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Canada's addiction to oil. With CRUDE, Canada's top politics podcast dives into stories about oil. The good, the bad and especially the weird.

Canada's addiction to oil. With CRUDE, Canada's top politics podcast dives into stories about oil. The good, the bad and especially the weird.
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Toronto, ON


Canada's addiction to oil. With CRUDE, Canada's top politics podcast dives into stories about oil. The good, the bad and especially the weird.




CRUDE 4 - Orphan Wells: Citizen Con

What happens when the oil wells run dry? Environmental damage, government bailouts and a scheme that some are comparing to the subprime mortgage crisis. And all of this is just the beginning. Featured in this episode: Sharon J. Riley (The Narwhal), Jeff Lewis (Globe and Mail), Alana Bartol (Orphan Well Adoption Agency), Herman, Shirley and Mark Dorin. To learn more: Hustle in the oil patch: Inside a looming financial and environmental crisis by Jeff Lewis, Jeffrey Jones, Chen Wang, Renata...


CRUDE 3 - Let the Bastards Freeze in the Dark

The Alberta oil sands. It’s a cold patch of land (which we once almost nuked into oblivion) that’s become Canada’s economic engine. Governments have fought over it for decades. And now it’s one of the most controversial places on the planet. Will it finally tear our politics apart? Featured in this episode: Mary Janigan, Chris Turner To learn more: Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark by Mary Janigan The Patch: The People, Pipelines, and Politics of the Oil Sands by Chris Turner


CRUDE 2 - Bombs, Blood & the Battle of Trickle Creek

A family poisoned in their homes. Bombs going off in the night. Shots fired and inside jobs. The story of Wiebo Ludwig is There Will Be Blood come to life. So was he a man of faith facing down the full might of Big Oil? Or a terrorist with blood on his hands? Featured in this episode: David York (Wiebo’s War), Levi Ludwig To learn more: Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil by Andrew Nikiforuk Wiebo’s War by David York “Adventures in Wieboland” by Brian Bergman in Maclean’s.


CRUDE 1 - Smell This Town

If you don’t understand oil, you can’t understand Canada. We take you to a place unlike anywhere else in the world, where the booms and busts all began. And find out why just a short distance away, children grow up afraid of the very air they breathe. Featured in this episode: Pat McGee and Charlie Fairbank (Fairbank Oil Properties), Vanessa Gray. To learn more: “Time stands still in oil industry's birthplace” in the Toronto Star by Murray White. “Canada’s Toxic Secret: A troubling...


Introducing Our New Season: CRUDE

Last season Commons covered corruption in Canada. This time around we're talking about Canada's relationship with the oil industry. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the weird.


CORRUPTION 10 - The Canadian Company Accused of Using Slaves Today

Canadian companies have committed all kinds of wrongdoing abroad. But this is on a different level. One Vancouver-based company has been accused by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch of using slaves to build a mine with one of the world’s most oppressive governments. Featured in this episode: Geoffrey York (The Globe and Mail) & Aaron Berhane (Mefti) To learn more: “Canadian miner Nevsun Resources has a tangled relationship with one of the world’s most repressive regimes” in The...


CORRUPTION 9 - Victoria's Secrets

Tens of thousands of dollars in suits, luggage, magazines and mustard. An epic booze heist from the legislature. An undercover legislator exposing corruption. And a wood-splitter that’s transfixed a province. Just another day in the wild world of B.C. politics. Featured in this episode: Andrew MacLeod (The Tyee) To learn more: “Speaker Report Alleges ‘Flagrant’ Misspending by Two Senior Legislative Officials,” in The Tyee by Andrew MacLeod “Whistleblower alleges legislature...


CORRUPTION 8 - Hockey's Hall of Shame

Canada is hockey crazy. But at the heart of the sport is a system of unpaid labour that scars some boys for life. And the teams and leagues are doing whatever it takes to make sure things stay exactly the way they are. Featured in this episode: Scott Wheeler (The Athletic) To learn more: “Hockey’s Puppy Mill” in The Walrus by Nicholas Hune-Brown “How a Dad with NHL Dreams Bankrolled a Hockey Empire” in The Toronto Star by Robert Cribb “Why Junior Hockey’s Financial Statement Should be...


CORRUPTION 7 - The Only Canadian Imprisoned for Insider Trading

One of Canada's most notorious white-collar criminals speaks about his crimes.


