Episodes

  • When the province goes to the polls next Monday, a referendum on sovereignty won't be on the table. Also, the Parti Quebecois are running a distant third, at best. And the Liberals are no shoe-in, either. There's a fresh party's populist push against more immigration. Oh, and there's also radical left party eating up an increasingly significant amount of the vote, if you believe the polls. This is the dawn of a new era in Quebec politics and the rest of the country needs to pay attention.

    Elias Makos of Breakfast television in Montreal gives us a look at the big picture with less than seven days to go before the vote. Then, Canadian Press reporter Giuseppe Valiante takes us out on the hustings to explain the appeal of Coalition Avenir Quebec's populism and break down why Quebec solidaire--a party without an official leader--might just be writing the new blueprint for progressive politics in Canada.

  • An annual survey by the Ontario Science Centre finds a startling contradiction among Canadians: Almost all of us believe science benefits us, and a large majority say we need it to solve the problems of the future—but a growing number of us feel threatened by it, or even categorize it as opinion. When you read a Facebook post on a miniature wireless computer held in the palm of your hand, and that post tells you vaccines cause autism…that’s the kind of contradiction we’re dealing with.
    Scientific advancement has been the hallmark of modern civilization, and we need it now more than ever. So where does the mistrust come from, and why is it growing? More importantly, how can we explain science in such a way that people see it as reliable and believable, rather than as a set of findings that can be written into screaming headlines and used to sway emotions? Dr. Maurice Bitran is the CEO of the science centre, and he shows us what we’re getting wrong when we talk about the latest study.

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  • When Donald Trump got elected, Canada thought it would never happen here. Then it kinda did. And it might happen again next year. There’s no high and mighty in politics anymore—around the world leaders who are shattering political norms are winning leadership votes and election, and the traditional political system doesn’t know what to make of them, and their rivals don’t know how to fight back.
    This is the politics of chaos. When you throw out the unwritten rules that have governed political behaviours in countries like Canada, what are you left with? Not enough to hold down a leader who doesn’t think traditional norms apply to them. And what comes after that is anyone’s guess—but it’s a future we need to prepare for. Justin Ling, who wrote immediately after Doug Ford’s election that he would govern just as he’d campaigned, digs into where the chaos came from, and if it’s possible for us to ever return to the normal politics we once took for granted.

  • The retail plans change province to province. So do the number of stores. The bylaws on where you can smoke pot change by municipality, and sometimes building to building. Enforcement of infractions will likely change depending on who’s doing the enforcing. So yeah, you could say there’s a lot still to be decided about how recreational marijuana will actually function when it becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17.
    Jason Markusoff of Maclean’s has exhaustively combed through the details to paint us a picture of what the rollout of legal pot will look like in Canada, what’s still to be done and what’s simply gonna have to be figured out later. How ready is Canada for Oct. 17? It mostly depends on where you live.

  • A radical proposal from a concussion symposium this summer left us wondering as training camps open: What would the NHL look like if you removed body contact from the game? It sounds drastic, but when former bruiser and Hall-of-Famer Eric Lindros is proposing it as perhaps the only way to protect players in the long term, it’s worth considering. After all, there’s no hitting in women’s hockey, and that game has given us some true classics in recent years. 
    But could you ever hope to sell that approach to millions of fans raised on Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em hockey and thousands of players trained to pride themselves on toughness? Even if it produced a cleaner product on the ice? Postmedia’s national hockey writer Michael Traikos attended the symposium, spoke to Lindros and is about to embark on another year covering a game that will see dozens of players laid low by brain injuries during the coming season. So, we asked him: Does it have to be this way?

  • Every month, new statistics show the staggering number of women killed by men as a result of misogyny. It’s common enough that there’s a term for this: Femicide. From three murders in August to new September numbers that show 106 victims of femicide in 2018 in Canada, this is the crisis nobody has a plan to combat. What criteria defines a femicide? How can we identify women at risk before it happens? And why are so many of these deaths linked to misogyny? 
    There’s been an increasing focus on violence against women in recent years, but that hasn’t resulted in a drop in the number of murders. What factors are at play and why hasn’t all our talk about awareness done anything? Guest host Sarah Boesveld sits down with Pamela Cross, a feminist lawyer and director of Luke’s Place, a clinic that offers legal advice to women who have been victims of domestic violence, to explain.

  • The past few months have not exactly been kind to Canada’s Prime Minister, so maybe he’s anxious to change the narrative heading into what should be a lively fall parliamentary session. Or maybe he just wants to chat. Either way, tonight, Justin Trudeau sits down for an hour of live, unfiltered conversation with Maclean’s journalist Paul Wells. And we have a lot of questions about how it happened and what’s coming when the cameras come on.
    There’s a lot to cover here—but what we’re most interested in is how these rare sit-downs work. Why would Trudeau agree to it when it seems he has way more to lose than gain? How do the pre-interview negotiations go? How do you get a world leader off his scripted answers and hold him to account on real issues? And what do you do if the interview goes sideways?
    If you’ve ever wondered about the inner workings of journalists’ attempts to get honest answers from world leaders who may do their damnedest to avoid giving them, you probably want to listen to Wells talk you through the prep work before you watch what happens when the two meet on the stage.

