Research

Research

The basis for all that we do, the Samara Centre's research brings forward the evidence, reforms, resources, and initiatives to drive positive change in our politics and transform our representative democracy. Action-oriented, comparative, and multilevel, this research focuses on three areas central to the health of Canada’s democracy: legislatures, political parties, and citizen participation.

LATEST RESEARCH


1. Temperature Check

Temperature Check

This report explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered Canadian democratic attitudes.

 

2. Representation in Isolation

Representation in Isolation

This report examines how MPs have experienced the pandemic, and charts a way forward.

3. Democracy Monitor

Democracy Monitor

An ongoing research series exploring the state of democracy in a state of emergency.

4. Contact Tracing

Digital Contact Tracing

This instalment of the Democracy Monitor looks at the governance of digital contact tracing apps.

 

RESEARCH LIBRARY

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To download data sets, see the sidebar.

Democracy 360


2019 Democracy 360

2019 Democracy 360

Our third comprehensive report card on the health of Canadian democracy, examining how Canadians communicate, participate, and lead in politics.

Keywords: democracy, communication, participation, leadership

Published: March 26, 2019
2017 Democracy 360

2017 Democracy 360

Our second comprehensive report card on the health of Canadian democracy, examining how Canadians communicate, participate, and lead in politics.

Keywords: democracy, communication, participation, leadership

Published: March 28, 2017
2015 Democracy 360

2015 Democracy 360

Our first comprehensive report card on the health of Canadian democracy, examining how Canadians communicate, participate, and lead in politics.

Keywords: democracy, communication, participation, leadership

Published: March 24, 2015



MP Exit Interviews: Volume II


The Real House Lives

The Real House Lives: Strengthening the role of MPs in an age of partisanship

A peek behind the curtain into the hidden world of leader-dominated, hyper-partisan party caucuses.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, caucus, local party, Member of Parliament, partisanship, party leader

Published: October 31, 2018
Beyond the Barbecue

Beyond the Barbecue: Reimagining constituency work for local democratic engagement

A new vision for constituency offices as civic hubs and outposts of Parliament, rather than service centres.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, casework, constituency, events, Member of Parliament, public consultation

Published: July 25, 2018
Flip the Script

Flip the Script: Reclaiming the legislature to reinvigorate representative democracy

How to make Parliament effective again at its essential responsibilities of scrutiny, debate, committee work, and legislation.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, committee, debate, Member of Parliament, party leader, Private Members' Business, scrutiny

Published: June 11, 2018

Expand to see MP Exit Interviews: Volume I


 
The Outsiders' Manifesto

The Outsiders' Manifesto: Surviving and Thriving as a Member of Parliament

Lessons from former MPs for a healthier political life and better representation.

Keywords: Member of Parliament, political life, Parliament, politics

Published: September 14, 2011
It's My Party

"It's My Party": Parliamentary dysfunction reconsidered

Stories of party dominance and micromanagement, which get in the way of effective democratic representation.

Keywords: political parties, Member of Parliament, political life, Parliament

Published: April 18, 2011
Welcome to Parliament

Welcome to Parliament: A job with no description

The chaotic, unsupported process of becoming a parliamentarian, and the confusion it creates.

Keywords: Parliament, Member of Parliament, politics, political life

Published: November 30, 2010

The Accidental Citizen

The Accidental Citizen

Former MPs describe their unexpected paths into public life.

Keywords: Member of Parliament, democracy, running for office, politics, entering politics

Published: June 2010

MP Exit Interviews

MP Exit Interviews

A brief history of the MP Exit Interviews project, the first ever systematic series of exit interviews with former Canadian parliamentarians.



Parliament


Representation in Isolation

Representation in Isolation: The Samara Centre’s 2020 Member of Parliament Survey

How MPs have experienced the pandemic, and recommendations to sustain representative democracy throughout this time—based on our fifth survey of MPs.

Keywords: constituency, House of Commons, MP, pandemic, Parliament, virtual Parliament

Published: September 22, 2020
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House Inspection: A retrospective of the 42nd Parliament

The first in-depth, objective examination of the 42nd Parliament (2015-2019).

Keywords: 42nd Parliament, caucus, scrutiny, transparency

Published: January 21, 2020
2018 MP Survey

2018 Member of Parliament Survey

How MPs think the 42nd Parliament is functioning, and how to make it better—based on a survey conducted with the all-party Democracy Caucus.

Keywords: 42nd Parliament, caucus, collaboration, committee, debate, MP, reform, scrutiny, transparency

Published: September 25, 2018

Expand to see more Parliament


 
Elephant on the Hill

The Elephant on the Hill

How parliamentary staff perceive and experience sexual harassment and assault in their workplace—based on a survey led by the Canadian Press.

Keywords: 42nd Parliament, assault, Bill-65, harassment, workplace

Published: August 9, 2018
Flip the Script

Flip the Script: Reclaiming the legislature to reinvigorate representative democracy

How to make Parliament effective again at its essential responsibilities of scrutiny, debate, committee work, and legislation.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, committee, debate, Member of Parliament, party leader, Private Members' Business, scrutiny

Published: June 11, 2018
No One Is Listening

No One Is Listening: Incivility in the 42nd Parliament, and how to fix it

How MPs feel about the state of decorum and culture of heckling in the House of Commons—based on our second survey of MPs.

