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.

Democracy Talks, our national public outreach initiative, provides Canadians, especially young people and new Canadians, with a platform to discuss how politics can better reflect their daily lives. A grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation helped us launch the project in Ontario, and in just five months there have been over 20 events in Ontario and, thanks to the help of our partners, in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta. We’ve been tremendously inspired by the impact of a single event on individuals and community partners, and look forward to expanding this in 2013. 

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.

  • April 18, 2014

    Weekly Fill(ibuster): Tragedy in the Commons edition

    It's been a busy week with the launch of our book "Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada's Failing Democracy." Today we take over the Weekly Fill(ibuster) to share some of the great news coverage around its release.
  • April 16, 2014

    Samara heads west!

    We're really excited to be heading to Alberta and British Columbia on the next leg of our book tour. Read more about our upcoming events!
  • April 16, 2014

    How’d you get that job? Samara talks to the President of the NDP

    Rebecca Blaikie has worked for many years on a side of politics that doesn't always make the news. She currently serves as the member-elected President of the NDP and previously served as the party's Treasurer and the Executive Director of their Quebec wing. Find out how she got those behind-the-scenes political jobs and the steps she thinks it takes to get there.