Welcome to the 42nd Parliament
October 19th, 2015 was historic: voter turnout was the highest in 20 years, and 200 rookie Members of Parliament (MPs) are heading to the House of Commons!
While the final voter turnout numbers are not in yet, Elections Canada projects voter turnout will hit 68%. Clearly Canadians share your and our concern for our democracy. From the Everyday Political Citizen contest to Vote PopUp, we like to think Samara has had some small hand in making this happen.
While this number is far from 100%, it’s an amazing feat for voter turnout to jump seven percentage points and we should all feel proud. We here at Samara await the breakdown to see how well various age groups turned out and where the growth came from. We hope the increase was universal and crossed all age groups (especially young people), ethnic communities and regions.
For those candidates who ran—who gave their time, money and energy; who put their names on the ballot—we thank you. You showed Canadians that politics is worthy of good people’s time.
For those who weren’t successful this time, we hope you’ll remain engaged in the years between elections—one way to remain engaged is to connect with Samara. If you know someone who ran, we hope you’ll tell them about Samara, and please ask them to email us. We have so much to learn from their experiences and we would like to speak to them.
Two hundred newly elected MPs are heading to Ottawa—almost 60% of the House of Commons will be new to the job.
Maclean’s prepared a fun interactive tool for looking at the shape of this new Parliament. The percentages of women, visible minorities and indigenous people are up modestly from the last Parliament. Check it out here: http://www.macleans.ca/shape-of-the-house/.
After the 2011 federal election, Samara interviewed 80 MPs—some who’d lost their seats and some who’d retired. Participants ranged from backbenchers who’d only served one term to cabinet ministers and even one prime minister. Their recollections of the life were a vital documentation of their personal experiences in office and an historical record of this specific time. Out of these interviews, Samara’s co-founders wrote a book, Tragedy in the Commons, which contains helpful and tangible advice for incoming MPs.
This report, Welcome to Parliament, is the second in the series of four reports and documents what it's like to arrive in Ottawa after being elected. As one MP recounted:
“All of a sudden I said, ‘I’m going to Ottawa.’ I had never planned to do that. It was just one of those things that happened.”
Samara's Exit Interviews are now a bestselling book!
In Tragedy in the Commons, Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan, Samara's founders, draw on an astonishing eighty exit interviews with former Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum to unearth surprising observations about the practice of politics in Canada.
Loat and MacMillan ask: Just what do we want Members of Parliament to be doing? To whom are they accountable? And should parties be trusted with the enormous power they wield with such little oversight or citizen involvement?
With unprecedented access to the perspective and experience of Canada's public leaders, Tragedy in the Commons concludes by offering solutions for improving the way politics works in Canada, and how all Canadians can reinvigorate a democracy that has lost its way, its purpose and the support of the public it is meant to serve.