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COMMONS

Author: CANADALAND

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A politics show for people who hate politics.
134 Episodes
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DYNASTIES 5 - The Sahotas

DYNASTIES 5 - The Sahotas

2019-11-2700:55:151

The Sahotas are Vancouver’s most notorious slumlords. For decades they’ve let their buildings rot, leaving their tenants to live in filth and desolation. But the Sahotas are not like any other dynasty you’ve ever heard of. Their story is far stranger, and far darker, than anything you can imagine. Featured in this episode: Jen St. Denis, Christopher Cheung (The Tyee), Sam Dharmapala To learn more: “For low-income residents in Vancouver, a different kind of real estate crisis” by Wendy Stueck and Mike Hager in The Globe and Mail “'Out-of-control' SROs: Everyone wants to help, but no one seems to have the tools” by Denise Ryan in The Vancouver Sun “Room 821” by Crackdown This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter.  This episode is sponsored by Freshbooks, Audible and Wealthbar. Additional music: I dunno by grapes (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: J Lang, Morusque eighteen pieces (soda) by Soda (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.  SUNBIRDS by BOCrew (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: THEDEEPR / THECORNER / feat : FORENSIC / “I Am A Man Who Will Fight For You Honor” by Chris Zabriskie, adapted. 
DYNASTIES 4 - The Rizzutos

DYNASTIES 4 - The Rizzutos

2019-11-1200:43:325

The Rizzutos are Canada’s first family of crime. For decades, they dominated Montreal’s underworld with an iron fist. With the help of corrupt politicians and police officers, the Rizzutos built one of the most fearsome and lucrative criminal enterprises this country has ever seen.  Their reign was long and bloody. But their fall, was even more gruesome. Featured in this episode: Peter Edwards (Toronto Star), Pietro Poletti  To learn more: Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War by Peter Edwards and Antonio Nicaso The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito Rizzuto by Lee Lamothe and Adrian Humphreys “Death of the Don” by CBC’s The Fifth Estate   This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter.  This episode is sponsored by Freshbooks, Leesa and HelloFresh. Additional music: I dunno by grapes (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: J Lang, Morusque Spheres (Hip Hop Instrumental) by Robbero (c) copyright 2013 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.  “Cylinder Five” by Chris Zabriskie, adapted. 
COMMONS Needs Your Help

COMMONS Needs Your Help

2019-10-2900:14:49

Canada is a big, interesting, and complicated place and COMMONS is committed to bringing you thoughtfully crafted and illuminating stories that will challenge everything you think you know about this country.  We make a complex scripted podcast that’s unlike anything else available in this country and cover stories from all across the nation. We want to keep doing this work, but we need your support.   This week we’re going to tell you a little bit about the work that goes into making this show and about what’s next for Canadaland. Click here to see we’re hoping to do with your support.
DYNASTIES 3 - The Fords

DYNASTIES 3 - The Fords

2019-10-1500:43:042

They call themselves the Canadian Kennedys. And they’re one of the most famous political dynasties to ever exist in this country. But the rise of the Ford family has been marred by violence and self-destruction at almost every turn. The story of the Fords is tragic — for them, for everyone who falls into their orbit, and for the people of Toronto. Featured in this episode: Jonathan Goldsbie (Canadaland). CORRECTION [Nov. 18, 2019]: We state in this episode that Rob Ford died in 2014. He died in March of 2016. We regret the error. To learn more: Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story by Robyn Doolittle The Only Average Guy: Inside the Uncommon World of Rob Ford by John Filion “The Rob Ford Story” by CBC’s The Fifth Estate This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter.  This episode is sponsored by Freshbooks and Audible. Additional music: I dunno by grapes (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: J Lang, Morusque MILLENNIALS by Analog By Nature (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Reverie (small theme) by _ghost (c) copyright 2010 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Pitx “Unanswered Questions” by Kevin Macleod, adapted. 
DYNASTIES 2 - The Irvings

DYNASTIES 2 - The Irvings

2019-10-0100:38:302

For almost a century, the Irving family has run New Brunswick like a personal fiefdom. They own the newspapers, the industry, and, according to some, even the government. So how does a single family come to so thoroughly dominate an entire province? And what happens when that family starts to fracture and split apart at the seams? Featured in this episode: Bruce Livesey (Thieves of Bay Street). To learn more: “Are the Irvings Canada's biggest corporate welfare bums?” by Bruce Livesey in National Observer Irving vs. Irving: Canada's Feuding Billionaires and the Stories They Won't Tell by Jacques Poitras “Irving family's fortunate son explains how he fell into a dark depression, and rose again” by Erin Anderssen” in The Globe and Mail This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter.  This episode is sponsored by Freshbooks and Leesa.  Additional music: I dunno by grapes (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: J Lang, Morusque “A List of Ways to Die” by Lee Rosevere, “Easy Life” by Lee Rosevere, and “Androids Always Escape” by Chris Zabriskie, adapted.
DYNASTIES 1 - The Stronachs

