June 30, 2011

Political Books contest voting opens today

By Kendall Anderson
This Canada Day, pick up one of these great political books! Samara, in association with the Writers' Trust of Canada, has pulled together nominations from Canadians for the Best Canadian Political Books of the Last 25 Years. The list has been narrowed down to twelve books that offer something for every reader: biography, history, policy making and even fiction! Classics from 1986 like One-E... [More]

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June 29, 2011

CanLit survey: which Canadian author would you invite to a BBQ?

By Kyle Crawford
Today, the Historica-Dominion Institute released the results of a survey that asked over 1,000 Canadians a variety of questions about Canadian literature. Here are some of the most interesting results:   Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat and Margaret Atwood were the most popular responses when those polled were asked who they would want to invite to a fantasy Canada Day BBQ.  76% said... [More]

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June 29, 2011

Professional MPs Overseeing a House of Amateurs

By Kyle Crawford
Political commentators often note that Canada lacks a professional political class, and several have recently observed that Canada's Parliament is downright "amateur" compared to those in many other countries. An analysis of the pre-parliamentary jobs held by the recently elected members of Parliament suggests this is the case: Only 20 per cent of MPs held a political job before being e... [More]

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June 27, 2011

Guess Who? volume 20

By Andreas Krebs
With a marathon filibuster ending in the House on the weekend, we thought we would bring you a debate-themed Guess Who? contest this week. Of course the filibustering looked a little different than the way this MP described debate in the House... This week's quote comes a Newfoundland MP who served as the first House Leader of the Conservative Part of Canada in 2004. Guess which of the 65 parti... [More]

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June 25, 2011

"Politics might be a great game for participants, but not for spectators"

By Alison Loat
It'll come as no surprise that we're pretty big fans of The House, CBC Radio's weekly politics show. After five years hosting the show, its host Kathleen Petty is returning to her hometown of Calgary to host their morning show, The Eyeopener. Her parting remarks, roughly excerpted here, are a must-listen for anyone who cares about politics, policy and the quality of Canada's public life. She's th... [More]

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June 24, 2011

Brain Candy, Journalism Edition

By Kyle Crawford
An accumulation of some interesting things from the world of journalism: 1. Jose Vargas: Pullitzer Prize-winning, Washington Post Journalist, Jose Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times this week. In his piece, Vargas explains how he evaded the law and worked as an undocumented immigrant in the United States. Vargas won a Pullitzer in 2007 for ... [More]

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June 23, 2011

And what of the official opposition?

By Kendall Anderson
Remember today is the last day to nominate books for the best Canadian political writing of the last twenty-five years.  *** If history is written by the victors, (or to mangle the phrase, about the victors) the NDP had better get writing. Samara and the Writers’ Trust are collecting nominations for the best political books of the last twenty-five years and those about th... [More]

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June 22, 2011

A lack of engineers in politics

By Mark Taylor
Today we bring you a post by Mark Taylor a professional engineer from Calgary who has been involved with politics for over 20 years. Following our post on the pre-Parliamentary careers of MPs Mark did some more digging into the lack of engineers in Canadian politics. ***** Full disclosure… I’m an engineer and a former partisan political hack.  Be it despite my backgro... [More]

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June 20, 2011

Professors of Parliament

By Kyle Crawford
Last week we took a look at the pre-Parliamentary careers of MPs and one of our readers wanted a more detailed breakdown of the number of MPs who were professors before coming to Parliament. We've broken down the number of professors by province and by party, so take a look and let us know what you think. As always, keep the questions and comments coming! Just to put things in context,... [More]

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June 20, 2011

Winner of Guess Who? volume 19

By Andreas Krebs
Congratulations to the latest winner of the Guess Who? contest! Stephanie Feldman of Ottawa, Ontario correctly guessed the Honourable Eleni Bakopanos, the first woman born in Greece to be elected as an MP (click here to read his quote). As her prize for the correct guess, Stephanie chose The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis from our list of Best Political Writing. *** Re... [More]

