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 24, 2014

    Friday Fill(ibuster): "a great place, our best place"

    Wednesday saw an unprecedented attack on Canada’s capital; the murder of one man at the National War Memorial and a shocking storming of Parliament’s Centre Block which police and journalists are still trying to piece together. But let’s take a cue from Wherry and the Globe editorial board—let’s not throw our routines out the window too much in the wake of the attack. Lots besides went on this week in democracy news and much of it deserves another look. So let’s get back to business.
  • October 23, 2014

    Making the grade: EPCitizens hand out marks to mayoral candidates

    With a week left to submit a nomination for EPCitizen and a few days left before the Toronto municipal election, we thought we'd share a neat piece of work from a current nominee for 2014 EPCitizen, Toronto's Devon Ostrom. The "Mayoral Report Card", produced by Manifesto, Grassroots Youth Collaborative and BeautifulCity.ca, seeks to evaluate the Toronto mayoral candidates on issues related to youth, hopefully empowering Toronto's young people to get out, vote and make informed choices while they are at it.
  • October 23, 2014

    How Canadians negotiate security, protests, privilege and public access on Parliament Hill

    In light of yesterday's violence in Ottawa, the coming days will bring passionate conversation about the way Parliament Hill is kept secure and the extent to which it remains a public space. Guest blogger Anne Dance frames this discussion with insight about the way Canadians ought to negotiate security, protests, privilege and public access on Parliament Hill.