Keywords: 42nd Parliament, culture change, debate, decorum, heckling, incivility, MP

Published: October 25, 2017
Cheering or Jeering

Cheering or Jeering? Members of Parliament open up about civility in the House of Commons

How MPs feel about the culture of heckling in the House of Commons—based on our first survey of MPs.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, civility, heckling, House of Commons

Published: January 15, 2016
50 Ways to Redesign Parliament

50 Ways to Redesign Parliament

Citizens, community leaders, and sitting MPs share their ideas for how to make Parliament more effective and relevant.

Keywords: citizens' voices, MP job satisfaction, party control, physical changes, procedural changes, technological changes

Published: September 13, 2012



Political Leadership


Representation in Isolation

Representation in Isolation: The Samara Centre’s 2020 Member of Parliament Survey

Examines MPs' experiences of the pandemic, and offers recommendations to resume the work of the House of Commons.

Keywords: constituency, House of Commons, MP, pandemic, Parliament, virtual Parliament

Published: September 22, 2020
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Party Favours: How federal election candidates are chosen

Pries open the “black box” of nomination contests in Canada to examine how political parties select candidates.

Keywords: political party, federal election, nomination contest, grassroots democracy, transparency

Published: July 17, 2019
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Don't Blame "The People": The rise of elite-led populism in Canada

This report uses new data to help answer the question: is Canada having a populist moment? And if so, why is that a problem?

Keywords: populism, political discontent, the people, elites

Published: May 7, 2019

Expand to see more Political Leadership


 
The Real House Lives

The Real House Lives: Strengthening the role of MPs in an age of partisanship

Peeking behind the curtain into the hidden world of leader-dominated, hyper-partisan party caucuses.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, caucus, local party, Member of Parliament, partisanship, party leader

Published: October 31, 2018
Beyond the Barbecue

Beyond the Barbecue: Reimagining constituency work for local democratic engagement

A new vision for constituency offices as civic hubs and outposts of Parliament, rather than service centres.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, casework, constituency, events, Member of Parliament, public consultation

Published: July 25, 2018
Flip the Script

Flip the Script: Reclaiming the legislature to reinvigorate representative democracy

How to make Parliament effective again at its essential responsibilities of scrutiny, debate, committee work, and legislation.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, committee, debate, Member of Parliament, party leader, Private Members' Business, scrutiny

Published: June 11, 2018
Who's The Boss?

Who's the Boss? Canadians' views on their democracy

How Canadians evaluate the performance of their elected representatives—based on our 2014 Citizen Survey.

Keywords: Member of Parliament, canadian politics, democracy, Parliament

Published: 2014
Occupiers and Legislators

Occupiers and Legislators: A snapshot of political media coverage

An analysis of national media coverage of grassroots politics versus institutional politics.

Keywords: media coverage, news, game frame, legislation, Occupy protest, long-gun registry, Wheat Board

Published: June 2012
The Outsiders' Manifesto

The Outsiders' Manifesto: Surviving and thriving as a Member of Parliament

Lessons from former MPs for a healthier political life and better representation.

Keywords: Member of Parliament, political life, politics, Parliament

Published: September 14, 2011
It's My Party

"It's My Party:" Parliamentary dysfunction reconsidered

Stories of party dominance and micromanagement, which get in the way of effective democratic representation.

Keywords: Parliament, Member of Parliament, political life

Published: April 18, 2011
Welcome to Parliament

Welcome to Parliament: A job with no description

The chaotic, unsupported process of becoming a parliamentarian, and the confusion it creates.

Keywords: Parliament, Member of Parliament, political life

Published: November 30, 2010
The Accidental Citizen

The Accidental Citizen

Former MPs describe their unexpected paths into public life.

Keywords: Member of Parliament, politics, political life

Published: June 2010



Political Parties


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Party Favours: How federal election candidates are chosen

Pries open the “black box” of nomination contests in Canada to examine how political parties select candidates.

Keywords: political party, federal election, nomination contest, grassroots democracy, transparency

Published: July 17, 2019
The Real House Lives

The Real House Lives: Strengthening the role of MPs in an age of partisanship

A peek behind the curtain into the hidden world of leader-dominated, hyper-partisan party caucuses.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, caucus, local party, Member of Parliament, partisanship, party leader

Published: October 31, 2018
Local (?) Politics Online

Local (?) Politics Online

An academic article examining how Canadian politics work online.

Keywords: politics online, Member of Parliament, Parliament, politics

Published: May 29, 2014

Expand to see more Political Parties



By Invitation Only

By Invitation Only: Canadians' perceptions of political parties

An exploration of Canadians’ perceptions of political parties from a new angle—what Canadians think parties should be doing, and how well they are performing those roles.

