November 30, 2010

The next MP exit interview report: Welcome to Parliament

By Alison Loat
We are pleased to share with you Welcome to Parliament: A Job With No Description, the second in a series of publications that captures the stories of the MPs who participated in Canada's first-ever series of exit interviews with former Members of Parliament. Following our first report, The Accidental Citizen?, this report documents the widely disparate and often conflicting views the MPs expre... [More]

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November 29, 2010

Should there be a job description for MPs?

By Alison Loat
Welcome to Parliament: A Job With No Description indicated that MPs had varied, and often contradictory, views of the core purpose of an MP. Should there be a job description? If so, how do we decide what it should include?

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November 29, 2010

How can we help MPs be better prepared for Parliament?

By Alison Loat
Welcome to Parliament: A Job With No Description highlighted how the MPs described feeling unprepared for their roles as Parliamentarians, and said they received little or no training or orientation. Can we improve the way newly-elected MPs are prepared for their position? Should we consider a longer transition period after an election?  Should we also consider ongoing executive educatio... [More]

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November 29, 2010

Help us improve

By Alison Loat
We are looking for feedback on how we can better present our MP exit interview material, and ideas on how we can share it with more Canadians. We strive to present this extremely multi-faceted data with you in an accessible, enjoyable and provocative way in order to advance our mission of strengthening Canada's democracy and encouraging others to do the same. Thus far, this has largely been th... [More]

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November 29, 2010

PSA: Our second MP exit interview report will be out on Tuesday

By Alison Loat
Hello friends of Samara. On Tuesday November 30th we'll release the second in a series of publication that share the stories of the MPs who participated in Canada's first ever series of exit interviews with former Members of Parliament. Following our first exit interview report, "The Accidental Citizen?," this report will share how the MPs described the purpose of their job, and how they recalled... [More]

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November 27, 2010

Winner of Guess Who?, volume 10

By Alison Loat
Congratulations to the latest winner of the latest Guess Who contest! Mathieu Babin of Ottawa, ON correctly guessed Halifax MP and NDP party leader Alexa McDonough as the quoted MP (click here to read her quote). Mathieu selected the book The War Room by Warren Kinsella. Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 ... [More]

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November 24, 2010

The kindness of the Twittersphere

By Alison Loat
I had a most pleasant surprise last week.  Earlier this month I was at the Library of Parliament's Teachers' Institute resource fair, where I was among a plethora of government departments with some of the slickest brochures and associated swag I've ever seen.  At our modest Samara table, we had only a computer, a simple brochure and a few copies of our MP report.  Given the worl... [More]

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November 22, 2010

On the road (V) - Ideas Festival

By Alison Loat
This week is Samara's fifth and final road trip (we think) for the fall of 2010.  After last week's jaunt to Ottawa for the Paths to Politics conference, I'll be off to St. Andrew's, NB for Ideas Festival.  Produced by 21 Inc., a New Brunswick-based leadership organization, and the Public Policy Forum, it's an opportunity for Atlantic Canadians, with a few from parts west sprinkled in,... [More]

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November 22, 2010

Guess Who? And win... (vol. 10)

By Alison Loat
Next week we'll release the next in our series of reports from our MP Exit Interviews, which will focus on how MPs transition to Parliament and how they define their jobs.  In honour of the release, and of the tenth edition of Samara's bi-weekly "Guess Who?" contest, we'll preview a comment from one of the MPs quoted in the report. Guess which of the 65 participating MPs spoke ... [More]

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November 20, 2010

Keith Martin's parting words: "Parliament must be a partner in dealing with the big challenges that face our people"

By Alison Loat
It's no secret I'm a fan of the exit interview in politics - it's a great way to get an honest take on the state of things and what can be done differently. And what a fabulous exit interview, of sorts, Dr. Keith Martin had with CBC Radio's Anna Maria Tremonti last week. Martin is concerned, and thoughtfully-so, about the erosion of Parliament since he was first elected 17 years ago, in 1993... [More]

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November 19, 2010

On the road (IV) - Paths to Parliament

By Alison Loat
I'll be in Ottawa this Friday, November 19, speaking at a conference examining routes to elected office in Canada, hosted by the Canadian Study of Parliament Group.  I'm on the second panel with two political scientists, Bill Cross and David Docherty.  Both were terrificly helpful to us in getting our exit interview project off the ground and I'm looking forward to speaking with them. I... [More]

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November 17, 2010

"Technology is a trap to get us focused on entirely the wrong thing"

By Alison Loat
Last night the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) hosted Mark Lukasiewicz, the vice president of NBC News Specials and Digital Media, who was in Toronto talking about the future of broadcast news. A former CBCer, Lukasiewicz worked at the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail before decamping to the U.S., where he's held a bunch of important positions in journalism. Lukasiewicz was "optimistic ... [More]

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November 16, 2010

What's next for broadcast news? (and come to Samara!)

By Alison Loat
Tonight, Tuesday November 16, we're hosting a reception at Samara after the Canadian Journalism Foundation's event with Mark Lukasiewicz, the vice president of NBC News Specials and Digital Media. A former CBCer, Mark also worked at the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail before decamping to the U.S., where he's held a whole bunch of important positions in journalism. Mark, who recently coordinat... [More]

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November 15, 2010

Winner of Guess Who?, volume 9

By Alison Loat
Congratulations to the latest winner of the latest Guess Who contest! Dave Abbey of Regina, SK correctly guessed Rat-Packer MP and cabinet minister Don Boudria as the quoted MP (click here to read his quote). Dave selected Marci MacDonald's "The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada." ** Regular visitors know that our Guess Who? contest runs every other Monday, so our... [More]

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November 12, 2010

Samara advisory board member wins award at the G20

By Alison Loat
In the ongoing "our advisory board rocks" series, we're delighted to share the news that Peace Dividend Trust, an NGO that works to making peace and humanitarian operations more effective, efficient and equitable founded by Samara advisory board member Scott Gilmore, won the G20 SME Finance Challenge and a Changemakers' "people's choice award" in Seoul, Korea.  Scott received the award from... [More]

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November 7, 2010

Guess Who? And win... (vol. 9)

By Alison Loat
Today is the ninth edition of Samara's bi-weekly "Guess Who?" contest, where we reveal a quote from one of our MP exit interviews. Guess which of the 65 participating MPs spoke the words below before noon EST on Thursday November 11th. We'll randomly choose one winner from among the correct guesses, and send him or her a book of their choosing from the list of the ... [More]

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November 3, 2010

Government, not politics: A new model for political journalism? (part II)

By Grant Burns
Courtesy thelastminute via flikr NB. This is the second part of a two-part post on new models for political journalism. In my last post, I highlighted how Bloomberg Government (BG), a subscription-based news service that will offer a more in-depth coverage of policy and politics in Washington, D.C., could have a transformative influence on political journalism in Washington.  According t... [More]

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November 3, 2010

The next gen

By Alison Loat
As a charitable organization, education is at the heart of Samara's mission.  As we said in our recent speech to school leaders from across Canada, imperative to strengthening our democracy is helping people understand how it works, and when it doesn't, or when politicians don't act like we think we'd like them to, why that is.  Our upcoming reports will get explore this in greater deta... [More]

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November 2, 2010

Winner of Guess Who?, volume 8

By Alison Loat
Congratulations to the latest winner of the latest Guess Who contest! Erin Tolley of Ottawa, ON correctly guessed Newfoundland MP and cabinet minister Loyola Hearn as the quoted MP (click here to read his quote). Erin selected Tom Flanigan's "Harper's Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power." ** Regular visitors know that our Guess Who? contest runs every other Monday, so our ... [More]

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