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COMMONS

CANADALAND

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, we’ll make you question everything you thought you knew about what makes a “cult.”




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Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

CANADALAND #914 Stock Buybacks: How Grocers Eat Themselves
03-01-2024
CANADALAND #914 Stock Buybacks: How Grocers Eat Themselves
This episode was originally published on August 28th, 2023. Listen to Monopoly 1 - Lost in the Supermarket and Monopoly 17 - Food FightIn the past several years, Loblaws, Metro and Empire have spent billions on their own stock – And at a time of food price inflation and grocery workers on strike. Why are they doing it? And why do some economists say stock buybacks should be abolished?  Featured in this episode: William Lazonick, professor emeritus of economics at University of MassachusettsJim Stanford, director of the Centre for Future Work Further reading:Profits Without Prosperity, William Lazonick, Harvard Business Review“The American disease’: Canadian companies pouring cash into stock buybacks as backlash grows abroad, Geoff Zochodne, Financial PostStriking Metro workers say they face challenges affording the very food they sell, Canadian Press Host: Jesse Brown Credits: Cherise Seucharan (Reporter), Jonathan Goldsbie (News Editor), Tristan Capacchione (Audio Editor and Technical Producer), Bruce Thorson (Senior Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief)Sponsors: Douglas, AG1If 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.
CULTS 9 - Romana’s Reign
13-12-2023
CULTS 9 - Romana’s Reign
Romana Didulo, the self-proclaimed Queen of Canada, is unlike almost any other cult leader Canada has ever seen. In an incredibly short amount of time, she’s been able to gain a mass following, despite her absurd claims and alarming rhetoric.At various points, she’s claimed to be a political leader, a monarch, an interdimensional being communing with aliens, and so much more. She’s urged her followers to take up arms and execute migrants on sight.And now, she’s taken up residence in a small Saskatchewan town that doesn’t know what to do.Featured in this episode: Mack Lamoureux (VICE News), Peter Smith (Canadian Anti-Hate Network), Hugh EverdingTo learn more:“A QAnon Cult Set Up a Compound in a Small Town. The Locals Are Fighting Back” by Mack Lamoureux in VICE News“Self Declared Queen Of Canada Calling For US Supporters To Invade Canada And Prepare To Execute “Traitors”” by Peter Smith in Canadian Anti-Hate NetworkThe Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything by Mike Rothschild Credits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief) Additional music from Audio NetworkSponsors: oxio, 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.
CULTS 8 - The Eye of the Pyramid
06-12-2023
CULTS 8 - The Eye of the Pyramid
Multi-level marketing isn’t based on rational business logic. It’s not even built on irrational business logic. It’s ideology. It’s faith.MLMs have become such a ubiquitous part of North American life that their tenets are rarely ever questioned. The sector holds enormous political sway. Millions of people join, leave and rejoin every year, almost all of them ending up poorer for the experience.And to call it a cult is not just a cute turn of phrase. The cultishness of MLMs is essential to their success.Featured in this episode: Robert L. Fitzpatrick, Julie AndersonTo learn more:Ponzinomics: The Untold Story of Multi-Level Marketing by Robert L. Fitzpatrick“How lobbying dollars prop up pyramid schemes” by Matt Stroud in The VergeYouTube: @JulieAndersonvideosAmway: The Cult of Free Enterprise by Stephen ButterfieldCredits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Aviva Lessard (Additional Production) Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief) Additional music from Audio NetworkSponsors: Douglas, Oxio, 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.
CULTS 7 - Hey #Bossbabe!
29-11-2023
CULTS 7 - Hey #Bossbabe!
Nearly 1.4 million Canadians and almost 50 million Americans are involved in multi-level marketing. And that sheer volume of people makes it a near certainty that you’ve encountered MLMs in your life somehow.The promise of financial freedom can be an intoxicating lure. But MLMs, like so many other cultish enterprises, are about more than just money. They’re about transcendence.And in their wake, they often leave behind ruined livelihoods and broken lives. Featured in this episode: Julie Anderson, Amanda Montell, Robert L. Fitzpatrick, Marco Moukhaiber To learn more:Ponzinomics: The Untold Story of Multi-Level Marketing by Robert L. Fitzpatrick“'They have you in a cultish grip': the women losing thousands to online beauty schemes” by Amelia Tate in The GuardianYouTube: @JulieAndersonvideosYouTube: @AlwaysMarcoCultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda MontellCredits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Aviva Lessard (Additional Production) Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief) Additional music from Audio NetworkSponsors: Oxio, Athletic GreensIf 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.
CULTS 6 - Being a Blackmore
22-11-2023
CULTS 6 - Being a Blackmore
Mary-Jayne Blackmore is one of the oldest children of Winston Blackmore, the most famous polygamist in Canada. For decades, her family has been the subject of intense media and legal scrutiny because of her father’s 27 wives and 150 children. Their lives have been dissected in documentaries and in court testimony.The name Blackmore has become synonymous with either faith-based persecution by the state or with cult-like religious fundamentalism that victimizes girls and women.But for Mary-Jayne, these kinds of black-and-white portrayals miss so much about what it’s been like being a Blackmore.To learn more:Balancing Bountiful: What I Learned About Feminism From My Polygamist Grandmothers by Mary Jayne BlackmoreThe Bishop of Bountiful B.C. by the CBC’s Fifth EstateUnder the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon KrakauerCredits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief) Additional music from Audio NetworkSponsors: Canva, 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.
