Politics with Desmond Cole & Andray Domise


COMMONS host search  

We're looking for new hosts. Please send demos (less than 4 minutes long) to:

A Message About the Future of COMMONS  

Supriya, Vicky and publisher Jesse Brown deliver a message about the future of COMMONS.

Follow @cndlndcmns for developments.

Ep.67 - A Hodge Podge of Political Hacks: Inside the War Room  

Today, we go behind the scenes in Canadian politics. How do the backroom dealings in Ottawa stack up to the kind of power games we see on shows like House of Cards or the West Wing?

Warren Kinsella brought the American war room model to Jean Chrétien's campaign, making it his mission to drive rival politicians crazy and throw them off their game. Lisa Kinsella has also worked in Liberal war rooms, and is now a "dirty rotten lobbyist." They both currently work for Daisy Group.

Ep.66 - A Hat Trick of Deceit: First Nations and the LNG Project  

The Trudeau government made a lot of commitments in the last election, including improving relations with Indigenous people, fighting climate change and investing in infrastructure. Those commitments are starting to come to a head.

This past week, they approved a massive liquified natural gas (LNG) project on Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert, BC. We check in with Indigenous communities, where support is split on the project.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, says the project will be destructive to the environment and local economies.

Karen Ogen-Toews of the First Nations LNG Alliance points to the benefits the project can bring to surrounding communities and pleas for better understanding from all sides. 

George Hoberg, a professor at UBC's Liu Institute of Global Affairs, gives context to the scope of the project.

Ep.65 - Drunk on Liberal Power / Kellie Leitch on Anti-Canadian Values  

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch really wants to talk about her proposal to screen out immigrants over anti-Canadian values, but takes issue with "specific questions" on the matter.

But first, Bloomberg reporter Josh Wingrove drops in for a lookahead to the upcoming year in Parliament. What's gonna happen, who will start the first brawl and what would it take to end Trudeau's popularity?

Ep.64 - Conservative Leadership Showdown Part 2: Tony Clement & Maxime Bernier  

It's week two of our Conservative leader-a-thon. Today we bring you our conversations with leadership contenders Tony Clement and Maxime Bernier.

Both men were longtime members of Stephen Harper's cabinet.

Tony Clement says the Conservatives need to communicate better with young people and is now pushing tough-on-terror policies.

Maxime Bernier is often called the Libertarian candidate. In addition to his support for personal freedoms, he wants to de-regulate or privatize a handful of industries.

Ep.63 - Conservative Leadership Showdown Part 1: Michael Chong & Brad Trost  

A bunch of people want to succeed Harper as leader of the Conservative Party. Whoever gets the vote won't just be gunning to be the next Prime Minister; they'll be leading the Opposition, with an aim towards keeping the government in check.

Over the summer, we took some time to figure out who all these people are. We'll share those interviews over the next two weeks.

Today, we hear from Michael Chong and Brad Trost.

Michael Chong once resigned as a cabinet Minister over a disagreement with the Harper government. He believes the party needs to take a stronger stance on climate change and to do a better job appealing to immigrants and urban Canadians.

Brad Trost is a social Conservative, so on top of being a champion of the free market, he's vocally pro-life and opposed to gay marriage.

Ep.62 - When Your Councillor Spams You on Facebook  

What do you do if you think a city councillor is exploiting his public platform to make money on the side?

Listener Matt Alexander emailed us with this quandary. He points out that Greater Sudbury Councillor Robert Kirwan takes money from local businesses to write promotional posts for a Facebook group he runs. This raises a lot of questions for Matt, but he doesn't know what to do about it.

We look into Matt's complaint and how potential conflicts like this one are dealt with.



Go to our website for our full correspondence with Robert Kirwan.

Ep.61 - When CSIS Comes Knocking pt. 2  

Earlier this summer, we spoke to Monia Mazigh about CSIS agents making unannounced visits to Muslims. Now, one of those men joins us.

After studying and teaching English in Egypt, Juned Moid* was visited by CSIS agents, denied entry into the US and had his passport renewal delayed. He doesn't know why.

We also speak to Ken Stone, an activist and political commentator, who launched a complaint against CSIS after two agents showed up at his door, asking him about an op-ed he wrote in the Hamilton Spectator. He tells her about the three-year process of trying to resolve the complaint through the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

*A pseudonym to avoid career problems

Ep.60 - MMIW: What Justice Means for a Family Member  

We check in with Maggie Cywink about the upcoming inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. Maggie’s sister Sonya Cywink was murdered over 20 years ago and the case remains unsolved.

Maggie says the announcement felt like a photo op for the Liberals.


She first spoke to us back in December when the inquiry was announced:


Plus, a TweetBeat in which a Liberal MP tells a vegan to eat a steak.


To see screenshots of the full exchange between MP Wayne Easter and animal/environmental advocate Richelle Benoit, go to our website:

Ep.59 - Canadian Police Are Racist Too  

Abdirahman Abdi, a Somali man in Ottawa, is dead after witnesses say he was beaten by cops.


There’s been a lot of attention on police violence against Black people in the U.S. lately. But Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, says Canada’s policing style has a lot of the same problems as the American system when it comes to dealing with racialized and Indigenous populations. Read Akwasi's piece in the Globe and Mail:


Karmen James Omeasoo, a rapper who performs under the name Hellnback, talks about some of the troubles Indigenous men face with the Winnipeg police and the RCMP.  


