October 28, 2011

On young people and public policy (II)

By Alison Loat
In my previous post I introduced Canada25, an organization that facilitated the participation of thousands of young Canadians in public policy between 2000-2007. As I wrote in that post, I now see Canada25 as a precursor to what the internet now enables: a much larger articulation of citizens' desire to be involved in their communities and their countries.  Canada25 existed to help organ... [More]

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October 27, 2011

On young people and public policy (I)

By Alison Loat
Last week I was invited to speak to a group of public engagement professionals who work for the Canadian government. They were interested in some of the work I've contributed to that's helped facilitate people's involvement in public service and public policy over the years, and what I've learned about the state of citizen engagement in our public life today. Watchers of this space (we hope!) h... [More]

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October 24, 2011

Politics in the classroom

By Fiona O'Connor
In The Outsiders’ Manifesto, the last in our series of MP exit interview reports, we highlighted a number of recommendations made by former MPs on how to repair the growing disconnect between citizens and their elected representatives. Among them was the need to improve civics education in schools so that young Canadians could become better informed and - as the argument goes - more engaged ... [More]

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October 20, 2011

A W5 Wishlist: Your vote on journalism's top movers and shakers

By Fiona O'Connor
For the past two years, Samara has had the honour of bringing some of journalism’s leading innovators to Toronto through its partnership with the Massey College Canadian Journalism Fellowship. This year, we’re teamed up with a dynamic roster of journalists who bring a range of experiences and perspectives to the table. The Massey-Samara seminar series is founded on the belief that pub... [More]

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October 17, 2011

Citizens have "absorbed the lesson that they can’t effect change”

By Alison Loat
In Saturday's Globe and Mail, John Ibbitson explored the state of voter engagement in the wake of dropping turnout in the various provincial and territorial elections this fall. The article includes a short preview of our upcoming project, a series of focus groups with Canadians who are not interested in politics.  The results will be released in late November, but as we note in the article,... [More]

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October 13, 2011

Friends in Niagara, save the date: Alison Loat to speak at Ridley College Oct.18th

By Fiona O'Connor
For anyone in the Niagara region who may be interested, on Tuesday October 18th Samara executive director Alison Loat will be in St. Catharines to give a talk entitled “Our Accidental Politics: What Former MPs Tell Us About Canadian Democracy.” Part of the MGI-Gordon Distinguished Speakers Series at Ridley College, the event is free and open to the public. In it Alison will explore som... [More]

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October 12, 2011

Civility in the House and on the Campaign Trail

By Fiona O'Connor
As Mia Rabson writes in today’s Winnipeg Free Press, all three provincial elections completed this fall have been “marred with overwhelming levels of negative advertising and political attacks.” While negative campaigning is just one factor influencing voter turnout rates and levels of civic engagement in Canada, Samara guest blogger Anne Murray tells us about several initia... [More]

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October 5, 2011

Parliament 2.0: following the arrow of history

By Fiona O'Connor
Concluding his three-part series on the theme of the "digital commons," guest blogger Mark Dance discusses how a look at parliament's history may hold the key to its future success. "We have to go out and engage in a truly open way and take a bit of a risk. I guess that’s what’s underlying a lot of this: you don’t know what the kids are going to come up with but you ha... [More]

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October 4, 2011

Ballot Box Blues

By Jane Hilderman
My prediction: Representative democracy is not going anywhere soon. However, Nicholas Kulish, writing in the New York Times last week about the surging protests around the world (England, Greece, Spain, India, Israel and most recently, New York’s Wall Street), is not so sure. He suggests that such protests reflect a shared crisis of legitimacy for both politician and the democratic politica... [More]

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