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 they continue.

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 the full series 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.



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.

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Contribute to the Democracy Monitor

Help us track the ways in which democratic leaders and institutions are adapting to the pandemic by identifying, documenting, and sharing:

  • Institutional adaptations resulting from the pandemic which you think are either beneficial or detrimental to democracy (at the federal, provincial/territorial, municipal level, or in other countries); and/or
  • Communications you’ve received or engagement efforts you’ve seen from elected representatives at any level of government (like newsletters, online town halls, AMAs, etc.)

To report an adaptation, simply fill out this form:

If you have any questions, please email Adelina Petit-Vouriot.



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