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 14, 2024 20 mins

Yesterday on The Decibel, The Globe’s senior international correspondent Mark MacKinnon told us about the top commanders and soldiers he’s been following and speaking with in the Ukrainian army. These soldiers have been in incredibly dangerous situations, many at the centre of the major battles in the war against Russia.

Today, Mark joins us for the second part of that conversation. He’ll tell us about the critical role these soldie...

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For the past few years, The Globe’s senior international correspondent Mark MacKinnon has been building relationships with some of the top commanders and soldiers in the Ukrainian army, following them in the war against Russia. These soldiers have been in the midst of major battles – Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv, Bakhmut – and many have been fighting Russia since long before the full-scale invasion in 2022.

Today and tomorrow, Mark tells...

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Hospitals across Canada have long been overwhelmed by patient demand and staff shortages. But another category of medical experts, specializing in childbirth and pregnancy care, has been growing to lift the weight – midwives. In 2021, midwives oversaw more than 48,000 live births. So why aren’t they recognized as other health professionals are?

Carly Weeks, the Globe’s former health reporter joins the show to explain why midwives co...

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Canada’s ‘green energy’ transition has begun. By 2035, the federal government is aiming to achieve a net-zero electricity grid. But is it possible? And is one of the answers to help in that transition in front of us right now? With an expected increase in energy demands, how does the aging technology of hydroelectric power plants factor in and how essential are they now to keep everything running?

The Globe’s environment data journa...

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A national watchdog report says some parliamentarians in Canada are ‘semi-witting’ or ‘witting’ participants in foreign efforts to interfere in our politics. The report from NSICOP says that the parliamentarians (whom are not named) may have collaborated with foreign actors to advance their own interests. This is the latest information around concerns of foreign interference in Canada since The Globe first started reporting on this...

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Canada’s cultural institutions are coming up against serious economic challenges. Theatre companies say they’re facing a crisis as they struggle to recover from pandemic closures. The Montreal-based ‘Just For Laughs’, one of the world’s biggest comedy festivals, has canceled their 2024 festival and filed for creditor protection. In May, Hot Docs, an international documentary festival, announced they would temporarily close their th...

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The Bank of Canada lowered the interest rate to 4.75 per cent on Wednesday – the first rate cut in four years. As the country’s central bank aims to get the inflation rate closer to 2 per cent, further cuts could be on the horizon. Realtors are hoping the rate cut will reignite a stagnant housing market, by possibly allowing more people to qualify for mortgages and increasing the number of potential buyers.

Mark Rendell is a journal...

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Last week, former U.S. president Donald Trump was found guilty on 34 felony counts. In speeches and interviews following the decision, he used religiously-charged language and called on supporters to get revenge at the polls. This isn’t the first time Trump has utilized evangelical references, but his 2024 election campaign is increasingly relying on apocalyptic rhetoric.

U.S. political analyst and author Jared Yates Sexton is on th...

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It’s been more than a month now since the pro-Palestinian protests started up at campuses across Canada, protesting the war in Gaza and calling for the universities to make changes. There’s been a wide range of responses to these protests.

So today, The Globe’s postsecondary education reporter Joe Friesen is here to explain where the campus protests are now, what the students are asking for, and how the universities have responded.


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Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently announced that beer and wine will soon be available for purchase in convenience stores and big-box stores across the province, fulfilling an election promise from 2018. The controversy? This deal means that people will have greater access to alcohol — for better or worse — and it will cost taxpayers $225-million.

Jeff Gray, one of The Globe’s Ontario politics reporter, outlines the policy, explains...

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May 31, 2024 19 mins

Open banking could eventually be available to Canadians, which would change how we access our personal finances. This style of banking is consumer-driven and would bring transparency to a customer’s information. but despite the talk, Canada is lagging behind other Western countries when it comes to implementing open banking.

The Globe’s personal finance reporter, Salmaan Farooqui, breaks down the inner workings of open banking – its...

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Social media use among students is a big concern for schools across Canada. Ontario school boards and educators are taking matters into their own hands by suing social media companies like Meta, Snap and ByteDance for allegedly harming kids and disrupting education. And educators have had to devise creative methods to keep students engaged.

The Globe’s education reporter, Caroline Alphonso, explains how cell phones and social media ...

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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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