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 1, 2023 19 mins

On Tuesday, a walkout and rally at York University’s campus in Toronto saw 200 faculty and staff protesting the administration’s decision to suspend three employees, including one professor. The employees were charged for their alleged involvement in defacing an Indigo bookstore. It’s the latest incident involving a Canadian university where the Israel-Hamas war has created conflict on campus.

The Globe’s post-secondary education re...

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Binance is the world’s largest crypto trading platform and its founder is the most recent crypto leader to be charged criminally in the U.S. That man – Changpeng Zhao – also happens to be Canada’s richest person.

But despite his guilty plea to money-laundering charges, the reaction from the crypto industry has been much more muted than when FTX collapsed and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, was charged. Ethan Lou is an editor in The ...

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Last week, a far-right party and its controversial leader in the Netherlands won a surprising election victory. This comes on the heels of several other European countries that are seeing far-right parties become more popular.

Today, The Globe’s international affairs columnist Doug Saunders explains why we’re seeing this shift to the far-right and what it will mean for European politics.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email us at thedec...

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November 28, 2023 21 mins

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers revealed what BMO’s chief economist calls the “new villain” of inflation: rent. While inflation is finally cooling for items such as groceries, the price for renting a place to live has increased 8.2 per cent – the largest increase in more than 40 years.

Matt Lundy is an economics reporter with The Globe’s Report on Business. He’s on the show to explain why rents keep climbing and whethe...

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As the number of people experiencing homelessness grows in cities across Canada, so too have encampments – groups of people living in tents in parks, under overpasses, wherever they can find space. Some cities have taken aggressive actions to clear out people dwelling in tents – but London, Ont., is taking a different approach.

Marcus Gee is a columnist for the Globe, specializing in reporting on cities and the opioid crisis. Today,...

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In the span of a week, OpenAI went from being Silicon Valley’s dominant artificial intelligence company, to teetering on the brink of collapse, to a total board overhaul. And at the centre of the drama were two men: Sam Altman, its CEO, and Ilya Sutskever, its Chief Scientist.

Report on Business journalist Joe Castaldo explains who Ilya Sutskever is, what his role was in the past week’s chaotic chain of events, and why he is driving...

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November 23, 2023 21 mins

Israel and Hamas are negotiating a four-day ceasefire which could see the release of up to 50 prisoners being held in Gaza as well as Palestinians currently imprisoned in Israel. Israel said that for every additional 10 hostages freed by Hamas, the truce would be extended by a day.

It is widely believed that hostages in Gaza are being held in a system of tunnels underneath the territory. This subterranean network is believed to have...

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The Alberta government has been announcing several changes coming to the province’s health care – including dismantling the health authority, and putting more decision-making and responsibility into the hands of government.

Today, The Globe’s health columnist Andre Picard explains what changes are being proposed, and why he thinks they might not fix the longstanding issues in Alberta’s health care – and could lead to other problems ...

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November 21, 2023 18 mins

Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig – known as the two Michaels – were both detained by Chinese authorities on December 10, 2018. That was the start of their 1,020-day imprisonment, in which Beijing accused the men of procuring and sharing Chinese state secrets.

Now, two years after their release, one of the Michaels alleges that he was only detained because of information he provided to the other Michael, that was in turn passed onto...

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Health Canada recently approved the sale of Zonnic, a nicotine pouch that you pop into your mouth. Even though its maker – Imperial Tobacco Canada – says it’s meant to help people quit smoking, anti-smoking advocates are worried that it will actually get young people addicted to nicotine. This is in part because of how Health Canada is regulating it.

Carly Weeks is a health reporter with The Globe and Mail and she explains the detai...

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The Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania was the first government-run residential school in North America. Earlier this fall, the remains of two boys, who died there more than a century ago, were returned to their tribes in South Dakota, over 2,000 kilometres away. It’s a process that took six years — and has only begun the healing and closure to the people who were part of it.

Willow Fiddler, a national reporter for th...

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Many Afghans waiting to be resettled in Canada have taken refuge in Pakistan since fleeing their homes when the Taliban took control in 2021. That can be a dangerous and difficult situation for them – and now there’s an added concern. The government of Pakistan has begun deporting thousands of people back to Afghanistan.

Today, The Globe’s Janice Dickson shares the stories of people she’s spoken with who are in hiding in Pakistan, o...

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The Israel-Hamas war is now in its sixth week and fighting is intensifying inside Gaza. On Tuesday, Palestinians trapped inside Gaza’s biggest hospital dug a mass grave to bury patients who died. Israel is encircling the hospital as they believe it sits atop an underground Hamas headquarters.

On Monday Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netenyahu said he’s open to “tactical” fighting pauses but not to a ceasefire until the more than 2...

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There is a glacier that sits a kilometer below the highest peak within B.C.’s border, called Combatant Col. Scientists have been working on its icy surface to pull out ice cores as quickly as they can. Locked within these smooth cylinders are clues about what the region’s climate was like years ago that could help us understand today’s climate challenges.

Justine Hunter is a Globe reporter based in B.C. and she explains how research...

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The reality of Quebec’s law to protect the French language is setting in, especially for the province’s three English language universities. Out-of-province students are facing a tuition hike that could see their fees go up from about $9,000 a year to $17,000… among the highest fees in the country.

Joe Friesen, The Globe’s post-secondary education reporter, joins the podcast to explain what’s driving the province’s push and whether ...

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It can be incredibly frustrating trying to get access to historical records in Canada. There are often lengthy delays and confusing inconsistency. That’s in large part because Canada’s historical records are tied up in our access to information system, which has a lot of problems.

The Globe’s investigative reporter Robyn Doolittle has been reporting on the country’s struggling access to information system through the Secret Canada p...

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A movement which first gained traction in Republican States in the U.S. is taking root in Canada. “Parents’ rights” is the idea that parents should have more control over what’s being taught and talked about in Canadian schools – particularly when it comes to gender identity and sexual education.

Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have recently adopted policies in which students under 16 would need parental consent to change their prono...

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Weather in Canada is becoming more erratic thanks to climate change – we’re seeing cold snaps, severe thunder and hail storms, and wildfires. That’s having a big impact on Canada’s wine industry

Today, The Globe’s wine writer Christopher Waters joins us to explain what’s going on in the industry, how that’s impacting the wines themselves, and why it’s such an important industry to pay attention to – and we even try some wines, for...

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Canadian immigration minister Marc Miller announced the intentions of the government in its new set of targets: while the number of permanent residents being welcomed has grown annually, starting in 2026, there will be a freeze at 500,000. This update comes at same time as the latest polls indicate that Canadians are souring on immigration. But the change may not actually address the heart of the problem of why pressure is being ex...

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There has been turmoil at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and it recently came to the public’s attention when the Alberta government dismissed the entire board in late October. The whirlwind drama started with the search for a new CEO, which led to arguments of conflict of interest and allegations of bullying and harassment.

Today, The Globe’s Alanna Smith and Josh O’Kane, who have been covering this story, explain what le...

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