A Canada Day message from our Research Director

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Happening Now Tuesday, June 30, 2020 View Count = 170

A Canada Day message from our Research Director

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The Samara Centre's Research Director, Dr. Mike Morden, wrote this newsletter to our supporters on Canada Day. Catch up on what we've been up to and what we're planning. 


Ours to Fix

This Canada Day, I’ll be sanding and painting in the old house I recently bought with my family. I already love the house, and not because it’s particularly Instagrammable or HGTV-ready. I love it because it’s mine to fix.

I feel the same way about this country, and that’s a version of patriotism we embrace at the Samara Centre. It’s unconditional, which frees us to be as critical as necessary, and to see Canada in all its complexity. We don’t want to overlook the problems in our democracy and society—like systemic racism (laid bare by the Black Lives Matter mobilization), concentrated power, or corrosive polarization. We want to share in the responsibility for finding problems, and fixing them.

Accomplishing that means digging deep, getting under the (metaphorical) spongy taupe carpet, stripping off layers of neglect, addressing the mistakes of previous generations, and ultimately probably making some of our own. This democracy has “good bones,” as real estate agents are fond of saying. But taking ownership of Canadian democracy means committing ourselves to the unending work of maintenance and renovation. That’s citizenship.

Samara in 2020

When the pandemic arrived in March, we felt there was a serious threat that our democratic system would be compromised, and amidst the fear and dislocation, no one would speak up. So we pivoted.

  • Our Democracy Monitor series has evaluated the state of parliamentary democracy in real time, and established new benchmarks for what good democratic conduct looks like in a pandemic.
  • We’re launching a project to mobilize digital technology to connect Canadians and their elected representatives. We will work to replace lost contact and reduce the strain that the pandemic is placing on representation.
  • We’re surveying MPs and other elected leaders to identify the challenges getting in the way of their work as leaders and legislators in this time.

There’s more to come.

Readying for Recovery

This is a hard year. But rebuilding is on the horizon, which makes this a moment for public leadership like none perhaps since the Second World War.

We want to see a broader, deeper, more diverse class of politicians and other public leaders. We want young people to seize their generational moment, and take a leading role in building our post-pandemic country. We want to help prepare Canada’s public leadership surge capacity, by addressing barriers to entry and making the case to Canadians that they have a contribution to make. We will:

  • Continue to pursue greater fairness and openness in how parties nominate candidates.
  • Bring new research on local politicians—their paths to politics, and lives in office.
  • Push for specific institutional changes to empower legislators to be independent and responsive to their communities.

Thank you for your commitment. You can keep helping us reinforce the integrity of our democracy through this crisis, and pour the foundation for a better democracy after it. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Samara Centre this July 1.

Best regards, 

Mike Morden
Research Director

On the Samara BlBlog logo representing the letter 'o'g

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