Speaking Requests

Samara_Stronger_Democracy_Better_Canada

Samara has built a reputation as a reliable source for original research and informed opinion on Canadian politics. If you are a journalist looking for a comment on Canadian politics, Parliament, political parties, policy development, voting behaviour or political culture, email Kendall Anderson.

On this Speaking Requests page you will find

  • More information about staff available to speak with media;
  • Samara's latest and past press releases; 
  • A list of our op-eds and opinion pieces; and
  • Selected videos and podcasts.

An excellent overview of Samara's work is available in this feature by Piali Roy in Yonge Street Media. Our work was also featured in the essay “How to Fix Our Politics” in Maclean’s magazine.

For a full list of Samara's News Coverage, click here

Invite Samara to speak on your program or to your organization

Samara staff are available to speak to a number of topics in Canadian politics. We bring a much-needed non-partisan, research based voice to the discussion. 

If you would like to invite Samara to speak on your program, please email Kendall Anderson

Samara staff are also available to speak at events and conferences. As Samara is a charity, and preparation and travel come at a cost, we ask for a donation to be made to Samara Canada in lieu of a speaker's fee. Cost will depend on participants, venue and the event itself.

If you would like more information or to invite Samara staff to speak at your event or conference, please email Kendall Anderson.


Jane Hilderman

Jane Hilderman is the Executive Director of Samara Canada, a research and educational charity that explores how Canadians participate in democracy, how Members of Parliament do their jobs, and how citizens perceive politics.

Jane is a master's graduate of the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto and a graduate of Queen’s University. She has worked for government and opposition MPs on Parliament Hill through the longstanding non-partisan Parliamentary Internship Program. She hails from Camrose, Alberta where she grew up on a family farm. 



A selection of interviews are featured below

Michael MacMillan

JSB_MichaelMacMillanSamara_20150108_114871-EditMichael is Co-founder and Chair of Samara. Together with Alison Loat, he co-authored the #1 national bestselling book Tragedy in the Commons.

He's also the CEO of the Canadian-based company Blue Ant Media. He was previously the executive chairman and CEO of Alliance Atlantis Communications. MacMillan co-founded the original Atlantis Films in 1978, which won an Oscar in 1984 for its short film Boys and Girls. A recipient of the Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals for service to Canada, he is also a co-owner of Closson Chase, a vineyard and winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Michael is available for media requests related to Samara's MP Exit Interviews and Tragedy in the Commons. 

A selection of interviews are featured below

IMG_20140414_153339Samara's Michael MacMillan on Global Halifax's Morning Show

"How do MPs really feel about their job and the work they do?" Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan on CanadaAM (video).

Alison and Michael share ​MP Exit Interview stories on this hour-long call-in show with Bill Good on CKNW in Vancouver. 

Michael shares some of his reactions to the exit interviews on Dale Goldhawk's AM740 show and on CBC's Ontario Today with Rita Celli.

 “The truth is that we have a system designed to be controlled by the centre.” Great interview with  Alison and Michael in The TyeeThe Tyee also ran an excerpt from the book.

Alison Loat

Alison Loat, co-founder of Samara (and former executive director) frequently appears on live TV and radio. 

Alison is frequently contacted by newspaper and online reporters for her expertise in Canadian politics and Parliament.  Her research and commentary has been featured in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Maclean’s magazine, the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, CBC.ca and GlobalNews.ca, as well as in local and regional print and online media. 

A selection of interviews are featured below



Alison was recently featured in a special edition of iPolitics about individuals who are changing the way Canadians discuss and engage in politics.

More of Samara's Press Releases

2014 Analysis of Members of Parliament's Websites

For release December 8, 2014
Second annual review of Members of Parliament’s websites continues to show MPs are not taking advantage of digital outlets to connect with Canadians.

Announcing the Everyday Political Citizen 2014 Winners

For release December 3, 2014
High-school teacher Tim Halman from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia named Everyday Political Citizen of the Year

Announcing the 2014 Everyday Political Citizen Jury

For release September 8, 2014
Rick Mercer, Madeleine Redfern and NHLer Grant Clitsome join a jury of prominent Canadians to champion Everyday Political Citizens

Analysis of riding association websites

For release March 10, 2014
Political parties' local chapters fail to use websites to connect with Canadians

By Invitation Only

For release February 18, 2014
Canadians award political parties largely failing grades

Everyday Political Citizen contest winners announced

For release February 3, 2014
Winners of the Everyday Political Citizen contest put a positive face on politics

Prominent Canadians name the top Political Citizens of 2013

For release January 21, 2014
Non-partisan think tank Samara and political leaders recognize thirteen ‘Everyday Political Citizens’

Members of Parliament's websites analyzed

For release December 2, 2013
Review of Members of Parliament’s websites shows most fail to seize digital opportunities to connect with Canadians.