CULTS 5 - Alien Superstar
15-11-2023
CULTS 5 - Alien Superstar
In 1973, a French motorsports journalist claimed to have been visited by a UFO that revealed to him the secret origins of humanity. For the next half-century, the man known as Raël would go on to create a new faith with tens of thousands of adherents all around the world. The media have portrayed the Raelians as not just a cult, but a strange phantasmagoria of extraterrestrials, orgies and clones. But its followers insist it is the only true path forward for humanity.Featured in this episode: Nicole Bertrand, Susan J. Palmer, Harold HenningTo learn more:Aliens Adored: Raël’s UFO Religion by Susan J. PalmerThe Prophet and the Space Aliens by Yoav ShamirThe UFO sect campaigning against female genital mutilation by Monica Mark in The Guardian Credits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief) Additional music from Audio NetworkSponsors: 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.
CULTS 4 - The Cult Wars
08-11-2023
CULTS 4 - The Cult Wars
An explosion of new spiritual movements in the 1970s led to the creation of an entirely novel academic field. But right from the beginning, the discipline was riven asunder.The Cult Wars have been raging for decades. They’re fought not only in academic journals and conference seminars, but in the press, the courts and in legislative assemblies. And their battles continue to have enormous consequences.Featured in this episode: Michael Kropveld, Stephen A. Kent, Susan J. PalmerTo learn more:“Caught Up in the Cult Wars: Confessions of a New Religious Movement Researcher” by Susan J. Palmer in University of Toronto Press“Life after Doomsday: Tracking cult activity from a Montreal storage locker” by Simon Lewson in The WalrusMisunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field edited by Benjamin Zablocki & Thomas RobbinsCredits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief) Additional music from Audio NetworkSponsors: OxioIf 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.
CULTS 3 - MKUltra
01-11-2023
CULTS 3 - MKUltra
In the 1960s and 70s, there was a fear that cult leaders were brainwashing young people into joining their new, strange movements. But is it even possible to “brainwash” anyone?At a psychiatric hospital in Montreal, one mad scientist, with the help of the CIA, tried to find out.Featured in this episode: Alison Steel, Lisa EllenwoodTo learn more:Brainwashed by Michelle Shephard, Lisa Ellenwood & Chris Oke on CBC PodcastsThe Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control by John MarksFather, Son and CIA by Harvey WeinsteinMK Ultra: CIA mind control program in Canada by CBC’s The Fifth Estate“Federal government quietly compensates daughter of brainwashing experiments victim” by Elizabeth Thompson in CBC NewsCredits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief) Additional music from Audio NetworkSponsors: Douglas, OxioIf 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.
HOCKEY 7 - Blood on the Ice
05-07-2023
HOCKEY 7 - Blood on the Ice
Derek Boogaard made his living pummeling people on the ice. But outside the arena, he was soft-spoken and kind.Fighting was just his job. But it would end up taking everything from him.Hockey fights, and the numerous blows to the head that players have to endure, have become a moral crisis at the very heart of the sport. And the NHL is doing everything they can to deny the science and allow this gladiatorial combat to continue.And it’s enforcers like Derek Boogaard who end up paying the price.Featured in this episode: John Branch (The New York Times), Jeremy AllinghamTo learn more:Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard by John BranchMajor Misconduct: The Human Cost of Fighting in Hockey by Jeremy Allingham“Years after his son's death, Len Boogaard on quest to end fighting in hockey” by Roy MacGregor in The Globe and Mail“Brain Trust: Big questions surround the most influential concussion research on the planet” by Jeremy Allingham in CBC News“NHL commissioner disputes link between hockey and CTE brain disease” by H.J. Mai in NPR Morning EditionCredits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor)Additional music from Audio NetworkSponsors: Oxio, 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.
HOCKEY 6 - The Problem Hockey Won’t Name
28-06-2023
HOCKEY 6 - The Problem Hockey Won’t Name
The Hockey Canada scandal has become one of the biggest stories in the country. And now, hockey appears to be in the middle of a reckoning. But this isn’t the first time. There was another moment, just like this one.Back then, people tried to warn the hockey world — they were ignored. And even today, the sport won’t name the very specific issue they face. Hockey has a gang rape problem. Featured in this episode: Alexis Peters, Laura RobinsonTo learn more:Crossing the Line: Violence and Sexual Assault in Canada's National Sport by Laura Robinson“Hockey Canada sexual assault scandal” in The Globe and Mail“Hockey Canada, CHL settle lawsuit over alleged sexual assault involving World Junior players” by Rick Westhead in TSN“Toxic masculinity is part of elite hockey. We need a culture shift” by Alexis Peters in CBC Calgary“‘We haven’t learned a damn thing’: Sexual violence is embedded in junior hockey culture” by Ian Mendes, Dan Robson, and Katie Strang in The AthleticCredits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor)Additional music from Audio NetworkSponsors: Airbnb, Oxio, Better Help, 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.