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June 17, 2011

Introducing the stellar team of Academic Advisors

By Heather Bastedo
Yes, we’re bragging. But that’s because Samara is very proud to have assembled a dynamite team of more than 20 academics from across Canada and internationally to support the Canadian Democracy Index. Under the academic direction of Elisabeth Gidengil and Christopher Waddell, the team kicked off their first meeting in May, and is now beginning preliminary work to measure the health of ... [More]

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June 17, 2011

Tim Cook's best political books of the last 25 years

By Kendall Anderson
Samara and the Writers' Trust of Canada are partnering to bring you the Best Canadian Political Books of the Last 25 Years. We're asking for nominations and we'll be compiling a shortlist to be announced July 1st in time for Canada Day. Nominate your picks here by midnight on June 23rd. One of our nominators is Tim Cook, a curator at the Canadian War Museum as well as an adjunct pr... [More]

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June 15, 2011

John English's Best Political Books of the Last 25 Years

By Kendall Anderson
Samara and the Writers' Trust of Canada are partnering to bring you the Best Canadian Political Books of the Last 25 Years. We're asking for nominations and we'll be compiling a shortlist to be announced July 1st in time for Canada Day. Nominate your picks here by midnight on June 23rd. One of our nominators is John English, who is the author of the acclaimed two-volume bio... [More]

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June 14, 2011

How career choices colour party affiliation

By Kyle Crawford
Updated June 16th. Over the last few weeks, we've compiled and crunched the data on Canada's newest MPs as part of a series on helping Canadians better understand the men and women who make up our 41st Parliament. **** Today, we look at the MPs' pre-Parliamentary careers. Strikingly, each of Canada's political parties has a unique makeup of pre-Parliamentary careers. Conservative MPs come mainl... [More]

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June 14, 2011

Wordcloud: MPs' pre-parliamentary careers

By Kyle Crawford
Words most commonly used to describe MPs' pre-Parliamentary careers. Data from the Library of Parliament.

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June 13, 2011

Rundown of Samara at Govcamp

By Kyle Crawford
Last week, Samara's Andreas Krebs facilitated a workshop at Govcamp, an "un-conference" organized by Mark Kuznicki. Govcamp is a mashup of open data and government, examining ways that government processes and information can be made most accessible to citizens, and how that will improve democracy in Canada. Our session explored how web-based technology can streamline communications between elect... [More]

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June 11, 2011

Guess Who? volume 19

By Andreas Krebs
The next MP exit interview report--due out in July, for all of you who have been holding your breath--has a lot to do with how the MPs survived Ottawa, their recommendations for other MPs, and their success stories. So we thought we would bring you a Guess Who? contest this week that focused on survival of the MPs. Survival was a common theme during the interviews, both in terms of electoral victo... [More]

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June 9, 2011

Spotlight on New MPs: A day in the life of new MP Ted Hsu

By Janet Rodriguez
Samara's excellent team of volunteers have been busy compiling information on the new crop of MPs. Today we're posting another in a series of blogs by Janet Rodriguez detailing the personal lives of these newly elected MPs.  Janet is a is a translator, interpreter, and host of "Sin Barrerras" ("Without Barriers") on Toronto's CHHA 1610 AM. ***** For many, this would be a simple story, but ... [More]

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June 7, 2011

Samara at Govcamp 2011

By Andreas Krebs
Tomorrow, Andreas Krebs of Samara will be facilitating a workshop at Govcamp, an "un-conference" organized by Mark Kuznicki. Participant will be looking at how open government can be implemented at federal, provincial, and municipal levels. Basically, Govcamp is a mashup of open data and government, examining ways that government processes and information can be made most accessible to citizens, a... [More]

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June 6, 2011

Diversity in the 41st Parliament, Part 2

By Kyle Crawford
Last week we explored the diversity of the 41st Parliament by examining the number of visible minorities in Canada's political parties. We found that the NDP had the highest proportion of visible minorities with 13.6%, the CPC was next with 7.2% and among the three largest parties the Liberals followed with 5.9%. But this is just one way of looking at diversity. Today we're going to explore the di... [More]

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