128 episodes

COMMONS is a documentary podcast that proves Canada is anything but boring. Each season, host Arshy Mann guides you through the country’s dark underbelly, bringing you stories about crime, corruption and all manner of misdeeds.
This season: stories of how these monopolists bullied their way to the top, strangled their rivals, and cornered their markets with help from the government.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

COMMONS Canadaland Politics

    • News
    • 4.4 • 61 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

COMMONS is a documentary podcast that proves Canada is anything but boring. Each season, host Arshy Mann guides you through the country’s dark underbelly, bringing you stories about crime, corruption and all manner of misdeeds.
This season: stories of how these monopolists bullied their way to the top, strangled their rivals, and cornered their markets with help from the government.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Monopoly 13 - The Irvings

    Monopoly 13 - The Irvings

    For almost a century, the Irving family has run New Brunswick like a personal fiefdom. They own the newspapers, the industry, and, according to some, even the government. So how does a single family come to so thoroughly dominate an entire province? And what happens when that family starts to fracture and split apart at the seams?
    Featured in this episode: Bruce Livesey (Thieves of Bay Street).
    To learn more:
    “Are the Irvings Canada's biggest corporate welfare bums?” by Bruce Livesey in National Observer
    Irving vs. Irving: Canada's Feuding Billionaires and the Stories They Won't Tell by Jacques Poitras
    “Irving family's fortunate son explains how he fell into a dark depression, and rose again” by Erin Anderssen” in The Globe and Mail
    Additional music:
    I dunno by grapes (c) copyright 2008 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: J Lang, Morusque
    “A List of Ways to Die” by Lee Rosevere, “Easy Life” by Lee Rosevere, and “Androids Always Escape” by Chris Zabriskie, adapted.

    Sponsors: Douglas, Athletic Greens


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 36 min
    Monopoly 14 - Where the Sidewalk Ends

    Monopoly 14 - Where the Sidewalk Ends

    Google, one of the world’s great tech monopolies, wanted to make a “smart city,” full of sensors and robots and self-driving cars.

    Toronto, one of the world’s most insecure cities, wanted a big tech firm to put it on the innovation map.

    What resulted was not exactly a match made in heaven.

    Featured in this episode: Josh O’Kane (Globe and Mail), Kurtis McBride

    To learn more:

    Sideways: The City Google Couldn’t Buy by Josh O’Kane

    “Sidewalk Labs document reveals company’s early vision for data collection, tax powers, criminal justice” by Tom Cardoso & Josh O’Kane in The Globe and Mail

    Additional music from Audio Network

    Monopoly 12 - Overdrawn

    Monopoly 12 - Overdrawn

    Not only do the Big Five banks get away with charging exorbitant fees for basic services. Not only do they block any competitors by controlling Canada’s payment infrastructure. Not only are they totally entwined with the federal government. 
    But the Big Five banks are about to get even bigger.
    Featured in this episode: Colin Deacon, Keldon Bester, Alex Vronces
    To learn more
    “How blocked mergers foiled banks' ambitions — and forced the Big Six to innovate” by James Bradshaw in The Globe and Mail
    “How the push to modernize Canada’s payment systems went off the rails” by Jon Victor in The Logic
    “How the Big Five banks control how money moves in Canada” by Alex Vronces in Policy Options
    “RBC-HSBC banking merger is a slide to monopoly – Canada should just say no” by Keldon Bester in The Globe and Mail
    Credits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Associate Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor) 
    Sponsors: Rights Back At You, Athletic Greens
    If you value this podcast, Support us! You’ll get premium access to all our shows ad free, including early releases and bonus content. You’ll also get our exclusive newsletter, discounts on merch, tickets to our live and virtual events, and more than anything, you’ll be a part of the solution to Canada’s journalism crisis, you’ll be keeping our work free and accessible to everybody.
    You can listen ad-free on Amazon Music—included with Prime.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 20 min
    Monopoly 11 - Flight Risk

    Monopoly 11 - Flight Risk

    It’s been a hard few years for Canadian air passengers. And while no one blames the airline oligopoly for COVID or winter storms, air travellers have had to put up with a lot.
    But Canada has consumer protections to make sure that when something goes wrong, there’s a fair process in place to make sure everyday Canadians don’t get screwed over, right? Right??!
    Featured in this episode: Gábor Lukács, John Gradek
    To learn more
    “Canadian airline regulator’s stance on refunds aligned with execs’ requests from days earlier, emails show” by Christopher Reynolds in Canadian Press
    “This Nova Scotia man’s fight with an airline pulled back the curtain on a flawed passenger-protection act, an adjudicator says” by Steve McKinley in Toronto Star
    “Ottawa ‘not hiding’ from holiday travel chaos fallout, transport minister says” by Sean Boynton & Aaron D'Andrea in Global News
    Credits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Associate Producer), André Proulx (Production Coordinator)
    Sponsors: Douglas,
    If you value this podcast, Support us! You’ll get premium access to all our shows ad free, including early releases and bonus content. You’ll also get our exclusive newsletter, discounts on merch, tickets to our live and virtual events, and more than anything, you’ll be a part of the solution to Canada’s journalism crisis, you’ll be keeping our work free and accessible to everybody.
    You can listen ad-free on Amazon Music—included with Prime.


