At the Samara Centre for Democracy, it’s been another exciting and eventful year dedicated to building a better politics for all Canadians.
In 2018, we welcomed several new faces to our growing team, and adopted a new name and logo that more clearly signals our commitment to making Canadian democracy more accessible, responsive, and inclusive. With that increased capacity and sharpened branding, we got down to work!
Here’s a look back at some of our biggest accomplishments from the past year:
IMPROVING PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY
Going back to our roots, we published the second volume of our groundbreaking MP Exit Interviews research, based on interviews with 54 former MPs, in a series of reports that raises tough questions about the current role of MPs in three settings: Parliament, the constituency, and the party.
Streamed live from our headquarters using Facebook, Samara staff sat down with special guests to explore the findings and recommendations at the heart of this research and answer questions from viewers and supporters like you.
Joined by MPs, Senators, parliamentary staff, and longtime supporters, we marked nearly a decade since our first MP Exit Interviews with a special reception on Parliament Hill, hosted by Senator Ratna Omidvar. See photos below!
In collaboration with the all-party Democracy Caucus, we surveyed 100 MPs about what can be done to strengthen Canada’s parliamentary democracy, with the results offering unique insight into how MPs think the 42nd Parliament is functioning and where cross-partisan consensus exists.
Broadening our focus beyond MPs, we collaborated with the Canadian Press on a survey of parliamentary staff about their perception and experiences of sexual harassment and assault on the job, revealing that Parliament is an unsafe workplace for many.
In addition to being referenced in the Canadian Parliamentary Review, we were twice called to speak in front of Parliament, appearing before the Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the Elections Modernization Act and the Committee on the Status of Women concerning barriers facing women in Canadian politics.
With the Ontario Legislature briefly prorogued before the provincial election, we created a short and accessible explainer on prorogation. In the run-up to election day, we put out a widely shared and data-filled infographic. And following the election, we sent welcome packages to all newly-elected MPPs to help them get off on the right foot in their new jobs.
SUPPORTING DEMOCRATIC ENGAGEMENT
Endeavouring to elevate young people’s voices in Canada’s democracy, we spoke with MPs, constituency office staff, and youth council members to shed light on how to run a successful youth council, and captured what we heard in a handy guide and brief report that we mailed to every MP’s office.
Highlighting the experiences, obstacles, and insights that fueled their efforts to create positive change on a wide range of issues, for the first time ever, we invited nine Everyday Political Citizens from across the country to tell their stories in-person and on camera.
In a night that featured Canadian political trivia, live Latin jazz music, an Indigenous virtual reality project, and an enormous riding map of Canada, we brought together an eclectic mix of emerging policy talent and established public leaders to celebrate Canada’s democracy at Wonk Prom.
It’s been an unforgettable year, and it wouldn’t have been possible without our supporters, donors, and volunteers. We’re so proud of everything we’ve accomplished together. Thank you!
With a federal election less than one year away, the Samara Centre has big plans for 2019. Last week we shared a letter outlining some of them—if you missed it, you can read the letter on our blog. We look forward to achieving this vision for Canada’s democracy with you.
From our entire team, happy holidays!
P.S. We rely on the generosity of our supporters and donors to continue this crucial work year in and year out! We hope you’ll consider donating to the Samara Centre, and joining us in making Canadian democracy more accessible, responsive, and inclusive for all Canadians. Donate to democracy now.