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.


June 7, 2023 19 mins

A lot of Canada is on fire right now – fires are burning in nearly every province and territory and the federal government says this season could see the most land burned since we started keeping records.

Today, The Globe’s Lindsay Jones joins us from Halifax to talk about the biggest wildfire the province has ever seen, and why fires are so bad there this year. Then, The Globe’s Mike Hager tells us about the wildfires burning acros...

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Canadians have been dealing with high inflation for two years now. But, as consumers, we keep spending. However, the picture of where we spend our money and how much of it is a messy one.

The Globe’s retailing reporter Susan Krashinsky Robertson explains why some stores are seeing a drop in some areas of spending, even as Canadians are spending at an extremely high rate.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? E-mail us at thedecibel@globeandmai...

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The Toronto District School Board – the largest school board in the country – recently reported that more than 300 kids were involved in violent incidents this year. In March, Quebec’s education minister announced he was preparing a strategy to deal with increasing violence in schools. These are just two examples of the more frequent reports of violence in schools across the country, particularly among teenagers.

Dr. Tracy Vaillanco...

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The six biggest banks in Canada – RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, CIBC, TD, and National Bank recently reported their second-quarter earnings. The majority did not hit target expectations. While banks don’t always meet analyst forecasts, the fact that so many of them had disappointing results in the same period is surprising.

Stefanie Marotta reports on banking for The Globe. She’s on the show to explain what’s behind these lower-than-expecte...

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After months of relative quiet in Kyiv, the city has been under attack this week by Russian drones and missiles. There have also been attacks within Russia. Looming over these events is the anticipated, and secretive, Ukrainian counteroffensive to regain territory it has lost to Russia in the war.

Today, The Globe’s senior international correspondent Mark MacKinnon joins from Kyiv, Ukraine, to discuss these latest attacks and what a...

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May 31, 2023 19 mins

Alberta is a province with a long history of conservative rule. And on Monday, Danielle Smith and the UCP added a new chapter by winning a majority. But it wasn’t a blowout. Rachel Notley and the NDP managed to score 38 seats, up from 23 in the previous sitting of the legislature.

This is creating a new political dynamic in the province and Globe reporter and columnist Kelly Cryderman is on the show to explain what it means for the ...

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Throughout the pandemic, Canadians were warned about the potential collapse of emergency rooms. ERs were stretched to the limit, as surges in patients ran up against labour shortages of doctors and health care workers. But now that the worst of the pandemic is over the situation in ERs hasn’t improved. Patients and doctors now paint a grim picture of a dysfunctional medical care system that remains in crisis, with few long -term fi...

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May 29, 2023 18 mins

Avian influenza is getting more serious each year, as an unprecedented number of birds either succumb to the virus or are culled to prevent spread. After a dog in Ontario and thousands of sea lions died from the flu, there’s growing concern about this strain’s ability to infect mammals.

Dr. Samira Mubareka is an infectious diseases physician, medical microbiologist and scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute. She explains what’s ...

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With a cost-of-living crisis and rampant inflation, there’s a lot on the line for Turkey in the runoff election on Sunday. But this also matters beyond Turkey’s borders. The country is an important – and often challenging – ally for Western countries.

Today, Istanbul-based writer and photographer Adnan Khan tells us what issues are at play in this election and what it could mean for Turkey’s role on the world stage.

Questions? Commen...

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Seasonal allergies are getting worse all across North America, in large part due to changes in pollen driven by climate change. But fear not, there is hope.

Dr. Anne Ellis is a professor and division chair in the department of medicine at Queen’s University. She’s on the show today to discuss the effect worsening allergies can have on us and what we can do to live with them.

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Questions? Comments? Id...

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Former governor general David Johnston has ruled out a public inquiry into foreign interference in Canada’s elections, despite ongoing calls for one. Johnston was appointed special rapporteur in March to look into allegations of Chinese interference, driven largely by The Globe and Mail’s reporting.

Today, The Globe’s senior parliamentary reporter Steven Chase explains why Johnston decided against a public inquiry, and the significa...

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Whether you like it or not, AI is everywhere. It unlocks your phone through facial recognition, it manages spam emails in your inbox and it creates realistic photos of the Pope in a puffer jacket. With rapid developments in technology infiltrating our everyday lives, it’s a race for governments to figure out how to regulate it. And Ottawa might be playing catch up.

Joe Castaldo is with The Globe’s Report on Business. Today, he expla...

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Experts are anticipating another chaotic season of air travel in the coming months. Along with ongoing labour disputes, Canadian airlines have scheduled more flights for the summer. There’s a catch though: they might not have the crew to staff them.

Today, The Globe’s transportation reporter Eric Atkins explains why airlines still might not have enough staff and what we’re in for in the coming months.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Emai...

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Two hundred and fifty kilometres above the Arctic Circle is a greenhouse that provides fresh local produce to its community. It’s called Naurvik and it’s located in the Inuit hamlet of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. Powered primarily by wind- and solar-energy, Naurvik is becoming a new source of food for a region of Canada that suffers chronic food insecurity given how remote it is.

Photojournalist Amber Bracken visited Gjoa Haven earlier thi...

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May 17, 2023 19 mins

Wildfires are raging across Alberta with early-season fires forcing thousands to evacuate their homes. Firefighters from across the country and the U.S., as well as the Canadian Armed Forces, are streaming in to battle the flames. Officials are predicting the worst is yet to come with high temperatures and no rain in the forecast.

Meanwhile, a provincial election is right around the corner. United Conservative Party Leader Danielle ...

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China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, but tensions continue to rise between the two countries over allegations of foreign interference and concerns about human rights. So the Canadian government is trying to expand trade to other places – like India.

The Indian and Canadian governments have been negotiating for more than a decade on a trade agreement, but this might finally be the moment we get one. Today, Rita Trichur, ...

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May 15, 2023 19 mins

On May 5th the World Health Organization declared the end of the COVID-19 emergency. But what does that mean for the pandemic? How should we be thinking about the COVID virus now and what kind of risk are we still exposed to?

It’s taken three years of social distancing, mask mandates, and varying degrees of lockdown to get to this stage, but what comes next is still a bit of a mystery. Today, Lisa Barrett, an infectious diseases spe...

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BlackBerry changed our lives when it created the world’s first commercially successful smartphone. But its dominance was disrupted and the Canadian tech giant lost nearly everything. BlackBerry’s dramatic fall from grace is now the topic of a film that is in theaters May 12.

The Globe’s technology reporter, Sean Silcoff, who co-authored the book that film is based on, is on the show to discuss how he got the inside access needed to ...

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On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry strongly condemned Canada’s expulsion of Chinese diplomat, Zhao Wei for allegations of foreign interference. In response, China expelled a Canadian diplomat in Shanghai.

While headlines about Chinese interference have been front and centre in Canada ever since the Globe first reported on China’s interference attempts back in February, this latest row has also hit a nerve in China. Today, The ...

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On May 8, Canada expelled Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei in response to China’s interference in Canadian politics. The extraordinary move is the first expulsion of a Chinese diplomat in decades and could  carry substantial consequences given the size of Canada’s economic and social ties with China.

This is the latest development in an ongoing saga around Chinese interference in Canada which broke after The Globe and Mail reported on secr...

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