019 election period. Hosting an event during the election campaign can be a great way to discuss important issues with candidates and educate members of your community. Meetings can be structured in various ways, including roundtable discussions, town hall meetings or a more standard debate-style.

  • Roundtable discussion: involves a group of people discussing a specific topic. Those included in the discussion agree that each person has an equal right to participate.
  • Town hall meeting:  an informal meeting for those in a specific community to voice opinions and ask questions to public figures.
  • Debates: focused on two sides of a particular issue. Each group takes a position and they explain why they are correct about this issue. This can be useful for understand different perspectives.

Organizing a public meeting:

  1. Determine the purpose of holding the meeting.  Keep a clear and tangible focus.
  2. Approach other groups who might want to help organize or attend the event, and invite representatives from relevant organizations as well.
  3. Choose a public place with adequate accessibility, seating capacity, and sound system.
  4. Publicize:
    • Send a public service announcement to the media and post bulletins in the community.
    • Prepare a press release summarizing the background to, and purpose of, the meeting
    • Contact media and invite them to cover the event
    • Use social media to make the event known to more people
  5. Invite local representatives, federal candidates and, where possible, elected officials responsible for the issue to attend.
  6. Distribute responsibilities for welcoming, chairing the meeting, moderating a debate, introducing speakers, arranging for audio-visual equipment, etc.
  7. Determine meeting format and time limit.
  8. Have informational materials available.

Learn more from CPJ’s Advocacy Toolkit.


Ahead of the 2019 federal election, Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) will be hosting a series of free, non-partisan events across Canada. Full information about fall tour registration, locations, and times can be found on CPJ’s website here:

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