Democracy Monitor

Democracy Monitor

Democracy Monitor

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, democracies around the world are being forced to adapt. Legislatures are putting aside their usual processes to urgently approve support for citizens while also trying to maintain physical distancing. But balance is required: the need for rapid action shouldn’t mean democratic representation or government scrutiny are abandoned, and some jurisdictions are finding innovative ways to ensure this does not happen.

The Samara Centre's Democracy Monitor is an ongoing research series that examines the state of democracy in a state of emergency, tracking the ways in which political leaders and institutions are reacting to the crisis, and looking at how elected representatives are engaging with constituents during physical distancing.

Explore our entire series of reports and events below.



Parliament Under Pressure
Parliament Under Pressure: Evaluating Parliament's performance in response to COVID-19 (April 2, 2020)

After Parliament’s initial rounds of emergency lawmaking, we provide a timely evaluation of what our national legislature and leaders got right and what they got wrong. Read a summary of our analysis here

Westminster Parliaments
Westminster Parliaments Compared: Four approaches to emergency lawmaking and scrutiny (April 21, 2020)

As the crisis marches on, we compare how the parliaments of Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Canada were convened to pass emergency legislation, who got to participate, and what has been put in place to keep tabs on government.

Towards a Virtual Parliament thumbnail
Towards a Virtual Parliament: Design choices and democratic values (May 1, 2020)

With governments struggling to adjust to the realities of physical distancing and restricted travel, we make the case for a hybrid virtual Parliament as the best option to keep our national legislature working throughout the pandemic.

Closer to the People?
Closer to the People? Adaptations to COVID-19 by Canada’s provincial and territorial legislatures (May 26, 2020)

As legislatures across Canada confront the crisis, we review the emergency responses taken in each province and territory (if any), and examine their recent steps to resume some degree of regular operations and parliamentary work.

Digital Contact Tracing
Digital Contact Tracing: A problem for democratic governance (June 10, 2020)

With other countries experiencing the negative consequences of digital contact tracing, we find that governance of such apps has been almost totally neglected, and argue this is an area where Canada can lead.

Representation in Isolation
Representation in Isolation: The Samara Centre's 2020 Member of Parliament Survey (September 22, 2020)

Drawing on our latest MP Survey, we examine how MPs experienced the first months of the pandemic, and offer recommendations to support MPs in their new roles and get the work of the Commons back on track quickly.

Temperature Check
Temperature Check: Canadian democratic attitudes in a pandemic (October 28, 2020)

We examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered Canadians’ views toward their democratic system, public institutions, political leaders, and fellow citizens, using public opinion data from the Consortium on Electoral Democracy.



Virtual Parliaments
Virtual Parliaments: Perspectives from Canada and the United Kingdom (April 23, 2020)

Watch Dr. Cristina Leston-Bandeira of the University of Leeds and Dr. Paul EJ Thomas of the Samara Centre for Democracy discuss the potential benefits and challenges of virtual parliaments.

Adapting to COVID-19
Adapting to COVID-19: Canada's Provincial and Territorial Legislatures Compared (May 28, 2020)

Watch the Samara Centre's Paul EJ Thomas, Northwest Territories MLA Julie Green, political science professor JP Lewis, and Queen's Park reporter Sabrina Nanji discuss how provincial and territorial legislatures are adapting to COVID-19.

Broken Telephone Townhall
Broken Telephone Townhall: Elected Representation During a Crisis (June 9, 2020)

Moderated by John Beebe of Ryerson University's Democratic Engagement Exchange, the Samara Centre's Mike Morden joined Ontario MPP Sara Singh for a discussion on the challenges of democratic representation during lockdown.



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