Christien Levien, a criminal lawyer at Wiley and Levien, talks about how his own bad experience with police as a teenager led him to creating the app LegalSwipe to help other racialized kids stand up to cops.


The song sampled in the show is Hellnback’s “Caught Up,” produced by Stomp. 

Ep.58 - When CSIS Comes Knocking  

Muslim men have been telling Monia Mazigh about getting unannounced visits from CSIS agents at home or the workplace. The intelligence agency says the conversations are voluntary, but some people are accusing them of intimidation. 

Monia is the national coordinator for the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. She tells Supriya and Vicky about these visits and discusses Bill C-22, the legislation that the government tabled to create parliamentary oversight of national security agencies, including CSIS.

Read Monia's Huffington Post piece about this tactic here:

Ep.57 - Buy Gold and Raisin Bran: The Brexit and Canada  

Supriya and Vicky want to know what the Brexit means for us. Does a vote for the United Kingdom to leave the EU change our lives across the ocean?


Armine Yalnizyan, senior economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, talks about why shifting global markets matter for everyone.


Freelance journalist Steven Zhou gives some social context to the vote.

Ep.56 - Naming a Genocide  

The government’s declared that ISIS is committing a genocide against the Yazidi people. So what are we doing about it?


Yazidi-Canadian Dalal Abdi talks about her journey to Canada and her family's life back in Iraq and Turkey.


Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith talks about voting against the majority of his party to declare a genocide earlier in the week.


Stephanie Carvin, assistant professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, tells us how using the word "genocide" affects Canada’s obligations abroad.

Ep.55 - Cheri DiNovo on How to Fix the NDP  

Toronto MPP Cheri DiNovo thinks the NDP needs to return to its roots: unabashedly socialist and anti-capitalist, with an eye towards social justice and the environment. So now she's launched an unofficial leadership campaign, choosing not to pay the $30,000 fee required to enter the race.

DiNovo was the first person within the NDP to speak out against the Party after their collapse during the 2015 election. She talks to Vicky and Supriya about money in politics, the missteps of the NDP and why Veuve Clicquot and high fashion aren't at odds with socialism.

Ep.54 - This Is Not Canada: Living as a Migrant Farm Worker  

“Are these… 18th century working conditions?” Gabriel Allahdua asks. Gabriel came from St. Lucia to work on a farm as part of the Temporary Foreign Worker program. 

He describes the long hours, difficult working conditions and his disappointment over speaking to a Parliamentary committee that’s reviewing the TFW program.

Justicia for Migrant Workers put us in touch with Gabriel.


Are Canadian politicians bending gender norms? Jerald Sabin, a research associate at the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, talks about a study on masculinity in the last election, co-authored by Kyle Kirkup.


And a new segment where Supriya gets mad at Twitter.

Ep.53 - Celebrating Defeat: Dispatches from the Conservative Convention  

We sent the Syrup Trap's Winnie Code to the Conservative Convention in Vancouver. She explains how the convention was a bit like an informercial and gets the official party line on whether or not Justin Trudeau is handsome.

Plus, a discussion about whether the Conservative Party can build credibility when it comes to environmental policy. Featuring Mark Cameron of Canadians for Clean Prosperity and Jason Thistlethwaite, assistant professor at University of Waterloo's environment faculty.

Ep.52 - Are Libertarians Conservatives?  

Matt Bufton is a proud Libertarian who does not want to be lumped in with Conservatives.


With the Conservative leadership race picking up steam, Matt, executive director of the Institute for Liberal Studies, tells us why the Conservatives don’t represent his values… and why he has to look to the past for political role models.


Tannara Yelland tells the story of 21-year old Breanna Kannick, who died in remand in Saskatchewan last September. 



A bill proposes parties face penalties unless they put (nearly) an equal number of men and women on the ballot.



Ep.51 - How to Make Poor People Disappear (Census Edition)  

People lost their minds when the long form census came back, after being replaced by the voluntary National Household Survey. But why does it matter?


David Hulchanski, a professor at University of Toronto, tells us how the NHS made Canada look more equal than it was.


Dillon Black from the group Queering613 talks about issues for trans and gender non-binary people in the census.


Plus, why is the government considering giving a billion dollars to a company owned mostly by a single family? We hear from Mike Moffatt, assistant professor at the Ivey Business School at Western University and Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. 

Ep.50 - Debating Same-Sex Marriage and Other Ways to Stay Irrelevant  

Conservatives may finally decide toembrace gay marriage at a policy convention later this month. Ormaybe not. More than a decade after same-sex marriage was legalisedin Canada, the party still defines it as a union between one manand one woman.


BC’s Premier is under attack forconflict-of-interest, relating to over $300,000 in salary top-upsand a bunch of expensive fundraisers. The Tyee’s legislative bureauchief Andrew MacLeod fills us in on the time she told him the moneywas for a car allowance.


Newfoundland and Labrador’s budgetsituation has gotten so bad that the province is shutting down morethan half of their libraries. Memorial University economist AlisonCoffin (who ran for the provincial NDP in the last election) talksabout what got the province to where it is today.

Video player is in betaClose