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Home / The Course / Why Consider Politics? / Politics and You / What Can You Do for Change?
What Can You Do for Change?

Defining Moments
Inspiring stories and personal reflections

Politics is about making a difference.

In 1982, Margaret Mitchell, NDP MP, stood up in the House of Commons and declared concern about violence against women. She was met with laughter. Women everywhere responded with outrage and brought the issue to national attention. Today, her strong conviction and brave action paved the way for policies to protect women.

Relax and remember a time when you felt that some action you took made a difference that was positive, even if the positive impact occurred later.

  • What happened?
  • How did you feel?
  • Who was involved?
  • What was the setting?

Questions adapted from In the Tiger’s Mouth, An Empowerment Guide to Social Action by Katrina Shields, 1994.


Many but not all people considering politics begin with a clear idea of what they want to accomplish in elected office and what their personal goals are for entering politics. If you are one who is unsure, don’t despair. Think about your motives as you proceed through the program. Many sections will help you solidify your focus and interests.

What you want to accomplish becomes your vision for the future. A vision is simply a well-defined statement or description of the future where you have achieved your goals. It is imagining what it looks like when you are successful in your political life. It must be realistic and easy to understand because this is the basis of the messages you will be sharing with voters. (More on that in Section 5.)

Your vision is intimately connected to your personal beliefs and value system. You might try completing this sentence:

I will be successful in politics when….

Whether you have a vision now or not, it’s important to understand how personal goals and vision influence your political path. It happens in two ways:

Level of government

Your vision or what you want to accomplish can guide you in choosing the level of politics where you will have the greatest chance to fulfill your goals (More on this in Section 3).

Political party

And, as a seasoned political reporter said, “It’s difficult to be a maverick within a party.” Choose the party that aligns best with your beliefs, values, personal goals and vision.

Sections 2 and 3 will address this issue of personal involvement more in depth.

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