November 30, 2011

Democracy’s great. It’s the politics I hate…

By Wayne Chu
At least, that’s what people across the country have been telling us. In recent years, we have seen voter turnout fall to historic lows, and the number of people involved in political activities of all kinds is decreasing. Given this problem, we wanted to know: Why are people disengaging from politics? There are lots of reasons out there, but we wanted to get some answers to this question... [More]

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November 29, 2011

MissRepresentation and the portrayal of female politicians in the media

By Fiona O'Connor
For today's 5-minute review, Samara's Jane Hilderman writes about a new documentary, MissRepresentation. What is it?MissRepresentation is a new documentary released in 2011 that looks at the connection between how the American media portrays women and American women’s underrepresentation among ranks of elected representatives and other leadership positions. The documentary is created by G... [More]

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November 26, 2011

The Friday Review: "Abysmal youth vote prompts call for a remedial strategy "

By Fiona O'Connor
Elections Canada released the results from its National Youth Survey yesterday and, unsurprisingly, they point to a persistent and grave crisis in confidence in electoral politics among young Canadians. As Gloria Galloway writes in today’s Globe and Mail, “the voter participation rate of people between the ages of 18 and 24 rose from 37.4 per cent in 2008 to an only slightly less abys... [More]

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November 22, 2011

The Digital House revisited: "Bootstrapping" parliamentary e-democracy

By Fiona O'Connor
Today guest blogger Kirk Zurell responds to a series recently featured on the Samara blog that explored the possibility of creating a fourth institution of parliament, or "Digital House." Zurell is a technical communicator and computing professional based in Waterloo, Ontario. Mark Dance proposes adapting the road tested “user-driven curation” model for a digital legislative house, l... [More]

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November 21, 2011

Bridging the gap: diversity in municipal politics and beyond

By Fiona O'Connor
In a recent post on the Samara blog we highlighted the point made by public affairs consultant Robin Sears that riding associations offer a key point of entry for citizens to not only get involved in the political process, but to ultimately exercise power within it. Speaking as a panellist at the DiverseCity Post-Election Update, held Tuesday November 8th, Sears acknowledged that while several &l... [More]

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November 18, 2011

The Friday Review: "Should Voting be Mandatory?"

By Wayne Chu
"Should we make voting mandatory?" asks a political debate going on in the New York Times.  It's a fascinating discussion from a varied group of people, including Lisa Hill, a political scientist from the University of Adelaide.  Australia is, of course, the most often cited example of where voting is mandatory (though there are other countries that require voting as well). She argues t... [More]

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November 16, 2011

Samara’s Book Shelf: "The Legislative Legacy of Congressional Campaigns"

By Fiona O'Connor
We recently blogged about the different ways people can get involved with Samara, and mentioned the opportunity to contribute book and movie reviews to our blog. For more information on this, you can check out the "5-minute review" guidelines on our website. You can also draw inspiration from this fine example from Samara's Jane Hilderman: What is it? Title: The Legislative Legacy of Congressio... [More]

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November 15, 2011

Political Outsiders: Samara on The Agenda with Steve Paikin

By Alison Loat
  Last week, The Agenda's Steve Paikin interviewed me on the findings of our fourth and final MP exit interview report, "The Outsiders' Manifesto," which summarizes the MPs' advice and recommendations. It's always a privilege to appear on The Agenda, as they always allows enough time for in-depth conversation. Of course, as soon as the interview ended I realized I forgot to highlight that... [More]

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November 11, 2011

The Friday Review: "The Scottish Player" by Jonathan Graham

By Fiona O'Connor
In addition to keeping readers up to date on our program activities, we at Samara thought we’d start sharing some of the writing, reporting and internet ephemera that pique our team members’ interest from week to week. Friday seems a better day than any to kick off this new feature of our blog, and so today, I leave you with my recommendation for a short and compelling read from the De... [More]

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November 9, 2011

Participation in Parliamentary Democracy: Where would you put your money?

By Jane Hilderman
If there is one thing everyone can agree on, Canadians’ declining participation in their political system is a cause for concern. Yet there is much less agreement on the best way forward to increase participation again.  Samara’s guest blogger, Mark Dance, makes the case in a three-part series for new innovation outside of the traditional structure of Parliament. He argues for th... [More]

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November 7, 2011

As Election Season Draws to a Close: A Time for Reflection

By Jane Hilderman
Saskatchewan voters head to the polls today, wrapping up a veritable season of provincial elections: Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador - not to mention the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Alberta, with a Progressive Conservative party ballot, could almost be counted among the company, too. As the dust settles, what can we learn? The November issue of Policy Optio... [More]

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November 4, 2011

Volunteering at Samara

By Fiona O'Connor
It’s been a busy fall here at Samara headquarters, one marked by a number of exciting changes and accomplishments. Perhaps most notable - in addition to releasing our final and most extensive instalment of the MP exit interview project - is that since September, we've gained 3 new staff members, bringing the Samara team to a total of 8. Despite our relative growth, Samara remains a small or... [More]

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