From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Genremedia criticism, Canadian politics, art and art criticism
Created byJesse Brown
Original releaseOctober 5, 2013 (2013-10-05) – present Edit this at Wikidata

Canadaland is a Canadian news site, podcast, and podcast network that was created and published by Jesse Brown in 2013.[1][2] By the fall of 2018, Canadaland featured podcasts on the media, art and culture, cooking, medicine, and politics; among these are Commons, launched in 2015, and Oppo, launched in 2018.[3] Canadaland has been funded partly through advertisements, and since 2014, through the crowdfunding site, Patreon.

In October 2018, Canadaland featured a five part podcast called Thunder Bay narrated by Anishinaabe comedian, and writer, Ryan McMahon.[4]

Canadaland network[edit]

Canadaland podcast was launched in the fall of 2013.[5] By 2015, it had become a "podcast network and a news organization with staff".[6] The original Canadaland podcast covered predominantly Canadian media and media criticism. By September 2018, the Canadaland podcast network also included Commons, a politics podcast[3] Imposter, an art and art criticism podcast;[3] Oppo, a politics podcast; Taste Buds, a food and food critic podcast;[3] and Wag the Doug, an ad-hoc, irregularly scheduled podcast about Ontario Premier Doug Ford.[3]


In 2015, Commons was launched as a "politics show for people who have been neglected by legacy media" with "activist and journalist" Desmond Cole and Andray Domise as hosts.[6][7] According to a 2015 article by Jonathan Goldsbie, at a meeting held as part of a province-wide public consultation on carding, Cole confronted then-Toronto police chief Mark Saunders on "whether he ha[d] data to back up his assertions about [its] usefulness".[8] In the same article, Domise described an incident that took place when he was fifteen. After being stopped by police who asked if he was carrying weed in his backpack, he ended up "cuffed, on the ground, while the officers dumped out the contents of my backpack. In front of my peers at school."[8] In 2015, Elizabeth May appeared as a guest on The Commons.[9] On their December 16 podcast, Cole interviewed three family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW).[10] In 2015, over 12,000 listeners downloaded the show weekly.[6]

In 2016, the most downloaded episodes of the Commons were "Legal Weed is Bad for Poor People", "Don't Let Harper Happen Here: Wab Kinew on Entering Politics", "White Men Gotta Speak on This", "The Government Finally Admitted They Illegally Spy On Us and Nobody Cares", "Drunk on Liberal Power", and "Kellie Leitch on Anti-Canadian Values."[11]

Now hosted by Arshy Mann, the focus of The Commons will be on corruption in Canada in the 2018-2019 season.[12]

The Imposter[edit]

Canadaland's art and art criticism show, The Imposter was launched in 2016.[3][11] In their first year, the most downloaded episodes were "Brushes With Drake", "Spoiler Alert", "Degrassiland", "Tanya Tagaq is Unreconciled", and "Sex Canoe".[11] Artist, Aliya Pabani, is the show's host and producer.


OPPO, a politics podcast, was launched on February 6, 2018 with journalists Jen Gerson and Justin Ling as co-hosts, presenting opposing views on various politic-related topics. The producer is David Crosbie.


By March 2018, Canadaland Media's DDx, a new medical show, which was the "first program from Canadaland's new branded podcast unit, Earshot, ranked as "one of the top medical podcasts in iTunes’ Canadian and U.S. rankings".[13]

Cool Mules[edit]

The investigative six-part series Cool Mules, topped itunes most popular podcast charts for several weeks. It tells the story of former VICE Canada Media editor, Yaroslav Pastukhov (aka Slava Pastuk), who abused his authority to manipulate interns, young journalists and a model into smuggling $20 million worth of cocaine to Australia.[14] The series included a series of exclusive interviews with Pastukhov, who ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison.[15][16]

Thunder Bay[edit]

In this five-part 2018 podcast series entitled Thunder Bay, McMahon builds on the meticulous investigation by Toronto Star reporter Tanya Talaga—published in an award-winning 2017 book Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City.[17] In Seven Fallen Feathers, Talaga described the deaths of seven youths in Thunder Bay, Ontario, revealing shoddy police investigations, and systemic racism, facing Indigenous youth, their families, and communities. Talaga began investigating the deaths in 2011. She wrote, "I can't imagine having to send them 500 kilometers away to go to school. I find it incredibly difficult to fathom that we don't have school for Indigenous kids in their communities. This isn't right. I knew I had to write this book. I had to do it." She began the book in 2016, and wrote it in one year.[18] Shortly after Talaga published Seven Fallen Feathers, McMahon pitched the idea of a podcast about Thunder Bay to Brown and they launched a crowd-funding campaign.[19]

