35 episodes

Probing and insightful conversations with Canada's top political insiders, hosted by Althia Raj. A bi-monthly political podcast from the Toronto Star.

It's Political with Althia Raj The Star

    • News
    • 4.5 • 149 Ratings

Probing and insightful conversations with Canada's top political insiders, hosted by Althia Raj. A bi-monthly political podcast from the Toronto Star.

    Is Canada ready for Trump 2.0?

    Is Canada ready for Trump 2.0?

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau managed one chaotic term under U.S. President Donald Trump, and he’s made it clear he’d prefer to continue working with current President Joe Biden. But with the Republican primaries favouring Trump, a divided electorate and a U.S. election this fall, Trudeau faces the possibility of another Trump White House.
    One that’s likely much more unpredictable and isolationist than the first Trump administration.
    Earlier this month, at a campaign rally, Trump suggested NATO countries that don’t spend enough on defence would be left to defend themselves if Russia were to attack. His comments sent shock waves throughout Europe and North America, with experts and politicians warning that undermining NATO undermines the security of all member countries.
    On today’s show, we talk to experts with first-hand knowledge on what a second Trump presidency could mean for Canada and what we should do to prepare.
    In this episode: Canada’s former ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton, Canada’s former ambassador to NATO Kerry Buck, Queen’s University professor emeritus of political science and author of "Canada Alone" Kim Richard Nossal, and retired Lieutenant-General and former Liberal MP and parliamentary secretary for Canada-U.S. relations Andrew Leslie. Hosted by Althia Raj.
    Some of the clips this week were sourced from: CTV, CBC, Global, CPAC, CNBC, PBS, Fox, CP24, and the Associated Press.
    This episode of “It’s Political” was produced by Althia Raj and Michal Stein and mixed by Kevin Sexton. Our theme music is by Isaac Joel.
    Suggested Readings:
    What a Donald Trump victory would mean for Canada's economy Donald Trump's dangerous agenda: Editorial NATO chief hails record defence spending while warning that Donald Trump's remarks undermine security Joe Biden says Donald Trump sowing doubts about U.S. commitment to NATO is 'un-American' Donald Trump stands by remarks about not defending NATO members after backlash

    • 48 min
    Is Canada’s consensus on immigration fracturing?

    Is Canada’s consensus on immigration fracturing?

    For decades, there was solid political and social consensus on immigration in Canada. But recently, cracks in that consensus have emerged.
    In 2023, Canada’s population hit 40 million, after growing by more than a million people in one year. Most of that growth was in temporary residents, such as international students and temporary foreign workers.
    Unlike with permanent residents, Canada doesn’t set targets or caps on how many people enter the country on a temporary status. Amidst a housing crisis and a health care system buckling under the weight of demand, a growing number of Canadians appear to be pointing the finger at policies that allowed for a surge in unplanned growth.
    Last month, in response, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced a two-year cap on international students and a promise to crack down on so-called “puppy mill” private colleges.
    On today’s show, experts discuss what contributed to the breakdown in Canada’s long-held consensus, and Miller sits down for an interview with Althia.
    In this episode: Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller, Toronto Star immigration reporter Nicholas Keung, Place Centre founding director Mike Moffat, Abacus Data CEO David Coletto, Statistics Canada demographer Patrick Charbonneau, Canadian Chamber of Commerce senior vice president Matthew Holmes, Dalhousie University assistant professor of social work Raluca Bejan, Centre for Newcomers chief program officer Kelly Ernst, University of British Columbia post-doctoral research fellow Lisa Brunner and One Voice Canada’s Balraj Kahlon. Hosted by Althia Raj.
    Some of the clips this week were sourced from: Kellie Leitch for Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, YouTube, CBC, CTV, CBC Radio, The Montreal Gazette, CPAC and Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery.
    This episode of “It’s Political” was produced by Althia Raj and Michal Stein and mixed by Kevin Sexton. Our theme music is by Isaac Joel.
    • 4:20 — Mini documentary on public opinion, the rise of unplanned migration and some of its consequences
    • 26:44 — Interview with Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller

    • 1 hr 3 min
    A sit down with the prime minister

    A sit down with the prime minister

    Public opinion polls suggest Canadians have had enough of Justin Trudeau’s government, and yet the prime minister vows to stay on. As 2024 began, Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt sat down with the prime minister for her yearly chat, and she allowed our microphones to listen in.
    This conversation was recorded on Jan. 12 in Guelph, Ont.
    In this episode: Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and Toronto Star National Columnist Susan Delacourt
    Some of the clips this week were sourced from the CBC, ABC, CTV, CPAC, and The Guardian.
    This episode of “It’s Political” was packaged by Althia Raj and mixed by Kevin Sexton. Our theme music is by Isaac Joel.

    • 43 min
    Year-end listener questions on Trudeau, Poilievre, dental subsidy, foreign interference and more

    Year-end listener questions on Trudeau, Poilievre, dental subsidy, foreign interference and more

    It’s been quite a tumultuous year in federal politics, from allegations of foreign interference involving China and India, to the expansion of industrial and dental subsidies, and a rejigging of public support for Canada’s two main parties. We asked Toronto Star readers and “It’s Political” podcast listeners for their questions — and received many probing queries about themes from the last year, especially about the influence of Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre on Canadian politics and the future of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. We gathered a few of our parliamentary journalists to answer them.
    In this episode: National Columnist Susan Delacourt, Ottawa deputy bureau chief Stephanie Levitz and reporter Mark Ramzy join host Althia Raj.
    Some of the clips this week were sourced from CPAC, CBC, CTV, Global, the NDP’s Instagram account, Rex Murphy’s Full Comment podcast and Pierre Poilievre’s Facebook page.
    This episode of “It’s Political” was produced by Althia Raj and Michal Stein. Kevin Sexton mixed the program. Our theme music is by Isaac Joel.