DYNASTIES 1 - The Stronachs

2019-09-1700:30:562

Canada is a country ruled by dynasties — political, commercial and criminal. In the first episode of our new series, we bring you the story of an eccentric, billionaire patriarch; his famous, charismatic daughter; a fire-breathing monument the size of the Statue of Liberty; and the battle over one of Canada’s great business empires.  Featured in this episode: Robert Fife (Globe and Mail). To learn more: “The $500 Million Family Feud” by Leah McLaren in Toronto Life “A Stronach Family Feud: How things fell apart between the patriarch and his heir apparent” by Barbara Shecter and Geoff Zochodne in the Financial Post “‘They stole the company’: Frank Stronach accuses daughter Belinda of betrayal” by Robert Fife in The Globe and Mail This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter.  This episode is sponsored by Freshbooks and Audible. 
Our new season: DYNASTIES

Our new season: DYNASTIES

2019-09-1200:01:27

Stories about the rich and powerful families who run Canada.
Canoe-borne bandits strike an underwater town. A new generation of wealthy lobstermen is minted. An island disappears. And hellfire engulfs a highway jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive. Just another normal day amidst Canada’s climate catastrophe.  Featured in this episode: Catherine Griwkowsky (Alberta Today), Brendan Kennedy (Toronto Star), Keith Stewart (Greenpeace), Markus Harvey. To learn more: “There will be floods” by Brendan Kennedy in the Toronto Star “Big Oil braced for global warming while it fought regulations” by Amy Lieberman and Susanne Rust in the Los Angeles Times “When climate change hits home” by Nick Purdon in CBC News This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter. 
Teck Resources just got approval to build the largest tar sands operation ever. The Frontier mine would have serious and permanent consequences for the local environment, Indigenous peoples and the global climate. So why haven’t you ever heard about it? Featured in this episode: Nikki Way (Pembina Institute), Kecia Kerr (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society), Cleo Reece (Keepers of the Athabasca), Violet Cheecham Clark. To learn more: “10 things you need to know about the massive new oilsands mine that just got a green light” by Sharon J. Riley in The Narwhal “Teck's Frontier oilsands project heads to McKenna for review” by Alastair Sharp in National Observer “UN says Canada isn’t doing enough to save Wood Buffalo National Park” by Judith Lavoie in The Narwhal This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter. 
Ever get the feeling someone is watching you? If you’ve been to an environmental protest recently, you might be right. Private intelligence firms, the RCMP and even Canada’s spies have all been caught collecting information on everyday Canadians speaking out against the oil industry. Featured in this episode: Ron Tremblay (Wolostoq Grand Council), Mike De Souza (National Observer), Meghan McDermott (BC Civil Liberties Association) To learn more: “Spies in our midst: RCMP and CSIS snoop on green activists” by Bruce Livesey in National Observer “The Private Intelligence Firm Keeping Tabs on Environmentalists” by Adam Federman in Mother Jones “Kinder Morgan privately eyes Trans Mountain opponents” by Alastair Sharp & Dylan Waisman in National Observer “The feds paid private eye to hunt for a journalist's sources” by Mike De Souza in National Observer Additional music: “A List of Ways to Die” by Lee Rosevere, adapted. This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter.
Introducing Wag The Doug

