The Decibel

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.


May 29, 2024 22 mins

Recently we’ve seen a shift in the national conversation around how to deal with Canada’s ongoing opioid crisis. B.C. all but cancelled their decriminalization trial. And the federal government rejected Toronto’s request to decriminalize possession of drugs. Decriminalization is part of a harm reduction strategy which advocates argue is the best short-term solution to save lives.

Alberta is also moving away from a harm reduction mod...

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The PWHL is wrapping up a successful inaugural season, with the three Canadian teams boasting big crowds for most games. The WNBA is adding a 14th team; this one’s in Toronto. And there’s a push from a group called Project 8 to launch a professional women’s soccer league in Canada by 2025.

There’s an undeniable momentum in the realm of women’s professional sports in Canada right now. Rachel Brady, a sports reporter for The Globe, ex...

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When nature calls, you have to answer, and quickly. The last thing you’d want is to walk several kilometers to find a public toilet.. And yet, public bathrooms aren’t easy to find in many cities across Canada. Overall, Canada has 18 public toilets per 100,000 people, which puts it in 15th place globally. And for those facing homelessness or a medical condition, public toilets are crucial for their ability to move freely through urb...

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On the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, troops occupied Chornobyl. Since the nuclear disaster in 1986, the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the nuclear plant has been largely abandoned. But 38 years later, some Ukrainians still call the land home, including a handful of elderly residents and people who oversee the disused power plant.

Janice Dickson, the Globe’s international affairs reporter, visited...

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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...

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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 ef...

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May 21, 2024 45 mins

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, ...

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May 18, 2024 23 mins

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 thedecib...

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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 wor...

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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...

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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 healt...

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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 exp...

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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 saf...

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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 Interna...

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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 ...

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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...

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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 M...

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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...

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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, disc...

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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...

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