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.


December 7, 2022 16 min

Canadians have already seen the cost of groceries grow by over 10 per cent this year, and costs are expected to keep rising. A bag of the humble romaine lettuce can cost as much as $13. Now, experts are projecting that food costs for the average Canadian family will go up by $1,000 in 2023.

This week, the Committee of Agriculture held a hearing with representatives from major grocery retailers to discuss why prices are so high right...

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Two years ago, Helen Naslund was sentenced to eighteen years in prison for killing her husband, Miles, in 2011. They married young, in the early 1980s – he was twenty, and she was seventeen. He abused her and their three children for decades.

Today on the Decibel, Globe feature writer Jana Pruden shares Helen’s story and unpacks how the justice system treats women who have been abused.

For help with controlling behaviour or intimate ...

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December 5, 2022 18 min

Joseph Boyden. Michelle Latimer. Carrie Bourassa. There has been a growing list of people who are accused of pretending to be Indigenous.

Jean Teillet is a lawyer who was commissioned by the University of Saskatchewan to write a report about the issue of Indigenous identity fraud and to determine how postsecondary institutions can identify fraudulent applicants.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at

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On Tuesday, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith introduced her sovereignty act, the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act, which would give her cabinet powers to not enforce federal legislation, policies or programs it deems harmful to Alberta’s interests. Smith has referred to the proposed law as a shield against Ottawa.

Today, we’re hearing from Alberta and Ottawa. Alanna Smith, a Globe reporter in Calgary, explains how this b...

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The office vacancy rates in two of Canada’s biggest cities – Toronto and Vancouver – have more than doubled since before the pandemic.

The Globe’s real estate reporter, Rachelle Younglai, explains what is driving that trend and which companies are feeling the strain of managing physical offices in a world of hybrid work.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at

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Protesters in China are blaming zero-COVID policies for the deaths of 10 people in an apartment building in the city of Urumqi. Demonstrations erupted in dozens of cities around the country, including in Shanghai and the capital Beijing.

While protests do happen in China – despite the country’s reputation for absolute control – the way unrest spread online is remarkable given China’s internet firewall that censors dissent.

The Globe’...

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The federal government plans to bring in 500,000 immigrants per year by 2025 – but only around 200,000 housing units are being built per year. With a cost-of-living crisis, sky-high housing demand and struggling health care systems, immigrants are often left struggling to settle here in Canada.

Matt Lundy, economics reporter with The Globe’s Report on Business, explains what these challenges mean for people who have recently arrived...

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s five-hour testimony wrapped up the final day of Emergencies Act inquiry.

Mr. Trudeau faced questions about his decision to invoke the Emergencies Act in February, 2022 in response to the so-called trucker convoy protests which had taken over a part of downtown Ottawa, and had blockaded border crossings in Windsor, Ontario and Coutts, Alberta.

Guest host Sherrill Sutherland and parliamentary reporter Ma...

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In March, Canada will expand medically assisted dying to people with mental illness as a sole condition. This will make the country’s euthanasia law one of the most liberal in the world – just seven years after assisted dying first became legal.

A parliamentary committee has been hearing from experts since April about what needs to happen to make the right to die safe for all Canadians, and The Globe’s Erin Anderssen has been follow...

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Cancer patients are facing lengthy wait times to see a doctor and get treated in British Columbia. These delays are not only stressful for the patient, they allow the disease to grow and become more complicated.

This is a massive change from a few decades ago when B.C. was seen as a leader in cancer care. Globe and Mail reporter Andrea Woo explains how these delays got so bad.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at thedecibel@gl...

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November 23, 2022 19 min

With World Cup host country Qatar getting bad press for its treatment of migrant workers, its stance on LGBTQ rights and its strict regulations on alcohol, it’s hard to imagine that it has a lot to gain from hosting this event.

But as the Globe’s Asia correspondent James Grifiths tells us from Doha, Qatar has already seen its relationship with other Gulf nations improve because of the World Cup, and the event might still be an impor...

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Danielle Smith harshly criticized health officials’ response to the pandemic in Alberta during her campaign to become premier – and she promised to change things. She’s now making major changes to health care in the province, firing the entire board of Alberta Health Services and replacing it with a single administrator.

Kelly Cryderman, reporter and columnist with The Globe’s Calgary bureau, says Smith is trying to strike a delicat...

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November 21, 2022 18 min

The year was 2021. And former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney had a dream. In Glasgow, he announced that wanted to bring together the world’s financial institutions to help solve climate change. It was called GFANZ – the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero and since it’s launch that year, it has grown to include more than 500 members that manage $150-trillion in assets.

But just ahead of this year’s COP27 in Egypt, the allia...

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November 18, 2022 20 min

Rupi Kaur is one of the most famous poets in the world. When she was just 21, she self-published her first collection of poetry, Milk and Honey. She’s written two more collections since, and her books have sold over 11 million copies.

Rupi is on the show to talk about how it all started, managing mental health in the pandemic and why she thinks other people should start writing.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at thedecibel@...

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As RSV, influenza and COVID circulate, health care systems that were already strained are struggling even more. Children’s hospitals in particular are seeing a surge of patients with RSV, and departments are overloaded. As doctors expect this season of respiratory viruses to continue, many are asking provincial health officials to bring back mask mandates – which so far hasn’t happened.

You – our listeners – have questions about thi...

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Two weeks after a peace agreement between Ethiopia and Tigray was reached, humanitarian aid finally started to arrive in the Tigrayan region on Tuesday. It’s the first sign that Ethiopia’s blockade, cutting off food, medicine and communications, is ending. The brutal two-year-long civil war has led to the death of as many 600,000 people.

The Globe and Mail’s Africa Bureau Chief, Geoffrey York explains why this deal is so desperately...

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The Globe’s Mark MacKinnon was in Kherson this weekend while residents celebrated Ukraine regaining control of the city from Russia’s invading forces. They had been under Russian occupation since the beginning of March, just days into the war, and life has been difficult.

Mark tells us about what he has been hearing from people and what this latest loss for Russia means for the broader conflict.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us a...

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Sam Bankman-Fried was seen by many as the golden boy of the cryptocurrency world. He was the CEO of major crypto exchange FTX, which at its peak was worth US$32-billion. He was known to hobnob with celebrities and work with Washington on the thorny issues of regulating crypto.

But both his company and his reputation crumbled this week. Now people who had deposited their digital assets and cash on FTX are having issues getting their ...

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At the global climate conference COP27, a major discussion is a loss and damage fund. The idea is that wealthier countries that contributed more to climate change would put money towards a fund that poorer countries could use to recover after climate-induced disasters like hurricanes, floods or droughts.

But countries like the Bahamas are already feeling the impacts of climate change. Climate scientist and tropical storm expert Marj...

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Republicans were expected to dominate the midterm elections, but the anticipated ‘red wave’ did not pan out. Democrats did better than expected and some of that is being attributed to the support for abortion rights across the country. NBC News exit polls report that the largest number of people said inflation was the deciding issue for their vote – with abortion coming in a close second.

Rosemary Westwood is a public health reporte...

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