In the podcast, McMahon opened up the shady nature of the city's authorities.[17][20][21]

Management and staff[edit]

Canadaland's staff reporters include Allison Smith, Ryan McMahon, Jaren Kerr, and Jesse Brown, among others.[22][1][23]

Jesse Brown is the founder, host and publisher. David Crosbie is the producer and host of OPPO and Short Cuts. Jen Gerson is an OPPO co-host, OPPO, Jonathan Goldsbie is news editor and a co-host of Wag the Doug, Allie Graham is a producer, Justin Ling is a co-host of OPPO, Arshy Mann is a host and producer of the COMMONS. Corey Marr is head of business development and ad sales. TK Matunda is a producer of the COMMONS. Ryan McMahon is the host of Thunder Bay. Kevin Sexton is the managing editor of podcasts. Allison Smith is the co-host of Wag the Doug.[1]

Canadaland podcast[edit]

Brown launched his podcast and blog called Canadaland in October 2013.[24] In an article in the Times Colonist, Mike Devlin described Brown as the "controversial host of the popular Canadaland podcast and crowdfunded news site."[25] Devlin wrote that Brown was "polarizing...mostly because of his irreverent critiques and smart-ass attitude" whose "media and cultural critiques" are handled in a "gloves-off manner."[25] According to Devlin, Brown became "something of a bad boy in Ontario" for attacking Canadian media "sacred cows" such as The Globe and Mail. In his 2014 article in The Walrus, Brown described how guest journalists were reluctant to appear on the program until his "first big scoop", less than six months after the podcast was launched.[24] Brown, and Canadaland, by extension, earned "credentials", and "journalistic credibility" with stories such as the February 2014 "scoop"[24] on The National anchor Peter Mansbridge.

Stories covered[edit]

Since the fall of 2013, Canadaland "has spilled secrets about newsroom misdeeds, broken stories about TV journalists taking money from groups they cover, and challenged reporting that [Jesse Brown] he believe[d] has fallen short."[5] This included the February 2014 story about Mansbridge, who had been paid $28,000 to speak at a December 2012 Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) event.[26] This raised conflict of interest concerns as Mansbridge had accepted money from an entity with a vested interest in the oil sands issue, a topic Mansbridge regularly reported on from a national platform. The story got picked up on by The Huffington Post,[27] Vice,[28] and reporter Andrew Mitrovica,[29] forcing Mansbridge to address the issue,[30] sparking a lively debate in the Canadian mainstream media outlets.[31][32][33][34][35] CBC Ombudsman Esther Enkin investigated the issue, concluding there was no problem with Mansbridge taking money to speak before an oil lobby group, though adding that CBC should "think about the appearance of getting paid by interest groups who are likely to feature prominently in the news".[36][37][38][39]

Although, Canadaland does not believe that their show was the sole catalyst, by April 2014 CBC announced changes in its rules regarding speaking engagements for its journalists.[40][41]


In 2016, the most downloaded episodes of Canadaland were "How To Save Our CBC", "Notes on the Ghomeshi Trial", "White Pundits Matter", "Edmonton Is Weird", and "Newfoundland Is Screwed."[11]

Media response[edit]

The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt compared Brown to an "action star in a Hollywood blow-'em-up: throwing fireballs and kicking asses" but added "he has a track record of playing fast and loose with facts".[5]

In the Toronto Life review of Toronto's most "addictive podcasts" in 2016, Vibhu Gairola, included Canadaland. Gairola wrote that "Unless you’re a journalist, you probably know Canadaland as that podcast that broke the Ghomeshi scandal". While Canadaland self-described as a "non-sensationalist watchdog and a flag bearer for responsible reporting", Brown is known for routinely challeng[ing] and condemn[ing] the big names in Canadian news." Gairola compared Canadaland to "earnest whistle-blowing of TVO’s The Agenda With Steve Paikin or HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.[42]

