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.

  • October 31, 2014

    Friday Fill(ibuster): Municipal monsters and government gremlins

    Some might say that this democracy news roundup is normally just a mishmash of content. This week we hope it feels like more of a Frankenstein monster of political insight. Happy Halloween to all! And don't be scared, there's still one day left to nominate for an Everyday Political Citizen!
  • October 29, 2014

    Riding Changes in the Digital Age: who is online, and who isn’t?

    Election buzz is in the air, but did you know if Parliament was dissolved today there are 338 seats up for grabs? Samara located and analyzed over a thousand riding association websites across the five major federal political parties to find out how well their online transition was matching this “on the ground” restructuring.
  • October 28, 2014

    Attack on Hill is reminder of human dimension of Parliament

    Today’s blog comes from Samara’s acting director, Jane Hilderman. Jane was on Parliament Hill the day before last week’s shooting at the National War Memorial and armed attack on our national legislature. She recounts her experience and explains what should be remembered about politics as a profession as we move forward.