Keywords: political parties, politics, Parliament, Canadian politics

Published: February 18, 2014

How Parties Mobilize Youth

How Parties Mobilize Youth

A review of party youth engagement in Canada and other countries, commissioned by Elections Canada.

Keywords: parties, political parties, youth engagement, elections

Published: January 2013

It's My Party

"It's My Party:" Parliamentary dysfunction reconsidered

Stories of party dominance and micromanagement, which get in the way of effective democratic representation.

Keywords: 41st Parliament, Member of Parliament, political life

Published: April 18, 2011



Active Citizenship

Temperature Check

Temperature Check: Canadian democratic attitudes in a pandemic

Reveals how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered Canadians’ views toward their democratic system, public institutions, political leaders, and fellow citizens.

Keywords: democracy, pandemic, populism, public opinion, satisfaction, trust

Published: October 28, 2020

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The Samara Centre's Field Guide to Online Political Conversations

Explores how citizens can improve the state of our digital discourse and learn to disagree better.

Keywords: social media, online conversations, politics online, civility

Published: September 19, 2019

Investing in Canadians' Civic Literacy

Investing in Canadians' Civic Literacy: An answer to fake news and disinformation

What civic literacy is, why it matters, and how we can foster a more civically literate public.

Keywords: civic literacy, civic education, politics, education

Published: January 30, 2019

Expand to see more Active Citizenship



Lightweights?

Lightweights? Political participation beyond the ballot box

A look at all the ways that Canadians participate in politics, aside from voting—based on our 2013 Citizen Survey.

Keywords: civic literacy, political participation, citizenship, politics

Published: 2013

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation or Just Lost? Canadians' priorities in the House of Commons

Examining the extent to which Canadians' priorities are reflected in the House of Commons, comparing data on public opinion and parliamentary activity.

Keywords: Parliament, Member of Parliamente, representation, politics

Published: February 2013

Who's The Boss?

Who's the Boss? Canadians' views on their democracy

How Canadians evaluate the performance of their elected representatives—based on our 2014 Citizen Survey.

Keywords: Member of Parliament, Canadian politics, democracy

Published: December 2012
Occupiers and Legislators

Occupiers and Legislators: A snapshot of political media coverage

An analysis of national media coverage of grassroots politics versus institutional politics.

Keywords: media coverage, news, game frame, legislation, Occupy protest, long-gun registry, Wheat Board

Published: June 2012
The Real Outsiders

The Real Outsiders: Politically disengaged views on politics and democracy 

Why Canadians are turning away from politics—an exploration of disengagement based on focus groups with citizens across the country.

Keywords: disengagement, civic literacy, polarization, politics

Published: December 7, 2011



Youth Engagement

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You Have Our Attention: Youth political engagement in Canada

Drawing comparisons to older generations, this report offers a snapshot of youth political engagement in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election.

Keywords: youth and politics, engaging youth, politics, youth engagement, youth voters, youth vote

Published: August 21, 2019

Engaging Youth Between Elections

Engaging Youth Between Election: A guide and report on local youth councils

Offering practical advice and insight into local youth councils or advisory boards—an increasingly popular practice by Members of Parliament to involve young people in politics.

Keywords: youth councils, youth and politics, engaging youth, politics, youth engagement

Published: March 29, 2018

Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now? Young people and the 2015 federal election

How different generations of Canadians experienced the 2015 federal election—based on a unique post-election survey.

Keywords: elections, politics, canadian politics, voting

Published: October 19, 2016

Expand to see more Youth Engagement


 
Message Not Delivered

Message Not Delivered: The myth of apathetic youth and the importance of contact in political participation

Busting the myth of apathetic youth, this report compares levels of political participation and contact across three age groups.

Keywords: politics, youth engagement, engaging youth, youth and politics

Published: September 8, 2015

How Parties Mobilize Youth

How Parties Mobilize Youth

A review of party youth engagement in Canada and other countries, commissioned by Elections Canada.

Keywords: parties, political parties, youth engagement, elections

Published: January 2013



Elections

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What To Expect When You're Electing

This non-partisan explainer series focuses on Canada's federal elections by answering FAQs, busting common myths, and supporting healthy political conversations.

Keywords: elections, Parliament, civic literacy, engaging citizens

Published: September 4, 2019

2018 Ontario Election Infographic

2018 Ontario Election Infographic

How Ontario ranks against other provinces in political participation, and why our provincial democracies matter.

Keywords: provincial government, political engagement, voter turnout, interest in politics

Published: May 19, 2018

What We Talk About When We Talk About Electoral Reform

What We Talk About When We Talk About Electoral Reform

A clear, balanced review of five possible electoral systems for Canada, to help citizens develop their own informed opinions on electoral reform.

Keywords: electoral reform, first past the post, alternative vote, proportional representation, single transferable vote

Published: August 26, 2016

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Latest Commentary

 

Expert Testimony


 

Data for Download

By freely sharing this data, we hope that others will be able to explore, discover, and advance our collective knowledge of Canadians' relationship to politics and democracy. 

Research that employs this data must acknowledge the Samara Centre for Democracy as a source.

If you have any questions regarding this data, please email Mike Morden at [email protected]


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