The Samara Centre is a non-partisan organization that produces ground-breaking research and dynamic events that advance a vibrant culture of civic engagement across Canada. Our vision is a resilient democracy with responsive institutions, shaped by an engaged public.
The Samara Centre for Democracy was co-founded by Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan in 2008. In response to declining voter turnout and increasing cynicism about politics, they set about illuminating ways to enhance civic engagement and empower citizens to hold the political system to account. They began what was then known as the Samara Project and later Samara Canada to encourage greater political participation and representation across Canada. By 2018 the organization had evolved to become the Samara Centre for Democracy.
The Samara Centre is known for influencing the national conversation on politics with provocative research reports, bold initiatives and thought-provoking convenings that celebrate active citizenship. Our work poses urgent questions about how to build a more responsive political landscape in Canada. Key pieces of work include the 2014 bestselling book Tragedy in the Commons and the 2023 podcast Humans of the House.
For over a decade this dedication to producing accessible and relevant work that supports a vibrant culture of civic engagement has endured. In a moment where democracy is under threat, the work of the Samara Centre is more pressing and relevant than ever before. And we continue to make a meaningful impact as the go-to resource for active citizens, educators, policy makers and journalists.
We don’t just observe. We approach our work with flexibility and take risks in the pursuit of our goals. We learn from our mistakes and don’t act out of fear.
We create practical paths to a more equitable society, fostering active civic engagement and strong, supportive communities across Canada.
We learn through experimentation and knowledge sharing, and use these insights to inform our actions. Being thoughtful and inquisitive activates our democratic imagination.
We work closely and respectfully with others to encourage learning about and engaging in our democratic ecosystem. We seek out and value diverse systems of knowledge, and resist a top-down approach.