Everyday Political Citizen

For release November 11, 2013
Rick Mercer, Kirstine Stewart and Preston Manning join a panel of Canadians to champion Everyday Political Citizens.

Lightweights? 

For release July 8, 2013
New report reveals Canadians' low political participation between elections, particularly among youth. 

MPs by the Books

For release May 13, 2013
New research finds Cabinet Ministers are among the quietest MPs in the House

Lost in Translation or Just Lost? 

For release February 4, 2013
New research analyzes how well Canadians interests are represented in the House of 
Commons

Who's the Boss?

For release December 3, 2012
New research finds satisfaction with democracy at all-time low

Occupiers and Legislators

For release June 27, 2012
Report: New research questions old assumptions about political news

The Real Outsiders

For release December 7, 2011 
New Report: Politically disengaged Canadians explain their declining participation

MP Exit Interview Reports 

For release September 14, 2011
Former Members of Parliament advise incoming MPs on improving Parliament and Canada’s political culture

It's My Party

For release April 18, 2011
Former Members of Parliament cite their own parties as a source of frustration

Welcome to Parliament

For release November 30, 2010
New report identifies little consistency in how former MPs describe the core purpose of a Member of Parliament; exposes largely unexplored aspects of Canadian political leadership

Opinion Pieces

Samara's list of publications and original research is growing all the time. Here's a sampling of some of our best writing. 

"Pass the Reform Act before election clock ticks to zero" by Michael MacMillan in The Globe and Mail
 
"Should Voting be Compulsory in Canada?" Alison Loat writes the "No" side in The Costco Connection. 

"Parliamentary reform must reach down to the riding level" by Samara Executive Director Alison Loat in the Globe and Mail. 

More opinion pieces by Samara

"It's Time to Celebrate Everyday Political Citizens" by Alison Loat in the Huffington Post

"Lean in to political life" by Samara Research Director Jane Hilderman in the Ottawa Citizen
 
"Rathgeber challenges party dominance of MPs" by Alison Loat in the Ottawa Citizen

Why are MPs here? Good question, an op-ed by Alison Loat in the Ottawa Citizen (reprinted in theLeader Post and the Province)

Technology and Political Campaigns: Not Just Robocalls, a post by Alison Loat in the Huffington Post

Are the Media "Horse Racing" in This Election?, a post by Alison Loat in the Huffington Post

Is Parliament broken? It may be more accurate to say political parties are, an essay by Alison Loat in a special issue of iPolitics

Balancing Family and Work: Challenges Facing Canadian MPs by Royce Koop, James Farney and Alison Loat in Canadian Parliamentary Review

Canadian Politics: it shouldn't take a revolution, an op-ed by Jane Hilderman on iPolitics.ca

Canada's political outsidersan op-ed by Nick Ruderman in The Mark

Wanted: One job description for MPs, an op-ed by Alison Loat, in the Ottawa Citizen

The party's not over, but it needs some life, an essay by Alison Loat, in the Ottawa Citizen

Politicians must reach out to jaded voters, by Kyle Crawford in the Toronto Star (July 7, 2011)

Our (surprisingly?) diverse Parliament, a post by Alison Loat, in the Huffington Post.

What is a Canadian MP's job? They dunno, an op-ed by Alison Loat, in the Globe and Mail

Towards a more purposeful Parliament, an op-ed by Alison Loat, on iPolitics.ca

Our MPs are not Lifers, an essay by Alison Loat, on themarknews.ca

Sizing Up the House of Commons, an essay by Alison Loat, on themarknews.ca

Media, Politics, and You, an essay by Alison Loat, on themarknews.ca

MPs by Accident, an essay by Alison Loat, on themarknews.ca

Let's Not Blame Youth for Voter Apathy, an op-ed by Alison Loat, in the Globe and Mail.

Videos

Here you can link to videos of Samara's events and research. Alternatively, you can watch on Samara's YouTube channel.

MP Exit Interviews

 The Outsiders Manifesto, Alison Loat on The Agenda

"It's My Party", Alison Loat on The Agenda

Welcome to Parliament, Alison Loat on The Agenda

The Accidental Citizen, Alison Loat on the Agenda

 

Journalism Seminars

Paul Steiger

Paul Steiger is the founder and editor-in-chief of ProPublica, a non-profit investigative newsroom and the first online-only news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize.  Here he speaks about ProPublica's creation, the challenges they faced and their plans for the future. 

Watch the video.


Tom Rosenstiel


Tom Rosenstiel is director of the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and the author of its annual State of the News Media report. Here he presents the findings of the 2010 report. 

Watch the video.


