MP Exit Interviews

MP Exit

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About the Project

From 2008-2011 Samara conducted the first ever systematic series of exit interviews with former Members of Parliament. In total, 80 interviews took place in the homes and communities of former Members of Parliament who sat in the 38th, 39th and 40th Parliament.  The discussions formed the basis of a series of research reports and the best-selling book Tragedy in the Commons. This research has been cited by academics over 60 times and is informing the work of current MPs—the book has been referenced in Parliamentary debates and it helped inform the creation of the Reform Act.

Exit interviews are a tool used by the corporate world to capture experience and learn what worked well and what could work better.

Samara believes this practice should be applied to transform Canadian politics.

This Time

With a new exit cohort from the 41st Parliament with over a 1000 years of collective Parliamentary experience, it’s time to revisit the exit interview process with new questions, new themes and new results. We want to continue to build this national archive—to create an historic record for future scholars, parliamentarians and citizens. We will compare how practices and norms change over time and explore topics we missed last time.

Like last time, we are travelling across the country and visiting these former MPs in their communities. We are looking at new ways to share the stories of these former MPs with as many Canadians as possible through channels like educational programming, reports and events like a live exit interview. The possibilities are endless.

How you can help

We want this project to spark a larger public conversation: sign up to Samara’s newsletter and follow us on Twitter @SamaraCDA

and for updates and opportunities to be involved.

Samara’s work relies on the generous support of our do

nors and funders. Please consider joining us in making the MP Exit Interview project into a legacy for future leaders and citizens by making a donation today. You can donate online here.

If you have questions about the project, please contact Mike Morden at [email protected] or 416-960-7930.


"Participating in Samara’s Exit Interviews was a really positive experience; it was also a chance to continue to have an impact, in a different but useful way."

-Paddy Torsney, Former MP

Tragedy in the Commons

The #1 bestseller on the Globe and Mail Canadian list!

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.

Click here to purchase a copy.

Bring Tragedy in the Commons to your book club! Download the book club guide.




Route 338 is a website that profiles and showcases all of Canada's 338 federal ridings through photos, fast facts about each riding and videos from CPAC's extensive archives.


MP Exit Interviews in the news

"A must-read this summer" by Randy Simms in The Telegram

"Candidate, educate thyself" by Dale Smith in the Ottawa Citizen

"Why parties matter" by Dale Smith on

"The case for abolishing political parties" by Susan Delacourt in the Toronto Star

An excerpt of Tragedy in the Commons in Policy Options

"The tragedy of the House of Commons: A new book explores the lives and frustrations of our MPs" by Aaron Wherry on

Alison and Michael on CPAC’s Primetime Politics. To watch, search for April 28th (interview starts at 40:00).

Tragedy in the Commons: through the eyes of MPs. Alison discusses the book on The West Block.

“Why have members of Parliament allowed their power to be siphoned away as they have?” Get a sneak peek at the book from this excerpt in the Ottawa Citizen.

"How do MPs really feel about their job and the work they do?" Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan on CanadaAM (video).

"When MPs hate politics, it's time for change" by Liz Renzetti in the Globe and Mail.



More coverage of Tragedy in the Commons