    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 30 min
    Monopoly 12 - Overdrawn

    Monopoly 12 - Overdrawn

    Not only do the Big Five banks get away with charging exorbitant fees for basic services. Not only do they block any competitors by controlling Canada’s payment infrastructure. Not only are they totally entwined with the federal government.

    But the Big Five banks are about to get even bigger.

    Featured in this episode: Colin Deacon, Keldon Bester, Alex Vronces

    To learn more

    “How blocked mergers foiled banks' ambitions — and forced the Big Six to innovate” by James Bradshaw in The Globe and Mail

    “How the push to modernize Canada’s payment systems went off the rails” by Jon Victor in The Logic

    “How the Big Five banks control how money moves in Canada” by Alex Vronces in Policy Options

    “RBC-HSBC banking merger is a slide to monopoly – Canada should just say no” by Keldon Bester in The Globe and Mail

    Credits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Associate Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor)

    Monopoly 10 - The Way the Music Died

    Monopoly 10 - The Way the Music Died

    ♩♪ A long, long time ago, I can still remember
    How the music used to pay my bills
    I knew that if I got my break
    That I could be as big as Drake
    And then I could stop shopping at No Frills ♩♪
    ♩♪ But Spotify, it’s nearly killed us
    Ticketmaster’s ground us to dust
    The companies got too large
    Now monopolies are in charge ♩♪
    ♩♪ And the record labels I fear the most
    Have all just merged and so now we’re toast
    Don’t you think it’s just so gross?
    The way, the music, died ♩♪
    Featured in this episode: Simon Outhit, Cory Doctorow
    To learn more
    Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We'll Win Them Back by Rebecca Giblin & Cory Doctorow
    “'A public relations nightmare': Ticketmaster recruits pros for secret scalper program” in CBC News by Dave Seglins, Rachel Houlihan & Laura Clementson 
    “We went undercover as ticket scalpers — and Ticketmaster offered to help us do business” in Toronto Star by Robert Cribb & Marco Chown Oved
    “Is Live Music Broken? It’s Not Just Ticketmaster, It’s Everything” in The Ringer by Nate Rogers
    A Statement From Live Nation Entertainment
    Credits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Associate Producer), André Proulx (Production Coordinator)
    Sponsors: Douglas, Athletic Greens 
    If you value this podcast, Support us! You’ll get premium access to all our shows ad free, including early releases and bonus content. You’ll also get our exclusive newsletter, discounts on merch, tickets to our live and virtual events, and more than anything, you’ll be a part of the solution to Canada’s journalism crisis, you’ll be keeping our work free and accessible to everybody.
    You can listen ad-free on Amazon Music—included with Prime.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
61 Ratings

61 Ratings

St.Giroux ,

Excellent journalism, lackluster production

This season on corruption features the excellent investigative reporting I’ve come to expect from Canadaland and its affiliated shows, however, elements of the production make Commons an aggravating listening experience. Audio packages and soundbites fluctuate from inaudibly quiet (see: Barack Obama in the first minutes of episode 3; many of the bed music interludes), to in-the-red loud at other moments. In one single segment, around 20:00mins in ep. 3, host Arshy Mann’s voice goes from too-quiet to too-loud with no interlude. It’s a fantastic show, but the listening experience both in headphones and external speakers, is poor.

hardtolisten22334 ,

some of the best journalism out there

u want in depth investigative analysis without the cringeworthy and effete liberal/conservative biases of the CBC or the extreme Right reactionary tendencies of the Sun? then check this pod out. truly top notch journalism, and many timely topics are covered. this season on canada’s real estate problem is already shaping up to be a much needed dose of sensibility, and an excellent companion to their previous season on canada’s dynasties. their prior season on policing was excellent too. i mean, its all good, imo, so i cant recommend enough that u check it out!

KateC247 ,

Canadian authoritarian approach to corruption

sounds great at first, but then after you listen to a little bit you realize that they have the same authoritarian personality that so many other Canadians have. Basically lobbying for more police, more laws, more restrictions on fundamental liberties, they might as well go work for CBC.

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