New Report: Representation in Isolation

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Happening Now Tuesday, September 22, 2020 View Count = 1666

New Report: Representation in Isolation

With tomorrow’s Throne Speech set to usher in a new parliamentary session, Members of Parliament are still struggling to agree on how the House of Commons should return to work. In a report published this morning, the Samara Centre charts a way forward.

In late spring, as the coronavirus suspended Parliament and sent Members back to their ridings, we surveyed MPs about how the pandemic has affected their jobs, what they thought of the Commons’ emergency response, and which arrangements they would support for the Commons to sit more regularly. One hundred and thirty MPs responded.

The results are captured in "Representation in Isolation: The Samara Centre’s 2020 Member of Parliament Survey."


In the report, we find that:

  • MPs’ roles drastically changed during the first months of the pandemic, as Parliament adjourned and constituency work skyrocketed.
  • MPs have rapidly adopted new digital technologies to stay in touch with their constituents, stakeholders, and colleagues.
  • More than 80% of MPs agreed that the House of Commons must find a way to meet regularly, but most also recognized that business as usual isn’t possible.
  • Two-thirds of MPs agreed that major legislative decisions should be voted on by all Members, rather than the smaller group of MPs who participated in Commons votes in the spring.
  • Nevertheless, there was a deep partisan divide over whether to implement some form of virtual Parliament, with polarization preventing parties from finding a compromise.

The report offers three urgent recommendations to support MPs in their new roles, and to get the work of the Commons back on track quickly.

To find out more about our recommendations, read the full report at And help amplify our findings by sharing the report on social media!



Canada's Democracy Summit

The Samara Centre is excited to be co-presenting a panel at DemocracyXChange, the go-to Summit for Canada’s emerging democracy sector to connect, learn, and share. This year, the Summit will convene virtually in two parts from October 13th to 22nd, bringing together community leaders, scholars, and leading thinkers. Register now and pay what you can!



And the winner is...

As part of our #SamaraReads social media contest, the Samara Centre is giving one lucky winner all five books shortlisted for the 2019 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, presented by the Writers' Trust of Canada.

After hearing about your favourite political books on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, we’re thrilled to announce the winner of our book giveaway: Aerin Jacob from Canmore, Alberta. Congratulations to Aerin and thanks to everyone who participated!

To read excerpts from each of the shortlisted books, head over to

The winner of the 2019 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing will be announced at the Politics and the Pen ceremony in Ottawa tomorrow night.

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