National Post's Christie Blatchford wrote that Canadaland's 2017 fake obituary[43] by "Indigenous activist and freelance writer" Robert Jago on Canadaland's website, of the Post's founder, former publisher, columnist, and Blatchford's former employer—Conrad Black—was "vicious", "petty and unfunny."[44] Blatchford called it a "a cruel and juvenile piece that no newspaper would ever publish, let alone with such relish. It shames the profession."[44]


Viewers and downloads[edit]

A year after the podcast was launched, it was attracting about 10,000 listeners every week.[45] By late 2018, Canadaland's five podcasts reached 100,000 weekly listeners.[46]


Canadaland has been funded partly through advertisements, and since 2014, through the crowdfunding site, Patreon.[45] Canadaland publishes an annual "Transparency Report" that details their finances."

Their most successful fundraising Patreon campaign, was the 2017-2018 pitch by Ryan McMahon, for Canadaland's investigative podcast, Thunder Bay.[4] McMahon pitched Thunder Bay as the S-Town, of the north,[19] in reference to the popular investigative journalism podcast by producers of Serial about a town in Alabama.[47] By November they had surpassed their "funding threshold",[19] an unprecedented success.[4] McMahon, was "blown away by the support—not just from people across the country, but within Thunder Bay itself."[4]

National NewsMedia Council[edit]

Canadaland is a member of the National NewsMedia Council (NNC), a national independent press council, established in 2015 to improve media transparency and accountability in Canada. The NNC replaced regional press councils in their role of overseeing complaints from the general public regarding Canadian news media.[48] There are over 400 newspapers including major newspapers, such as the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, Macleans, Montreal Gazette, Postmedia, the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Journal, and Sun Media that are members of the Council.[49]

The Canadaland Guide to Canada[edit]

In her review of Jesse Brown's 2017 book The Canadaland Guide to Canada,[50] author Charlotte Gray described Jesse Brown as a "crowdfunded media critic and self-described 'public irritant'"[51] Gray cited Brown in describing Canada as "shapeless, beige haze," that we created and that "it's time we grew up and told the truth."[51]



