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The Decibel

Author: The Globe and Mail

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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.
766 Episodes
Gildan t-shirts are everywhere. The ubiquity of their products has turned Gildan into one of the biggest clothing manufacturers and wholesalers in the world, bringing in billions in revenue every year. But recently, Gildan has been in the news about a fight between its former CEO and the board. And this boardroom drama has refocused attention on how the Montreal-based company makes its clothes so cheaply.Robyn Doolittle, a reporter with The Globe’s Report on Business, looked into Gildan’s work conditions at their factories in Honduras and explored the tension behind wanting cheap clothes that are ethically made.Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at
It has been eight years since the infamous Fort McMurray wildfire that levelled several neighbourhoods and businesses. As wildfires are once again on the rise in Western Canada, the sky was a familiar smoky orange last week in Fort McMurray as a fire crept closer to the city.The Globe’s Calgary reporter, Carrie Tait, tells us about the current fire, and explains how for many residents and officials, they’re feeling the lingering effects of what happened in 2016.Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at
In the last few years, artificial intelligence has gone from a novelty to perhaps the most influential technology we’ve ever seen. The people building AI are convinced that it will eradicate disease, turbocharge productivity, and solve climate change. It feels like we’re on the cusp of a profound societal transformation. Fifteen years ago, there was a similar wave of optimism around social media: it was going to connect the world, catalyze social movements and spur innovation. It may have done some of these things. But it also made us lonelier, angrier, and occasionally detached from reality.Few people understand this trajectory better than Maria Ressa. Ressa is a Filipino journalist, and the CEO of a news organization called Rappler. Like many people, she was once a fervent believer in the power of social media. Then she saw how it could be abused. In 2016, she reported on how Rodrigo Duterte, then president of the Philippines, had weaponized Facebook in the election he’d just won. After publishing those stories, Ressa became a target herself, and her inbox was flooded with death threats. In 2021, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.As novel as AI is, it has undoubtedly been shaped by the technologies, the business models, and the CEOs that came before it. And Ressa thinks we’re about to repeat the mistakes we made with social media all over again.
Alice Munro, remembered

