About The Decibel
Context is everything. Join us Monday to Friday for a Canadian daily news podcast from The Globe and Mail. Explore a story shaping our world, in conversation with reporters, experts, and the people at the centre of the news.
Allegations of academic misconduct at Canadian universities have risen sharply in the 2020 to 2021 school year as more and more students turn to hiring people to complete assignments and tests for them. The consequences for the student are clear: a permanent blemish on their academic careers and possible impact on their job prospects if they are caught. But the wider trend is also a concern for Canadian universities as a whole, as their brand depends on maintaining academic integrity. Post-secondary education reporter Joe Friesen explains. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Globe and Mail has been reporting extensively on China’s interference in Canadian elections. This information came to light, in part, because of a whistleblower who wrote an Opinion piece in The Globe this weekend. The Globe rarely publishes Opinion pieces by confidential sources. Today, David Walmsley, The Globe’s Editor in Chief, explains why he decided to publish this piece, and how he feels it contributes to the broader conversation of China’s interference in Canada. And, you’ll hear the entire piece from the whistleblower, in their own words. Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at email@example.com
As revelations about China’s interference continue, so do calls for a foreign agent registry. The U.S. and Australia have registries like this, where anyone acting on behalf of a foreign entity has to disclose it. But the idea has its detractors. David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, has been advocating for a foreign agent registry for years. He explains how it might work in Canada, why it’s controversial and how the registry could slow China’s interference campaign in Canada. Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oversized pucks clanging as they’re shot across the ice, the constant tapping of hockey sticks as players weave through oversized pylons. These are some of the sights and sounds of blind hockey. Canadian Blind Hockey began in 2009 and now has 14 programs across the country. Canada’s winter game adapted for the visually impaired is an auditory experience and so The Decibel hit the ice to find out more about it. The Globe’s sports reporter, Rachel Brady and Decibel producer Sherrill Sutherland laced up their skates and joined a youth Canadian Blind Hockey program to hear from parents, players and coaches. Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at email@example.com
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank came swiftly after a panicked run on deposits. Despite the U.S. government enacting safeguards, there is anxiety in the markets wondering which bank might fall next. But how safe are Canadian banks? Report on Business columnist Tim Kiladze is on the show to explain the fallout and what Canadian regulations are in place to try and contain it. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the Bank of Canada started hiking its benchmark interest rate just over a year ago, there’s a growing number of mortgage-holders with monthly payments that no longer cover the principal or even the interest portion of their loan. Rachelle Younglai covers real estate for The Globe and she recently reported that at CIBC, 20 per cent of mortgage-holders are seeing their loan balances grow instead of shrink. This represents $52-billion worth of mortgages. CIBC isn’t the only bank in this situation but it’s the only one that’s disclosing this information. Rachelle is on the show to explain why this might be a cause for concern and what mortgage-holders should be thinking about. Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at email@example.com
We often think of health as an individual action – drink more water, exercise, eat well. During the pandemic, we thought more about the health of people around us as well – with social distancing, masking and vaccinations. But there’s a lot more that goes into our health. Today, we’re talking to the Globe’s health reporter Wency Leung about why it’s so important to expand our understanding of health beyond our bodies. Then we talk to Indigenous psychologist Dr. Rod McCormick about how he helps people connect with communities and nature to find healing. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Could the rising price of groceries be chalked up to corporate greed? That was the question at a House of Commons committee last week when the executives of Canada’s three biggest grocers testified. Loblaw Cos. Ltd. president Galen Weston, CEO of Empire Co. Michael Medline and CEO of Metro Inc. Eric La Flèche all refuted claims that they were gouging customers under the guise of inflation. Food economist Michael von Massow says blaming Canada’s big grocers doesn’t explain the complex web of factors that have led to sustained food inflation. He helps untangle exactly what’s behind the rise, how much ‘greedflation’ is a part of it and how Canada could make things easier for consumers. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at email@example.com
Netflix is facing a backlash after announcing it’s cracking down on password sharing in Canada, among other countries. The company says 100 million of its customers worldwide share passwords, which Netflix claims is cutting into its revenue. Kean Birch, director of the Institute for Technoscience and Society at York University, says that Netflix’s business model was bound to run into problems like this, as competition from other streaming services pulls content off the platform and draws users away. But will it work? Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
British Columbia revealed its 2023 budget on Feb. 28. It introduced a host of new spending measures including a first in Canada: A plan to make contraception universally available in the province free of charge. Globe health reporter, Carly Weeks explains why reproductive health experts are celebrating the move and what this could mean for funding contraception in the rest of the country. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at email@example.com
