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.

  • August 22, 2014

    Friday Fill(ibuster)

    A variety of efforts to do politics differently. And what makes people vote the way they do? Facebook and Harry Potter appear to be two answers to that question. Plus our regular fistful of Friday fun: political opportunities and events abound in our weekly roundup!
  • August 19, 2014

    Much more to Canadian political culture than voter suppression

    As word of former political staffer Michael Sona’s conviction in the robocalls scandal rolls across the news, it is worth recalling that many more staffers and campaign volunteers are investing their time in politics out of a genuine desire to make the country better.
  • August 18, 2014

    #EPCitizen nominees highlight diversity of politics in Canada

    Everyday Political Citizen, an annual contest run by Samara to celebrate political participation, has already been reflecting the diversity of politics in Canada and the various categories of being political that democracy report Lightweights explored.