    • 43 min
    Chasing views: How social media is changing Canadian politics

    Chasing views: How social media is changing Canadian politics

    Alberta Conservative MP Damien Kurek was kicked out of the House of Commons this week for using unparliamentary language. Within minutes of his expulsion, Kurek had the video of his outburst up on social media proudly showcasing his outrage at the Liberal government. 
    Last week, another Alberta Conservative, Rachel Thomas, was forced to apologize after requesting Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge stop answering her questions in French and instead use English. Thomas wanted a social media clip her audience could understand.
    Social media is changing the way MPs are behaving on Parliament Hill and it’s increasingly changing the way political parties court support. 
    In this week’s episode of “It’s Political” we take a look at his issue from a number of different angles.
    First, Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt gives us an overview of how political communications has changed during her time in Ottawa.
    Then, MPs Kevin Waugh, Rob Oliphant and Stéphane Bergeron reflect on the demise of local media, where their constituents get their news, and how the new media landscape is changing the way MPs engage with one other.
    Later, I sit down with Canada Proud founder Jeff Ballingall, who worked with both Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and former leader Erin O’Toole, as well as Mélanie Richer, the former director of communications for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and with Cameron Ahmad, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former director of communications.
    And finally, we’ll hear about the impact an MP’s social media campaign recently had on a member of the upper house, Senator Bernadette Clement. 
    In this episode: Toronto Star national columnist Susan Delacourt, Saskatchewan Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, Ontario Liberal MP Rob Oliphant, Bloc Québecois MP Stéphane Bergeron, former Conservative media strategist and Mobilize Media president Jeff Ballingall, former director of communications for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Earnscliffe senior consultant Mélanie Richer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former director of communications Cameron Ahmad, and Ontario Independent Senator Bernadette Clement. Hosted by Althia Raj.
    Some of the clips this week were sourced from CPAC, The Senate, The House of Commons, CBC, Pierre Poilievre’s Facebook page and Damien Kurek’s X/Twitter account.
    This episode of “It’s Political” was produced by Althia Raj and Michal Stein. Kevin Sexton mixed the program. Our theme music is by Isaac Joel.
     

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Is carbon pricing dead?

    Is carbon pricing dead?

    It’s been described as a signature blow to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s signature policy. Last month, the Liberals announced a three-year pause to the application of the carbon price on home heating oil to help ease the costs, especially in Atlantic Canada where it’s used in about a third of all households.
    Climate and energy experts decried it as a weakening of Trudeau’s policy, former environment minister Catherine McKenna condemned the move, and potential leadership candidate Mark Carney said publicly that he wouldn’t have done things that way.
    Provincial premiers, such as Alberta’s Danielle Smith, Ontario’s Doug Ford, British Columbia’s David Ebby, Manitoba’s Wab Kinew, and Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe all called for the carbon price to be eliminated from home heating for all their residents. Moe went so far as to pledge to stop collecting and transmitting the levy on natural gas.
    What was expected by some rural MPs to be a popular announcement, unleashed a huge outcry putting the debate over carbon pricing right back on the front burner.
    This week on “It’s Political” we dig into the carbon pricing debate, with Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, experts Andrew Leach, Dale Beugin and Katya Rhodes, and Liberal MP Kody Blois, whose persistent lobbying led to the policy change.
    4:23.077 - Kody Blois
    17:15.840 - The Case for Carbon Pricing
    39:46.601 - Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault
    In this episode: Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, Nova Scotia Liberal MP Kody Blois, University of Alberta Professor Andrew Leach, Canadian Climate Institute Executive Vice President Dale Beugin, University of Victoria Assistant Professor in climate policy Katya Rhodes. Hosted by Althia Raj.
    Some of the clips this week were sourced from CPAC, The Senate, The House of Commons, The Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery, CBC, Global News, CTV, Pierre Poilievre’s Facebook Page, The Conservative Party of Canada, Scott Moe’s X/Twitter account.
    This episode of “It’s Political” was produced by Althia Raj and Michal Stein. Kevin Sexton mixed the program. Our theme music is by Isaac Joel.

    • 1 hr 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
149 Ratings

149 Ratings

Ottawa News Junkie ,

NS Political Junky

This show is the best in Canada for its deep dive long format and top notch guests. Wish it was weekly.

youngvancouverlistener ,

So needed

I first discovered Althia through her panelist work on “At Issue” and always appreciated the insights she brought to the table, and her willingness to be the one to say “the quiet part out loud” when it’s needed! Getting to benefit from her journalism through a whole podcast has been a dream! Highly recommend adding this show to your rotation of political podcasts if you haven’t already. I look forward to every episode. Thank you for the work you do, Althia!

Barton Singh Raj ,

Liberal Party of Canada propaganda

And some people wonder why public sentiment is in favour of defunding the CBC… This At Issue columnist is so blatantly anti conservative that she makes the other liberals on the panel ( all of them) seem palatable. Crying about P.P. not giving her fodder for her pro liberal agenda articles at press conferences? Gimme a break. Is there an Indeed job category for Government Propaganda Writers she and Aaron Wherry will soon be searching for?

Top Podcasts In News

The New York Times
CBC
Manscorp Media Services
BBC World Service
New York Magazine
The Globe and Mail

You Might Also Like

CBC
CBC
Manscorp Media Services
Air Quotes Media
CBC
Air Quotes Media