  • Five months ago, a tragic bus accident broke a team, shattered a town and transfixed the world. Somehow, less than half a year later, the Humboldt Broncos are back on the ice, and the town that loves them packed their arena this week for the team’s first home game since the crash that killed 16 people. What does one game mean to a town that lost everything? Will a hockey game ever be about hockey again in Humboldt? And what did it take for the team and the town to make sure there were sticks on the ice for the opening of the 2018-19 season.
    Today on The Big Story, Ryan McKenna, Canadian Press correspondent for Saskatchewan, takes us back to Humboldt five months ago, and inside the arena on Wednesday night, to trace the path the town had to walk to get their beloved Broncos back into their skates, and to raise far, far too many jerseys into the rafters.  

  • This is a story about storms and the people who try to figure them out. A hurricane is about to slam into the Carolinas. It’s not a normal hurricane, either. Forecasts are calling Hurricane Florence potentially one of the most devastating storms since… Hurricane Harvey. Last year. As the ocean gets warmer, hurricanes get wetter, stronger, and more deadly.

    How is the new reality changing weather models? What’s it like to huddle in a massive weather newsroom and prepare for a marathon of reporting, with thousands of lives at stake? What’s different about Florence, and this year’s hurricane season? How does a meteorologist cope when the most exciting news of the year is also the most depressing? The Weather Channel’s head of America forecast operations Dale Eck brings us into their newsroom during ‘severe mode’.

     

  • You may have noticed more anti-abortion protesters with their infamous graphic signs on Canadian streets recently. You may also have noticed that a vote on the issue at a recent conservative convention was….a lot closer than most people thought it would be. Despite polls showing a majority of Canadians support legal abortions and a woman’s right to choose, today’s pro-life movement has a new message and a new strategy. Those behind it are framing the debate as one of female empowerment, and surgically looking for ridings and candidates who are vulnerable and might be converted to the cause.
    The truth is, while the United States screams about a new justice potentially overturning Roe v Wade, Canada has its own reinvigorated pro-life movement to contend with. If Doug Ford’s election in Ontario was a crack in the bedrock, upcoming votes in Alberta and Nova Scotia could signal a major tectonic shift. And of course, the 2019 federal election looms… Anne Kingston of Maclean’s digs into the movement’s long-term plans to put laws restricting abortion back in the conservative crosshairs.

  • Cybercrime is on the rise. That may come as a shock, given what we know about technology, and all those warnings about how to spot phishing emails. But as tech savvy as you think you may be, a scammer is always aiming to be one step ahead. So how about adding a little cryptocurrency into the mix? Bitcoin ransoms are costing Canadians tens of thousands of dollars each year. Who are the victims of this latest form of cybercrime? Who's behind the threats? How do you even begin to negotiate a ransom involving Bitcoin? What if you don't even know what Bitcoin is?

    Kyle Edwards of Maclean's shares two recent cases of Bitcoin ransom - one involving a mattress store, the other involving an entire beach town. He explains why we don't hear more about these cases, and what police forces across the country are doing to tackle them.

  • Patterned rolling papers, sparkly crystal pipes and eco-friendly vapes that fit in the palm of your hand—weed isn't even legal in Canada yet, but trendy paraphernalia is everywhere. And most of it is being designed with the working millennial woman in mind. She's young and career-driven, and she's hyper-focused on self-care. What’s the marketing approach all about and why is it so different from how pot is being sold to men? Does weed actually have positive health benefits? Does it need to? Can’t women just get high for the sake of getting high? 
    Carley Fortune is the editor-in-chief at Chatelaine magazine. She's not a smoker, but she recently travelled to California to see what the scene is like when cannabis isn't contraband. And as you may have guessed, it's totally different than the sloppy joint you and your friends passed around behind the bleachers in high school. 

  • People under 35 don’t really talk about careers anymore. It’s not because millennials don’t have a work ethic—it’s because the notion of a career barely exist. A recent survey of 1200 young people found that just 44 percent had even managed to find stable, full-time employment. And this isn’t just a millennial problem, despite how often it may be defined that way. Stable jobs are vanishing, replaced by precarious work in almost every industry.
    What does precarious work do to the people who take it because they don’t have anything else? All sorts of things, from the obvious financial impact to physical problems and mental health issues. An even bigger question is: What can we do about it? Are we really expecting governments to solve this by legislating to keep pace with technology? Do we need a new labour movement? Or do we just need to get used to it? Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter at the Toronto Star, chronicles how our jobs are changing, what that’s doing to us, and what comes next.

  • The US president has been threatening tariffs on Canadian cars for more than a year now. But as NAFTA talks resume, experts seem to think Donald Trump has moved closer than ever to making the threat a reality. Yet still, a man not known for his patience hasn’t pushed the shiny red button. Why not? What do we need to understand about the single biggest sledgehammer wielded in US-Canada relations in decades?
    Aaron Hutchins of Maclean's takes us through exactly what happens if Trump makes good on his threat, and helps us understand just how tricky even something as blatantly simple as a blanket tariff can be when it actually takes effect on the ground. How bad would this be? And how would Canadians who don’t work in the auto industry end up paying for it if Justin Trudeau retaliates?