Introducing Wag The Doug

2019-07-0900:41:541

In the past few weeks, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was loudly booed at the Raptors' victory parade, demoted a bunch of star members of his Cabinet amid sagging poll numbers and lost his Chief of Staff, who got caught up in a nepotism scandal.  Are we witnessing the downfall of a government, or is this just another month in Ontario?    If you like Wag the Doug, subscribe to hear more!
Has Canada been a casualty of a nefarious campaign by foreign-funded radicals to landlock our country’s energy resources? Is Big Oil the victim of a vast international conspiracy? Naaaah. But there is, as always, another conspiracy afoot.  Featured in this episode: Markham Hislop (Energi Media) Here's what Vivian Krause has said in response to Markham Hislop's piece. To learn more: “Debunked: Vivian Krause’s Tar Sands Campaign conspiracy narrative” by Markham Hislop in Energi Media. “Alberta Premier Singled Out Environmentalist. Death Threats Followed” by Samantha Beattie  in HuffPost “Conservative politicians, oil executives map out strategy for ousting federal Liberals in growing collaboration” by Jeff Lewis & Shawn McCarthy in The Globe and Mail This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter. 
An unspeakable tragedy occurs off the coast of Newfoundland. But this isn’t just a story about a nautical disaster. It’s about what happens when a poor province finds immense riches just within reach. And how the promise of oil wealth can twist history around itself. Featured in this episode: Susan Dodd, Danny O’Brien, Sean Cadigan ADDITIONAL MUSIC CREDITS: "Seeker" and "Scenery" by Kai Engel, adapted To learn more: The Ocean Ranger: Remaking the Promise of Oil by Susan Dodd Rig: An Oral History of the Ocean Ranger Disaster by Mike Heffernan “The Ranger Disaster” by CBC’s The Fifth Estate This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter.
The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster was a calamity like we’ve never seen before. The families of the victims never got justice. But the conditions that made it possible have barely changed. And the next time could be far worse. Featured in this episode: Bruce Campbell, Dylan Robertson (Winnipeg Free Press) To learn more: The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal, Justice Denied by Bruce Campbell. “Alberta Crisis, Winnipeg Danger” by Dylan Robertson in the Winnipeg Free Press This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter.  
What happens when the oil wells run dry? Environmental damage, government bailouts and a scheme that some are comparing to the subprime mortgage crisis. And all of this is just the beginning. Featured in this episode: Sharon J. Riley (The Narwhal), Jeff Lewis (Globe and Mail), Alana Bartol (Orphan Well Adoption Agency), Herman, Shirley and Mark Dorin. To learn more: Hustle in the oil patch: Inside a looming financial and environmental crisis by Jeff Lewis, Jeffrey Jones, Chen Wang, Renata D’Aliesio in the Globe and Mail. The story of Alberta’s $100-billion well liability problem. How did we get here? By Sharon J. Riley in The Narwhal ‘Forgotten and ignored’ An Alberta couple fights a leaky oil well by  Alannah Page in National Observer. This show was brought to you by our patrons. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter.
The Alberta oil sands. It’s a cold patch of land (which we once almost nuked into oblivion) that’s become Canada’s economic engine. Governments have fought over it for decades. And now it’s one of the most controversial places on the planet. Will it finally tear our politics apart? Featured in this episode: Mary Janigan, Chris Turner To learn more: Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark by Mary Janigan The Patch: The People, Pipelines, and Politics of the Oil Sands by Chris Turner
A family poisoned in their homes. Bombs going off in the night. Shots fired and inside jobs. The story of Wiebo Ludwig is There Will Be Blood come to life. So was he a man of faith facing down the full might of Big Oil? Or a terrorist with blood on his hands? Featured in this episode: David York (Wiebo’s War), Levi Ludwig To learn more: Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil by Andrew Nikiforuk Wiebo’s War by David York “Adventures in Wieboland” by Brian Bergman in Maclean’s.
CRUDE 1 - Smell This Town

CRUDE 1 - Smell This Town

2019-04-0200:24:132

If you don’t understand oil, you can’t understand Canada. We take you to a place unlike anywhere else in the world, where the booms and busts all began. And find out why just a short distance away, children grow up afraid of the very air they breathe. Featured in this episode: Pat McGee and Charlie Fairbank (Fairbank Oil Properties), Vanessa Gray.   To learn more:   “Time stands still in oil industry's birthplace” in the Toronto Star by Murray White.   “Canada’s Toxic Secret: A troubling trend of leaks and spills in the Sarnia area” in Global News   “The Chemical Valley” In VICE by Patrick McGuire   CLARIFICATION: In the episode, we credit the Price of Oil series to the the Toronto Star, National Observer and Global News. The collaborative investigation also involved Concordia University, Ryerson University School of Journalism, the University of Regina, UBC, The Corporate Mapping Project and the Michener Awards Foundation.
Last season Commons covered corruption in Canada. This time around we're talking about Canada's relationship with the oil industry. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the weird. 
Canadian companies have committed all kinds of wrongdoing abroad. But this is on a different level. One Vancouver-based company has been accused by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch of using slaves to build a mine with one of the world’s most oppressive governments. Featured in this episode: Geoffrey York (The Globe and Mail) & Aaron Berhane (Mefti) To learn more: “Canadian miner Nevsun Resources has a tangled relationship with one of the world’s most repressive regimes” in The Globe and Mail by Geoffrey York “We were forced to work at Western-run mine, say migrants who fled Eritrea” in Reuters by Allison Martell and Edmund Blair “What did Canadian mining executives know about possible human rights violations in Eritrea?” in The Fifth Estate (CBC) by Scott Anderson “The Slaves of Eritrea” in Canadian Business by Matthew McClearn
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Comments (6)

Carson Chiu

sad? LOL no justice in this world, suicidal and still doesn't kill himself like the human garbage he is *sigh*

Oct 1st
Reply

Jon C

The Queen has power and dominion over all the commonwealth land and people. The government of Canada has special permission to excercise her powers within her mandate. The governor general is here not to ensure democracy is upheld but to ensure our laws don't infringe upon the Queens power and also as a reminder that we are her subjects and not free people. I think alot was assumed in this podcast and when incorrect things were suggested by the hosts the political expert they had just said nothing knowing damn well they were way off and pretty naïve in their assumptions.

Sep 19th
Reply

Ryan McKay

What a fascinating and unnerving story!

Jul 21st
Reply

William

J.J. McCullough sounds like an idiot. He is ABOOT. Not a good representative of real conservatives.

May 27th
Reply

Joseph F

really enjoying this season, awesome job!

Dec 1st
Reply

Carlos Valdez

mind

Feb 12th
Reply
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