Ellen Weiss


Ellen Weiss is the Senior Vice-President for News at National Public Radio. Here she talks about how NPR is innovating in its coverage and how its business model has helped it weather the economic downturn.  

Watch the video.
 

Speakers at Samara

Naheed Nenshi

Elected mayor of Calgary in the fall of 2010, Naheed Nenshi's campaign promised "politics in full sentences." In this video he discusses what distinguished his campaign from the other contenders, the importance of municipalities in the daily lives of Canadians, and how engaging with citizens is central to any political project.

View the video here.

  • July 21, 2016

    Teaching Democracy with Playdough

    For the last year, with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, North York Community House and Samara have undertaken a major initiative to strengthen democratic engagement by training almost 50 staff members and engaging over 600 community members in one of the most diverse regions in Canada.
  • July 05, 2016

    Samara Advisory Board Member Isabel Bassett appointed to the Order of Canada

    All of us at Samara would like to extend our sincere congratulations to Samara Advisory Board Member Isabel Bassett, who was recently appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada!
  • June 16, 2016

    How to Engage Young Canadians

    To illuminate how political leaders can better engage youth, Samara asked young leaders from across Canada for their recommendations, and captured their ideas in a clear and colourful poster!
  • June 09, 2016

    New Ontario Law Preserves Non-profit Engagement Efforts

    Before Bill 181 was passed this week, Samara's Executive Director co-authored an op-ed asking for amendments to ensure that non-profits wouldn't be restricted in their engagement efforts during elections. Good news: changes were adopted!
  • June 06, 2016

    Celebrating Civic Engagement at Change Fair

    At the end of May, with help from Samara, North York Community House brought together over one hundred of its community members to celebrate democratic engagement and ask: "How will you take action in 2016?"
  • June 01, 2016

    Help Samara turn $1 into $10,000

  • May 31, 2016

    #YOUthInOffice: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada in Parliament!

    On May 31st, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, host the third annual #YOUthInOffice day. To celebrate, we revisit Rachel Berry's experience as a student on Parliament Hill in 2014.
  • May 16, 2016

    Bringing Gender Equity to Parliament

    On May 11th, MP Kennedy Stewart introduced a bill designed to bring gender parity to the House of Commons by incentivizing political parties to nominate more women in future elections. Read his full speech to Parliament here.
  • May 10, 2016

    What is Open Government?

    What does "open government" mean and how does it affect citizens' relationship with government. We asked Kent Aitken at the Treasury Board Secretariat for a primer.
  • May 02, 2016

    On Electoral Reform: Identifing the Problem

    What is the problem that electoral reform is meant to solve? What's wrong with our current system? Here's what our community told us.
  • May 02, 2016

    On Electoral Reform: Values

    Different voting systems prioritize different (and sometimes competing) values, such as simplicity, representation, group power or individual power. What values should we prioritize when designing a new voting system?
  • May 02, 2016

    On Electoral Reform: The Consultative Process

    We know most Canadians have historically not been interested in electoral reform – although they do recognize that our democracy is not working for them. How can a consultative process produce interest in the conversation?
  • May 02, 2016

    On Electoral Reform: Advice for Parliamentarians

    This Twitter chat set the stage for a panel the following day at the University of Ottawa hosted by the Jean-Luc Pepin Research Chair, with a keynote by the Hon. Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef. In advance of this discussion we asked our community to share advice they would offer the Minister and other parliamentarians on undertaking electoral reform.
  • May 02, 2016

    On Electoral Reform: Beyond the Electoral Process

    Samara's focus is on everyday democracy and empowerment of citizens. Electoral reform might be part of the solution but are there other ideas that should be on the democratic reform agenda? Here are a few ideas we heard
  • April 25, 2016

    This high schooler gets political

    Read about a local grade 11 student's experience volunteering at Samara's office in Toronto this past March Break.
  • April 18, 2016

    Adventures in babysitting democracy: Poll clerking on election day

    In an effort to understand how polling stations work, Theresa Wallace volunteered as a poll clerk for Elections Canada on E-day last October. She has written about it to help other Canadians understand what's happening behind-the-scenes.
  • April 13, 2016

    Q&A with Sheila Watt-Cloutier

    Q&A with Sheila Watt-Cloutier, author of The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic, and the Whole Planet.
  • April 06, 2016

    Q&A with Norman Hillmer

    Q&A with Norman Hillmer, author of O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition and finalist for the Writers’ Trust’s Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.
  • March 31, 2016

    Q&A with Andrew Nikiforuk

    Q&A with Andrew Nikiforuk, author of Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry and finalist for the Writers’ Trust’s Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.
  • March 29, 2016

    Happy 1st birthday, Democracy 360!

    To celebrate the Democracy 360 report's first birthday, we are making public two national survey data sets. Links to the research are in this blog.