Real House Lives Toronto Book Launch


Please RSVP to attend the official launch of Real House Lives: Former Members of Parliament on How to Reclaim Democratic Leadership, the much-anticipated sequel to the Samara Centre for Democracy's #1 bestselling book Tragedy in the Commons.

Onstage at The Royal Cinema, we will interview past parliamentarians from three of Canada's largest political parties about their experiences in office, explore what’s going wrong with our federal politics, and reflect on what this all means for the 43rd Parliament. We will also put forward a vision for democratic representation that is independent, thoughtful, engaged, and empowered.

Moderated by the Samara Centre's Research Director, Dr. Michael Morden, the panel will include:

  • Peggy Nash, former MP for Parkdale-High Park and former Official Opposition Critic for the NDP in the portfolios of Finance and Industry;
  • Robert-Falcon Ouellette, former MP for Winnipeg Centre and former Chair of the Indigenous Liberal Caucus; and
  • The Honourable Lisa Raitt, former MP for Milton and Halton and former senior Cabinet Minister and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party.

The discussion will be followed by a reception in the lobby, where snacks, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages will be sold. Copies of Real House Lives and Tragedy in the Commons will be available for a suggested donation.

The cinema has five accessible sections. If you would like to reserve a section or require any other accommodations, please email Yvonne at [email protected].

Based on our second round of MP exit interviews, Real House Lives is for anyone who has ever imagined offering their career and life to public service. It’s a how-to guide, an inspirational account, and perhaps a warning. To learn more and to order your copy, visit


About our Speakers


PEGGY NASH is a Public Affiliate with the Ryerson Faculty of Arts where she helped launch a Women in the House program to empower young women to take greater interest in politics. She also guest lectures to other classes at Ryerson on topics related to democratic engagement. Peggy built her career as a senior negotiator for Canada’s largest private sector union, until she was elected as a Member of Parliament with the New Democratic Party in 2006. She has served as Official Opposition Finance Critic and Industry Critic and ran unsuccessfully for the NDP leadership in 2012. She left electoral politics in 2015. Peggy has a long history of international engagement as a speaker, educator, and official election observer. She is also a frequent media commentator on labour relations, women’s equality, and politics.

Peggy holds an Honours Bachelor’s degree in French Language and Literature from the University of Toronto, and a Master’s degree in Politics from York University.


ROBERT-FALCON OUELLETTE is from Red Peasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. He is a dedicated activist and educator. A veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces for 23 years, he served as a company commander in the 5th Field Ambulance. He was a professor at the University of Manitoba. Elected as a Member of Parliament in 2015, Robert obtained unanimous consent to change the Standing Orders of the House of Commons to allow interpretation of Indigenous languages. Serving as Chair of the Indigenous Liberal Caucus, he helped lead change in Child and Family Services and languages legislation as well as advising the Government on changing the large institution of government to advance reconciliation. He was previously a candidate for Mayor of Winnipeg in the 2014 municipal election, finishing third.

Robert holds Master’s degrees in Music and Education and a PhD in Anthropology from Laval University. He is the father of five children.


The Honourable LISA RAITT joined CIBC Capital Markets in January 2020, where her focus is on senior client coverage and business development with clients in the energy, infrastructure, and industrial sectors. Prior to her current role, Lisa was the President and CEO of the Toronto Port Authority. She was elected into the House of Commons in 2008, where she went on to hold three senior portfolios serving as Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Labour, and Minister of Transport. Most recently, Lisa was the Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and the Conservative Party. In 2020, Lisa was named a Woodrow Wilson Center Global Fellow of the Canada Institute.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Francis Xavier University and a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Guelph. She possesses an LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Ontario bar in 1998. 


About the Samara Centre for Democracy


The Samara Centre for Democracy is a national, non-partisan charity dedicated to strengthening Canada’s democracy. The Samara Centre produces innovative, action-oriented research that illuminates the evidence and reforms needed to make Canadian politics more accessible, responsive, and inclusive. Through original engagement programming, we provide active citizens and public leaders with tools and resources designed to engage Canadians in their democracy. To learn more, visit


This event was made possible with the generous support of Bennett Jones and BMO Foundation.


March 10, 2020 at 6:30pm - 9pm
The Royal Cinema
608 College St
Toronto, ON M6G 1B4
Google map and directions

Will you come?