The Samara Centre's Campaign to Strengthen Democracy During #Elxn43

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Happening Now Tuesday, November 05, 2019 View Count = 1240

The Samara Centre's Campaign to Strengthen Democracy During #Elxn43

At the Samara Centre for Democracy, our mission is to strengthen Canadian democracy. And so, with a federal election in 2019, our team had three goals in mind:  
  • Active citizens who are resilient in the face of misinformation, political incivility, and polarization, which all drive disengagement;
  • Public leaders who are independent, empowered, thoughtful, and engaged; and
  • Political institutions and parties that are transparent, open, and responsible to the public.

Working towards these goals during the election, the Samara Centre...

Campaigned for a Stronger Democracy

We urged political parties and leaders to commit to immediate, concrete change to improve the way our democracy works through our Stronger Democracy Platform, putting forward nine actions that are practical and simple, and can be accomplished within the first year of a new Parliament.

We’ll be watching to see if parties and leaders pick up any of these or other ideas.

The platform received praise from civil society leaders, and was featured in The Hill Times and Policy Options.

Supported Constructive Online Conversations

Elections often spark difficult conversations, and many of these discussions now take place on social media. That is why we shared research-based advice on how to have more constructive and civil discussions online in our Field Guide to Online Political Conversations. The Field Guide was brought to life in colourfully illustrated infographics that have already received over 300,000 impressions and 100,000 engagements on our social media channels.

This research and advice was featured in The Walrus, CTV News, and episode 10 of the podcast Attention Control.

This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada.

Field Guide

Explained and Demystified Federal Elections

Breaking through the noise and confusion generated by the election, we helped Canadians navigate the process with our What to Expect When You're Electing series. These weekly explainers busted popular myths, answered commonly asked questions, and promoted healthy political dialogue, all in a clear and non-partisan manner. (We were able to provide this thanks to our amazing donors!)

We also covered the series in our first-ever podcast!

Combatted Misinformation, Polarization, and Disengagement

In partnership with The Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, we developed digital citizenship workshops and resources for youth to learn how to critically assess online reporting and digital media. Let’s Talk Digital, a non-partisan initiative to help young people avoid online manipulation and create a healthy information ecosystem, is being run in 40 clubs across nine provinces.

This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada.

Let's Talk Digital

Explored Candidate Diversity and the New Face of Parliament

We collaborated with The Hill Times and researchers Jerome Black and Andrew Griffith to complete demographic profiles of the the 1,740 candidates from all six major parties. This data formed the basis of several news stories exploring how well the people seeking public office reflect the makeup of our country, and highlighting barriers that lead certain groups to be excluded from our political system.

Media coverage included:

Thank you to the 35 Samara volunteers who contributed to this research!

Acted as a Trusted Voice on Democracy and Elections

As an educational charity, we also contributed to the election by serving as a trusted, non-partisan voice on issues related to how democracy works and how to make it better. We were glad to offer insights on a wide range of topics in media outlets across the country.

Over the course of the election, we shed light on:

Media Coverage

...But this Work isn’t Over!

While the election was an important national moment, the work of strengthening Canada’s democracy isn’t over.

In the next few weeks, we’re putting pressure on MPs to vote to adopt the Reform Act at their first caucus meetings—something that will rebalance power in Parliament from the leaders towards your newly elected representatives. We’re writing to the Deans of Caucus to remind them that this is the law (after the last federal election, a few parties failed to take the votes).

Send a message to your MP encouraging them to restore their independence by voting to adopt the powers afforded to them in the Reform Act.

Did you know many of these projects were only made possible with the support of individual donors? 
If you agree that Canadian democracy also requires our attention outside of election periods, please consider donating to the Samara Centre today.

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