About Us

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.

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In the media


Best podcasts for July
Podcast Playlist | July 2023

Nearly 11,000 abusive tweets targeted Vancouver and Surrey election candidates
Vancouver Sun | July 2023

SHORT CUTS #897 PostStar Royco
CANADALAND | June 2023

“Anti-woke” Ottawa trustee candidates received highest rate of abusive tweets
True North | June 2023

Club Friday Q&A: Sabreena Delhon on Why Canadian Politics Isn't Made For Women
Friday Things | June 2023

Former MPs talk about the 'tug of war' between personal and party politics on new Samara Centre podcast
The Hill Times | April 2023

Ontario's proposed polling ban would leave voters ‘in a dark room,' says Nanos
The Hill Times | April 2023

Sabreena Delhon never could have guessed how deeply personal her conversations with former politicians would get
Pod the North | April 2023

What we're listening to — Humans of the House review
Vocal Fridays | March 2023

Exposing Canadian politics in ‘Humans of the House’ with Sabreena Delhon, Celina Caeser-Chavannes and Lisa Raitt 
The Social | March 2023

New podcast explores the human side of Canadian politics with Sabreena Delhon, Scott Brison and Romeo Saganash
The Current with Matt Galloway | March 2023

No holds barred: Samara Centre for Democracy launches new podcast featuring former MPs ‘to hear in their own words what this job is really like’
The Hill Times | March 2023

A podcast that tries to humanise politicians ‍
Ottawa Morning with Robyn Bresnahan | March 2023

Hallway Conversation, Sabreena Delhon speaks with Sue Allan about Humans of the House
Politico | March 2023


Tracking Online Toxicity in #Elnx44
Policy Options Podcast | September 2021

How toxic was the 2021 election?
CBC Radio: All in a Day with Alan Neal | September 2021

Hostility on the 2021 campaign trail: Defaced campaign signs, toxic tweets and disrupted events
Ottawa Citizen | August 2021

‘Toxic’ online posts having negative impact on federal election voters
CityNews Toronto | August 2021

A New Report Just Revealed Which Party Leader Is Getting The Most Hate Online Right Now
Narcity | August 2021

Decision Canada: Tracking online abuse during the election campaign – with AI technology based in Edmonton
630 CHED Afternooons | August 2021

Racialized, female candidates more likely to face online abuse during campaign, analysis finds.
‍CTV News | August 2021

Why female political candidates in Canada are receiving more toxicity on Twitter
Global News | August 2021

15 Tough Questions Social Sector Leaders Would Ask Federal Candidates In An Election Debate
Future of Good | August 2021

Green Leader Paul points out threats targeting her online, calls for accountability
Globe and Mail | August 2021

La cheffe du Parti vert dénonce les menaces en ligne contre les politiciens.
Le Devoir | août 2021

Torrent of online ‘toxicity,’ including hate, targeting election candidates: study
Toronto Star | August 2021

New project tracks toxic tweets aimed at candidates during federal election
CBC Radio: The Morning Edition K-W with Craig Norris | August 2021

Ontario Morning
CBC Radio with Ramraajh Sharvendiran | August 2021

Tracking toxic tweets during the federal election
CBC Radio: Edmonton AM with Mark Connolly, Tara McCarthy | August 2021

A new project is tracking toxic tweets aimed at candidates and political parties during the Federal election
CBC's Information Radio - MB | August 2021

Why Catherine McKenna is leaving politics, but staying in climate fight
Global News | June 2021

Online incivility and abuse in Canadian politics
New Canadian Media | February 2021

MPs say hate speech is constraining public discourse
iPolitics | February 2021

Online hate speech could result in attacks on politicians, MP Angus warns
CBC News | February 2021

Meet the team

Board of Directors

Our Story

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.