CORRUPTION 6 - Charlottetown's Web

It might be small, but it when it comes to graft, Prince Edward Island plays in the big leagues: a secret off-the-books committee, conflicts of interest run amok, public records mysteriously destroyed, a provincial government doing an end-run on the Criminal Code. An inside look at PEI’s long, strange attempt to become Canada’s online gambling hub. Featured in this episode: Robyn Doolittle (The Globe and Mail), Stu Neatby (The Guardian), Paul Maines. To learn more: “Small island, big...


CORRUPTION 5 - The King of Cabbagetown

For twenty years, he's controlled public institutions from behind the scenes. He brags about his connections to organized crime. And he's connected to some of the most powerful people in Canada. So who is the King of Cabbagetown? This follows up on the last episode, "Papa Pump and the Small Town Shakedown." To learn more: "Connected" in The Globe and Mail by Greg McArthur, Karen Howlett and Adrian Morrow. "A ‘Big Fish’ Seeks a Seat at the Toronto District School Board" in The...


CORRUPTION 4 - Papa Pump and the Small Town Shakedown

In the eleven years that Marolyn Morrison was the mayor of Caledon, Ontario, she faced down deep-pocketed developers, mafia enforcers and corrupt federal officials. When millions of dollars are at stake, things get heated. To learn more: "Battleground Caledon" in Toronto Life by Kelly Pullen "Connected" in The Globe and Mail by Greg McArthur, Karen Howlett and Adrian Morrow "Corrupt tax auditor gets three years" in The Toronto Star by Marco Chown Oved


CORRUPTION 3 - The Trouble with Paradise: How Canadians Built the Offshore World

The Panama Papers revealed to the world just how deeply enmeshed tax havens are in the global economy. And for 100 years, Canadian banks, businessmen and politicians have worked to build that offshore system, alongside crooks, fraudsters and corrupt officials. To learn more: Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens by Nicholas Shaxson Canada: A New Tax Haven: How the Country That Shaped Caribbean Tax Havens is Becoming One Itself by Alain Deneault The...


CORRUPTION 2 - How Vancouver Became A Money Laundering Paradise

For years, people could walk into Vancouver-area casinos with tens of thousands of dollars of suspicious cash and walk out with clean money, no questions asked. That money may be fuelling two of the biggest problems the city is facing: the housing crisis and the opiate epidemic.


CORRUPTION 1 - The Most Crime-Ridden Neighbourhood In Canada

This season, Commons will be focusing on stories at the intersection of money, influence and politics in Canada. In this episode, we take you to what may be Canada’s most criminal neighbourhood — Toronto’s financial district. Along for the ride is investigative journalist Bruce Livesey, author of “The Thieves of Bay Street.”


Ep. 97 - What The Hell Is A Fairness Letter?

Mohamed Waleed Taleb is stuck in Turkey. He applied to come to Canada in 2015 and was flagged under section 34 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for his pro-democracy work against the Assad regime. He's responded to the governement's concerns and is now waiting to hear back on a final decision: will he be let into Canada, or will he be deemed "inadmissible". We spoke to Waleed about his experience. We also spoke to his lawyer Pierre Andre Theriault to better understand Waleed's...


Ep. 96 - Canada Is Not Racist... According To The Stats

If you look at the stats, Canada has a low incidence of hate crimes, but the numbers that we rely on to tell us if we're racist or not are wrong. In this episode, we speak to journalist and Executive Director, of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network Evan Balgord who explains why that is. Evan represented the research of Barbara Perry Professor and Undergraduate Program Director, of Criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui PhD Candidate and...


Ep. 95 - What Do Peacekeepers Actually Do?

The Liberal government announced earlier this year that it would send around 200 troops to assist in a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. But what does "peacekeeping" look like in today's world and what do peacekeepers actually do? In this episode, we speak to Major-General Denis Thompson (Retired) and Aisha Ahmad, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, to answer these questions. stions.


Ep.94 - Life In Canada Without Clean Water

Canada has 20 per cent of the world's freshwater and yet some Indigenous communities have not had access to clean drinking water for decades. In this episode, we speak to Rachel Arsenault a master’s student at Laurentian University's Indigenous Relations program who works with Decolonizing Water an Indigenous-led community-based water monitoring initiative. We also speak with Samantha Redsky of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation .


Ep. 93 - The All-White Jury In Canada

The acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the shooting of Colten Boushie sparked outrage across Canada. The anger was further fuelled by the fact that the jury was all white, in a community that had a significant Indigenous population. After the Gerald Stanley verdict, the government proposed sweeping changes to the legal system in Bill C-75. The legal community has been divided on these proposed changes - some say they are an important first step to make juries more diverse, while other say they...