  1. ^ a b c "About & Contact - CANADALAND". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  2. ^ Jake Brennan. "The man behind Canadaland".
  3. ^ a b c d e f Canadaland. "Canadaland Podcasts".
  4. ^ a b c d Salmi, Kirsti (December 31, 2017). "Canadaland Turns Podcasting Perspective to TBay". Thunder Bay, Ontario: The Walleye Magazine. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Houpt, Simon (May 12, 2018) [January 16, 2015]. "Journalist Jesse Brown is quick to expose the failures of Canadian media. But what about his own?". The Globe and Mail.
  6. ^ a b c "2015 Transparency Report". Canadaland. January 21, 2016. p. 9. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  7. ^ "Andray Domise". Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA). March 22, 2015. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Goldsbie, Jonathan (September 4, 2015). "The most uncomfortable and necessary conversation in Toronto". NOW Communications Inc. Retrieved October 23, 2018. When the province held a public consultation on carding, it kind of blew up in their faces. And that's a good thing.
  9. ^ "Elizabeth May". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  10. ^ "Families of MMIW: "What can we do tomorrow?"". December 16, 2015. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d "2016 Transparency Report". Canadaland. n.d. p. 9. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  12. ^ "The Weekly Briefing". Broadcast Dialogue. September 27, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  13. ^ Lloyd, Jeromy (March 16, 2018). "Canadaland Media's branded podcasts debut with a hit". Media in Canada. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved October 23, 2018. Earshot's new DDX show is reaching the top of iTunes' medical charts in Canada and the U.S.
  14. ^ "Hipster drug mules and sci-fi musicals: What to watch and listen to while hunkered down at home". CBC. March 22, 2020.
  15. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (December 3, 2019). "Former Vice editor gets nine years in prison for recruiting young drug mules for massive cocaine smuggling ring". National Post.
  16. ^ "You Should Be Thankful". The A.V. Club. February 15, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Wilson, Kim. "Murder Bay: Investigations into the deaths of Indigenous youth". Canadian Dimension.
  18. ^ Patrick, Ryan B. (September 27, 2017). "Why Tanya Talaga wrote a book about the lives and deaths of 7 Indigenous students in Thunder Bay". CBC.
  19. ^ a b c McIntosh, Emma (February 15, 2018). "What's next for Canadaland's Thunder Bay podcast?". Ryerson Review of Journalism. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  20. ^ "Chapter 2: Clowns". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  21. ^ McMahon, Ryan (November 2017). "Thunder bay Episode 2 Clowns". Thunder Bay, Ontario: Jesse Brown.
  22. ^ "Jaren Kerr, Author at CANADALAND". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  23. ^ "Jesse Brown, Author at CANADALAND". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  24. ^ a b c Brown, Jesse (June 4, 2014). "Nobody's a Critic: Who holds journalists to account in Canada?". The Walrus. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Devlin, Mike (May 11, 2017). "Jesse Brown turns book tour into comedy act". Times Colonist. Victoria, British Columbia. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  26. ^ Brown, Jesse (February 26, 2014). "Oil Sands Group Confirms Paying Peter Mansbridge - it wasn't just Rex". Canadaland. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  27. ^ Bolen, Michael (February 26, 2014). "Peter Mansbridge Was Paid By Oil And Gas Lobby For Speech". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  28. ^ McGuire, Patrick (February 26, 2014). "Peter Mansbridge Got Paid to Speak to an Oil Industry Crowd". Vice. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  29. ^ Mitrovica, Andrew (February 27, 2014). "You've got some explaining to do, Mr. Mansbridge". iPolitics. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  30. ^ Mansbridge, Peter (February 27, 2014). "Speaking of Speeches..." Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  31. ^ Mertl, Steve (February 27, 2014). "First Murphy, now Mansbridge: CBC personalities under fire for oil industry connections". Yahoo! News. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  32. ^ "Peter Mansbridge receives speaking fees from oil industry group". As It Happens. February 27, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  33. ^ Houpt, Simon (February 28, 2014). "Among journalists, Mansbridge has plenty of company in taking private speakers' fees". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  34. ^ Mallick, Heather (February 28, 2014). "Mansbridge shouldn't moonlight for oil cash: Mallick". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  35. ^ McQueen, Cynthia (March 6, 2014). "CBC's Peter principle". Now. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  36. ^ Conflict of Interest Wednesday, March 12, 2014;March 12, 2014
  37. ^ CBC Ombudsman;March 12, 2014
  38. ^ Uechi, Jenny (March 13, 2014). "CBC should stop journalists like Rex Murphy from taking speaking fees: Ombudsman review". The Vancouver Observer. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  39. ^ Hume, Jessica (March 15, 2014). "Peter Mansbridge did nothing wrong: CBC ombudsman". Toronto Sun. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  40. ^ McGuire, Jennifer (April 24, 2014). "Review of speaking engagements". Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  41. ^ Bolen, Michael (April 24, 2014). "CBC Changes Rules After Furor Over Speaking Fees For Peter Mansbridge And Rex Murphy". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  42. ^ Gairola, Vibhu (March 17, 2016). "The city's most addictive podcasts". Toronto Life. Retrieved October 23, 2018. Podcast fiends have a new batch of homegrown options. Here, we break down the most binge-worthy of the bunch
  43. ^ Jago, Robert (September 6, 2017). "For Future Use: An Obituary For Conrad Black". Canadaland. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  44. ^ a b Blatchford, Christie (September 8, 2017). "Conrad Black is not dead and a juvenile attempt at an obituary cannot make him so". National Post. Retrieved October 24, 2018. Black has his acolytes and detractors, equally rabid probably, and is well able to defend himself, but Canadaland's fake obituary of him was petty and unfunny.
  45. ^ a b Brown, Jesse (October 5, 2014). "Patreon dot com slash Canadaland". Canadaland. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  46. ^ "Jesse Brown on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  47. ^ Locke, Charley (March 28, 2017). "The Creators of 'Serial' Are Back With 'S-Town,' a Binge-Ready New Podcast". WIRED.
  48. ^ English, Kathy (November 9, 2015). "The launch of the National Newsmedia Council recognizes the reality that news now has no borders". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  49. ^ "List of members". National NewsMedia Council. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  50. ^ Brown, Jesse; Mochama, Vicky; Zarzycki, Nick (May 2017). The Canadaland Guide to Canada. p. 256. ISBN 9781501150630.
  51. ^ a b Gray, Charlotte (May 12, 2017). "Review: Jesse Brown's The Canadaland Guide to Canada and J.C. Villamere's Is Canada Even Real?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 23, 2018.

External links[edit]