  • It pays these days to antagonize the US president and his fans—at least, that’s what Nike’s betting on. When the world’s foremost athletic apparel giant decided to make NFL-quarterback-turned-justice-advocate Colin Kaepernick the provocative face of its new campaign on Labour Day, they must have anticipated a backlash—but how many flaming pairs of shoes or angry boycotts is worth the notoriety and vocal support Nike received by taking a perceived stand? And does that change when the president inevitably tweets out his opinion?
    It’s a calculated risk undertaken by a company that has always been among industry leaders in brand recognition. And though it’s nice to think that Nike agrees with Kaepernick’s message on racism and police brutality in America, the bottom line is that the company has undoubtedly done its cost-benefit models. Marketing professor David Soberman takes us inside the brand strategy that perhaps makes it worth Nike's while to take political positions with advertising messages - at least in Trump’s America.

  • In just over a month, pot will be legal across Canada. And although October 17th is a day the entire country has been anticipating for a while now, some municipalities feel that it's too soon. One of those is Gimli, Manitoba - a popular beach town about an hour from Winnipeg. Last December, councillors voted, almost unanimously, to ban the retail sale of pot. Kyle Edwards of Maclean's breaks down the decision, and the impact it could have on a town known by many as a summer party hub.

  • Even if you don’t live in Ontario, you might have heard about cheap beer—like, really cheap beer. Buck-a-beer is back in the province - at least for now - because the Conservatives made it a promise to deliver discount suds to the masses by labour day. After this weekend though, one of just three breweries offering the cheap stuff will stop its promotion, and the other two may not be far behind. Will dollar bottles disappear as quickly as they appeared? Yeah, probably. Because there’s a reason beer doesn’t cost a dollar anymore. 
    When premiere-to-be Doug Ford promised during the campaign to bring back buck-a-beer, the key words in that promise were really “bring back”. You may have heard that those who don’t learn from history really are doomed to repeat it. Christine Sismondo, author of the Canadian Moments column in Maclean’s, as well as books on booze, gives us all a remedial lesson.

  • Today’s episode is only depressing if you’ve already given up hope. Sure, it’s hard to worry about the end of humanity from an air-conditioned, Bluetooth-equipped car, streaming your favourite tunes on the way to a supermarket featuring fresh produce flown in from every corner of the globe. But if we’re going to solve the environmental crisis that threatens to wipe out every species on the planet, and then us, we have to find a way to make people worry even when their own lives are good. How do we do that? Storytelling. Empathy. Direct contact with nature. Yes, a few things we’re getting worse at every year.
    Human civilization has so far wiped out 83 per cent of the world’s mammals, half the plants on earth, and 15 per cent of the oceans’ fish. But it’s happened so slowly most of us haven’t been impacted in the slightest. When we talk about climate change, we talk about forest fires and heat waves and adapting to a “new normal”—but that’s the language of acceptance, not resistance. But all is not yet lost. Author and journalist Arno Kopecky shows us that, if the story of a mother orca gone mad with grief for her dead calf can capture hearts around the world, then other stories that put us back in touch with the life around us can do the same thing—and enough of them just might change the world.

  • It's comeback season for disgraced showbiz stars. So how are we going to handle it? On Sunday night, comedian Louis CK returned to his roots at a standup club in New York City for his first live set since he apologized for misconduct with several women (he got a standing ovation). In the past couple of weeks, Kevin Spacey's movie hit theatres (his reception was extremely chilly), Matt Lauer reportedly assured some fans, "Don't worry, I'll be back on TV," and #MeToo implicated stars Mario Batali, Jeremy Piven and Charlie Rose have all started plotting their next moves as well.

    Ten months ago, #MeToo had problematic men in the entertainment industry exiting stage right under clouds of outrage and shame—some vowing to do better in the future, some just running for the door. Now it appears many of them feel their time in the corner is over. Why? You could ask them, but most of them aren't talking. They'd prefer to just get back to work. Should their industries welcome them back? Which ones? Why some and not others? What does a sincere apology even look like these days?!

    FLARE.com's Stacy Lee Kong has covered #MeToo as both a reporter and editor since the movement took the entertainment industry by storm last fall. She explains how far we've come and how far we still have to go.

    Audio credits: Louis CK, MSNBC, AP

  • For Canadians who don't pay much attention to women's golf, this past weekend was something of a revelation. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ontario became the first Canadian woman to capture the Canadian Women's Open in 45 years. Henderson is 20 years old, 5'4", and already owns seven LPGA wins - including a major. She's been playing LPGA events for six years already. The record for a Canadian is eight wins. Did we mention she's only 20 years old?

    Kristina Rutherford of Sportsnet has been covering Henderson for five years now, and has watched her become not just Canada's best female golfer, but Canada's best golfer - period. And maybe Canada's best athlete, too. If you don't know Brooke's story of beating grown women in club championships at age 11 and fist-bumping with the No. 1-ranked player in the world at age 15... you're already late. But fix your mistake now.