Samara's Democracy 360

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What is the Samara Democracy 360?

The Samara Democracy 360 is a report card that grades key areas of Canada’s democracy. It will help educate citizens on the health of their democracy, encourage debate and provoke change where evidence suggests it’s most needed. 

The Democracy 360, more specifically, measures the relationship between citizens and their political leadership by looking at three areas: 

  • CommunicationTALK: Do MPs and political parties reach out to Canadians? Are Canadians contacting their political leaders?
  • Participation—ACT: How do Canadians participate beyond voting?
  • Leadership—LEAD: How do Canadians evaluate MPs and political parties on their core roles? How well do our leaders represent Canadians?

At present, the Samara Democracy 360 focuses primarily on federal politics, political parties and MPs, as well as citizens’ engagement and perceptions of politics more generally. We want Canadians to consider how they can talk, act and lead better. 

Samara's Democracy 360 will enable:

Citizens to better understand, evaluate, and engage with the political process.

Teachers and students to access an educational tool for classroom lessons on Canada’s political process and civic engagement. 

Journalists to draw on a fact base about Canadians’ beliefs, political activities and the political process that will enrich and improve reporting. 

Researchers & academics to expand on Samara’s analysis and advance research and teaching agendas. 

Political leaders and policymakers
 to refer to a nonpartisan, reliable source of information about citizens’ (dis)engagement with politics and recommendations for improvement. 

Through all of these stakeholders, above all else, we hope the Democracy 360 will help all Canadians champion a stronger democracy for a better Canada.

What makes Samara's Democracy 360 unique?

Many global indices regularly monitor aspects of democracy, and typically compare dozens of countries. This diversity means that index indicators used must be measurable across a range of contexts, from Great Britain--with a centuries-old democratic tradition - to South Sudan--one of the newest democracies.  As a result, indicators are often general and fail to address how established democracies can innovate and improve. 

Unlike global indices, Samara's Democracy 360 allows a much more in-depth evaluation of Canadian democracy over time, and between elections.

This “made-in-Canada” approach will measure important developments in Canada’s political system that global indices can miss. We plan to be back in 2017 with the same yardstick to measure progress or decline.

Where will the data come from?

Samara's Democracy 360 draws on a variety of information sources:  

  • Public opinion data captures citizens’ perceptions of politics, as well as their political knowledge and behaviour (e.g. how they participate);
  • Other objective data Samara collects itself (e.g. coding of MP websites); and
  • Existing public sources (e.g. Elections Canada’s reports on voter turnout).

Samara uses both citizen perceptions and objective data because we believe how citizens view politics is equally important to how politics is actually working.

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