After weeks of resisting pressure from all sides, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ordered two probes into Chinese election interference. This follows The Globe and Mail reporting on secret and top secret CSIS documents alleging a sophisticated strategy by China to disrupt the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. But criticism is still mounting on Trudeau around how transparent and public these probes will actually be. The Globe’s Ottawa bureau chief Bob Fife is back to tell us why Trudeau is changing his stance and how likely these probes are to shed light on the extent of China’s interference. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The ground and water near Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in northern Alberta has become a toxic mess. A nearby oil sands site, run by Imperial Oil, has leaked industrial waste into the hunting and fishing grounds of the Indigenous community. But the First Nation alleges Imperial Oil and the provincial regulators tasked with keeping the companies in line, hid the seriousness of the leak. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is only now learning of how badly their food and water could be contaminated. Energy reporter Emma Graney talks about who knew what when and how this major oil leak is destroying any trust between the public, regulators and oil sands companies. Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at email@example.com
Right now, one in 25 Canadians who use Google can’t find some news sites through its search bar. That’s because the tech giant has purposely blocked these searches in response to legislation put forward by the federal government. The Globe’s Deputy Ottawa bureau chief Bill Curry is on the show to explain the bill taking the fight to Google and other big tech companies and what the government is trying to accomplish with this legislation. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For years, a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis has often meant an early death for patients. This week, Cystic Fibrosis Canada released its annual data report this week for 2021. A new drug, Trikafta, is keeping patients out of hospitals and off of transplant lists. The Globe’s health reporter Kelly Grant explains why doctors are now talking about cystic fibrosis as a disease in transition and the hope of a new future for thousands of patients. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at email@example.com
Canada has a high rate of police killings compared to similar countries like England, Germany and Japan. Officers are rarely charged when they kill someone, and they don’t even have to participate in the investigations into their conduct. The Globe’s Nancy Macdonald spent months looking into hundreds of investigations into police officers, how often officers co-operate and the consequences of their silence. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
On February 8, Indigo’s website went down and customers couldn’t buy products in-store either. After scrambling to launch a new website with limited e-commerce abilities, the company announced a major breach of personal and financial information of employees. The Globe and Mail’s technology reporter, Temur Durrani, has been speaking to employees about the life-long impacts of this breach, what is being done about it and why ransomware attackers are taking aim at Canadian companies and public institutions. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at email@example.com
Artificial Intelligence and chatbots are having a mainstream moment. In November, the public was introduced to ChatGPT – a chatbot that can have seemingly human-like conversations with users. And after a “creepy” conversation between a New York Times tech columnist and Microsoft’s new Bing chatbot (which called itself “Sydney”) the debate around AI sentience has re-ignited. But, behind all the awe, argues AI researcher, author and data journalist, Meredith Broussard, is a model that’s simply really good at math – and the technology that powers our AI today can often be biased, sexist and racist. She’s on the show to talk about how we should all be thinking about these problems in a tech innovation that isn’t going away anytime soon. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Documents from Canada’s spy agency CSIS – viewed by The Globe and Mail – show how China was influencing Canada’s 2021 federal election by promoting candidates favourable to the regime, how it warned “friendly” Canadians about investigations and targeted Canadians with tactics like cyberattacks, bribery and sexual seduction. These documents highlight a troubling web of China’s interference in Canadian political, financial and academic institutions. Robert Fife, The Globe’s Ottawa bureau chief, explains why these documents matter and what we can learn about how China is trying to influence Canadian affairs. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at email@example.com
In a special bonus episode, The Globe and Mail’s Senior International Correspondent Mark MacKinnon and Europe Correspondent Paul Waldie join The Decibel host Menaka Raman-Wilms for an in-depth conversation on the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine. Mark and Paul share their perspectives, personal stories and insights in a year of covering the war. This episode was recorded as a livestreamed broadcast on theglobeandmail.com and YouTube on February 24, 2023.
Since Russia invaded one year ago, eight million people have left Ukraine. Olena Tsebenko, Sonya and Oliver Hawes and George Fedorov all left behind their homes on February 24, 2022. From births to deaths and marriages, they share their stories of how their lives have carried on in the wake of the war. Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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