About Us

What is Samara?

Samara is a non-partisan charitable organization that works to improve political participation in Canada. 

Our Story

Samara was formed out of a belief in the importance of public service and public leadership. It is named for a samarathe winged "helicopter" seed that falls from the maple tree. A samara is a symbol of Canada, and a reminder that from small seeds, big ideas can grow. 

Our Work

Samara’s research and educational programming began with the initiation of Canada's first-ever series of exit interviews with 65 former Members of Parliament. This set the standard for Samara’s high-quality research and public programming. Through our Samara Democracy Reports series, we continue to advance an ambitious non-partisan research agenda that shines new light on Canada’s democratic system and serves as a resource to increase Canadians’ understanding of politics. This will culminate in the Samara Index, an annual report that will draw attention to the relationship between citizens and Canada’s political process.

Through our Samara in the Classroom program we adapt our research into materials that encourage new ways of teaching politics. Together with the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, we offer Samara’s MP Exit Interviews reports as advance reading material for university classes.

Samara’s Democracy Talks is a national public outreach initiative that provides Canadians, especially young people and newcomers, an opportunity to discuss issues they care about and connect these issues to democracy and Canada’s political institutions.  Delivered in partnership with community-based organizations, Democracy Talks gives all Canadians the opportunity to have their voices heard and re-engage with their democracy.

Samara’s impact

Since Samara began in 2009, we have written provocative reports, held seminars for journalists, held public events, conducted media interviews, spoken at conferences and produced curriculum materials for classrooms. Our research consistently receives extensive national and local media coverage, and is regularly referenced by columnists and decision makers. Our MP Exit Interviews were also used to improve the orientation of newly elected MPs in 2011.

There are many ways you can get involved with Samara. We hope you will take a look around our site, engage with us through Twitter, Facebook, and the comments section on our Blog

Our work relies on the generous contributions from our funders, partners and volunteers. Make a donation to strengthen Canada's democracy.

  • October 01, 2014

    You're invited! Join us October 15th for a special event with journalist and author Alfred Hermida

    We’re excited to be partnering with Penguin Random House and the Online News Association in hosting veteran journalist Alfred Hermida in conversation about his new book, Tell Everyone, with CBC’s David Common.
  • September 29, 2014

    Like books? Like politics? Nominate an EPCitizen!

    Every week from now until the end of October, we’ll be giving away books to randomly selected nominators from the Everyday Political Citizen project. To become eligible for the draw, just submit an EPCitizen nomination today. It just takes a minute and is a great way to recognize the political heroes in your community.
  • September 29, 2014

    Q&A with Hilary Weston Prize Finalist Kathleen Winter

    Kathleen Winter is shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for "Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage". Published by House of Anansi Press. Our contest to guess the winner will run until the winner is announced on October 14 in Toronto.