An accessible space for all wonks? Sadly, not this year.

Speaking Requests

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, please email José Ramón Martí.

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

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

"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

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

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

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

Media, Politics, and You, an essay by Alison Loat, on

MPs by Accident, an essay by Alison Loat, on

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


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.

Happening Now Tuesday, April 18, 2017 View Count = 494

An accessible space for all wonks? Sadly, not this year.


At Samara Canada, we have long sought to make political spaces more inclusive and accessible. But it was not until we met Luke Anderson that the urgent need to democratize physical spaces became clear to our organization.

As the 2015 winner of the Everyday Political Citizen award, Luke was recognized for his work to improve accessibility in Ontario by putting in place “stop gap” measures while advocating for enforcement to catch up with legislation. His StopGap ramps allow the built environment to be more accessible—for everyone. Luke simultaneously advocates for enforcement of the 2005 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which calls for a barrier-free Ontario by 2025. (We were so impressed by his work that we cast him in our latest animated video.) 

Luke advised Samara on how to make our office event space accessible to a greater number of people and this commitment was top of mind as we began to plan this year’s Wonk Prom, the official after-party of the Public Policy Forum Testimonial Dinner and our biggest fundraising event of the year.

Beginning in October of last year, we set out to find a venue in Toronto’s downtown core that was physically accessible but also accommodated at least 350 people and satisfied a number of other financial and logistical constraints. Easy enough, we figured, as the AODA is already halfway through its mandate. We were shocked to discover just how limited our options turned out to be.

By November, we had only found one venue that checked every box, but the event date had already been booked! Every week, for two months, we returned to our team meeting feeling slightly more deflated; some venues were physically accessible but couldn’t hold a sizable cross-section of our community, others were prohibitively expensive or far away.

Approaching the eleventh hour, and with considerable preparation and promotion still to be done, we had to accept the fact that the city of Toronto is a long way to becoming truly accessible to all and book a venue that was not accessible.

This experience has left us with some uncomfortable lessons about the challenges of building more inclusive and accessible democratic spaces. If Canadians of all abilities cannot congregate in a shared public space—perhaps for a public meeting or consultation—how can we expect our democracy to flourish?

Meanwhile, Luke and countless more Ontarians are tirelessly working to help the AODA achieve its mandate by 2025.

You can join Luke’s efforts by visiting today.