Alice Munro, remembered


The celebrated Canadian author Alice Munro died on May 13. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013 as a “master of the contemporary short story,” and the Man Booker International Prize in 2009.On today’s show, members of The Globe newsroom share their reflections on Alice Munro’s life and work, and columnist Marsha Lederman joins to talk about Munro’s impact and legacy.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
As the U.S. election looms, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s team is getting ready for both possible outcomes: a Biden re-election and a second Trump term. They are assembling a team of officials to remind American politicians about the importance of free trade across our borders.Adrian Morrow is The Globe’s U.S. correspondent based in Washington, D.C., and he explains who is on this so-called Team Canada, and how their strategy works.Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at
Hydrogen fuel is sometimes called the fuel of the future, and it’s being used in a number of ways around the world. The rail giant CPKC is trialling a new hydrogen train in Alberta, that it hopes can replace diesel-fuelled freight locomotives in delivering goods across the continent.The Globe’s Alberta and energy reporter, Kelly Cyderman, joins us to discuss hydrogen trains, how they work, and how this development might lead toward a greener Canada.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
Canada is in the midst of a primary-care crisis. 6.5 million Canadians don’t have reliable access to a family doctor, and some jurisdictions are turning to nurse practitioners to fill the gap. Alberta recently announced a program that would make it possible for nurse practitioners to receive public funding to establish a practice, although it comes with its conditions and concerns from other organizations.The Globe’s national health reporter, Kelly Grant, walks us through the role nurse practitioners have in providing primary care, how they’re funded, and Alberta’s new plan to address the shortage of primary-care providers.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
The housing affordability problem in Canada continues, and people are desperate for solutions. The federal government is handing out billions of dollars as part of the Apartment Construction Loan Program intending to create more affordable housing. But, a Globe analysis found a disconnect between what’s considered affordable in this program, and what renters can actually afford.The Globe’s real-estate reporter Rachelle Younglai explains why these units aren’t actually attainable to many Canadian renters and looks at the concerns with the program’s definition of affordability.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
After more than a decade, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project (TMX) has finally been completed. One of the country’s biggest infrastructure projects is seen as a major win for Albertan oil producers, with nearly 600,000 extra barrels shipped daily, ready for international buyers.But the future ownership of the pipeline remains up in the air. Many of the issues and questions that delayed the project – concerns over its safety and the environment, fights over Indigenous land rights, long-term economic risks – remain.Jeffrey Jones, The Globe’s sustainable finance reporter, explains the ballooning costs of the TMX and why one of Canada’s top exports is creating tension with its future climate targets.Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at
Tension is ratcheting up in the Gaza Strip as the Israeli military descends on the southern city of Rafah. This move has forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians sheltering there to flee yet again. All of this has been happening this week against the backdrop of ceasefire negotiations between Hamas and the Israeli government and souring relations between Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden.The Globe’s Senior International Correspondent Mark MacKinnon brings us up to speed on the many developments, breaks down what happened in the ceasefire talks this week, and what this means for the people in Gaza and the remaining Israeli hostages.Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at
TD Bank has been plagued by concerns about its anti-money-laundering capabilities for over a year. In March 2023, they tried to acquire the U.S. based bank First Horizon Corp. Regulatory issues delayed the acquisition, and in May 2023, the deal fell through.The extent of TD’s anti-money-laundering issues weren’t clear until now, when it’s revealed that TD is involved in a U.S. investigation of a US$653 million money-laundering and drug-trafficking operation. Tim Kiladze, financial reporter and columnist for the Globe, is on the show to talk about TD’s alleged lack of oversight and what this means for the bank – and its customers – going forward.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
175 countries are in the midst of tense discussions around a UN treaty to reduce plastic pollution. The second-last negotiation session wrapped up in Ottawa last week, but there are still significant hurdles to getting it done, including disagreements about whether to include a production cap.Today, The Globe’s environment reporter Wendy Stueck joins to explain what this treaty could change, and how countries are thinking about how to balance our reliance on plastic with its effects on our environment.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
Campus protests are spreading across Canada including at the University of Toronto and McGill. It comes after high profile demonstrations in the United States where students are demonstrating against the war in Gaza. And when police were called in to disband these protests, sometimes things got violent.The protests and tensions with police call back to student movements of the past. Dr. Roberta Lexier is an associate professor at Mount Royal University, and her research focuses on social and student movements. She’s on the show to explain the tensions between campus protesters and police and what history tells us about the protests today.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
The public inquiry into foreign interference aimed to provide answers critical to Canada’s democracy: who are the main perpetrators of the threats against the country’s electoral system? What, if any, role did they play in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections? The first report from the inquiry has now been released – detailing the “pervasive, insidious and harmful” problems of foreign interference on Canada’s democratic institutions.Robert Fife, The Globe’s Ottawa bureau chief, breaks down the report and explains what comes next, as pressure mounts on the Trudeau government.Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at
Diet culture that celebrates thinness, weight loss and supplements, has been around for decades. But the global reach of social media and influencers talking about nutrition trends and advice is something new. And what they’re telling – and selling – to followers isn’t always safe or fact-based.Christy Harrison is a registered dietitian, certified intuitive eating counsellor and author. Her most recent book, The Wellness Trap, discusses moving away from diet-culture and sifting through disinformation. She’s on the podcast to discuss diet-culture’s presence on social media, the harms of nutrition trends and how to maintain a safe relationship with food today.Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at
Last year, British Columbia’s government began an experiment in drug policy by decriminalizing illicit drug use, up to a certain amount. The pilot program was meant to address the worsening opioid crisis that killed thousands of people in B.C. in 2023. But now, the provincial government has made a major reversal on that cornerstone policy, after reports from mayors of urban centres, residents and health care workers of rampant open drug use.Justine Hunter, The Globe’s B.C. politics reporter joins the podcast to talk about the politics of decriminalization and what this means for harm reduction policies across Canada in the future.Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at
Distance running, once a relatively niche sport, has exploded in popularity. The trend has been ongoing for at least a decade, but 2024′s running season may be the biggest one yet. Marathon race organizers are expecting record participation in races this year, both in Canada and in cities around the world.Today, Ben Kaplan, general manager of iRun Magazine, Allison Hill, co-founder of Hill Run Club, and members of The Decibel’s own running club explain how the sport has grown more inclusive and diverse, drawing in a whole new generation of runners.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
Sudan is facing a dire humanitarian crisis. Nearly 9 million people are displaced from their homes and millions face severe hunger, all stemming from a conflict that broke out just over a year ago. But there are widespread concerns that the world is turning a blind eye to Sudan – and to other African countries facing conflicts.Today, The Globe’s Africa Bureau Chief Geoffrey York explains what’s been going on in Sudan, why so little attention is being paid to this conflict among others, and what that means for the people on the ground.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
By 2030, the federal government is hoping 60 per cent of new car sales will be zero-emission. By 2035, they want that number to be 100 per cent. To help with that goal, Canada and a number of provinces have been courting auto manufacturers to set up shop here. And just last week, Honda announced a $15-billion investment in EV production in Ontario – the biggest deal Canada has ever landed.Adam Radwanski, The Globe’s climate policy columnist, is on the show to talk about a few of these Canadian deals and the future of the EV industry – both the prospect and obstacles ahead.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
Canada’s largest Chinatown has been under siege for over a century: first by race riots, then by poverty and most recently by the threat of development. We’re telling the story of why Chinatown, Vancouver, is one of Canada’s most resilient neighbourhoods, forced to evolve and adapt in the face of horrific racism. The future of Chinatowns everywhere should be in the hands of the people who live, work and find community there. So what does the future hold for a neighbourhood constantly in flux?This episode of The Globe and Mail’s City Space podcast is available to stream wherever you get your podcasts.Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at
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