What to Listen to — Podcasts about True Canadian Crime, Politics, and More


Has anyone heard of The Left-Right Game? I was intrigued – being on the left of the left/right game. It’s a bit British and a lot American. It’s a rather thrilling sci-fi series which you can get where you get podcasts. The acting’s great.


I often listen to Espionage, it’s a series of podcasts you can find through Parcast. It’s  also available where you get your podcasts. I liked the two-part series on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. espio2The ending sure focuses the mind.  Recently I heard the two-part podcast about Lona and Morris Cohen. These two New Yorkers worked flawlessly for the Soviets until the early ‘50s, when the FBI was in hot pursuit. The best piece of spy craft came during the Manhattan project, when Lona managed to hide valuable blueprints in the bottom of a Kleenex box. Relocating to a suburb of London, they continued their spycraft.



Soviet spies Morris and Lona Cohen, known as Mr and Mrs Kroger in London, on a flight.

Rather than being executed as the Rosenbergs were, they lived together– healthy and happy in retirement in downtown Moscow.

Of course for a podcast about Canadian politics and the media you can’t go wrong with Canadaland.


Its creator and host Jesse Brown, based in Toronto, is a bit hard to take because he has to insert himself into every interview and then he argues with the guests. But it’s all part of the charm and the jousting of this generally left of centre podcast. canadaland2  Lately he’s been doing short “Isolation Interviews” with people as disparate as Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth May and journalist Robert Jago. I found them delightful; you really get a sense of what’s happening in famous and not so famous lives of thoughtful Canadians.

BBC Drama is quite amazing – the sheer variety of radio plays, new playwrights, and political drama is worth listening to.   I was impressed by The Bulbul Was Singing here.

bulbulThe drama is  about a young British Muslim woman who goes to Syria to fight with the Kurds and, on her return to the UK, faces terrorism charges.  Another drama is The Lights which  is about exploited foreign immigrants to the UK, listen here.


Canadian True Crime

I’m a sucker for true crime. So Canadian True Crime is a delight to me. Usually it’s simply murder and mayhem, but the host is an Australian, Kristi Lee, who emigrated with her family to the Toronto area a few years ago. She researches and writes documentaries on the crime cases—then simply reads what she has written for us to hear!   I just heard her series on the Dennis Oland murder trial.

 court drawing; the brown jacket with tiny blood stains– key evidence which convicted Dennis Oland at the first trial; also:  sketch of Richard Oland’s office– you can see where his body was found.

I thought I knew it all because, here in the Maritimes, the media exploited the case mercilessly.  As you’ll remember, in the first trial, Dennis Oland was  convicted of killing his father; he was exonerated at the second trial.  Richard Oland was VP of Moosehead Brewery and owned  other companies too. His wealth was estimated to be about $30 million. In 2011, Oland Sr.  was found slain in his office in downtown St John, NB in a shockingly bloody crime scene.  There were many facts and bits of evidence I never knew – so what I thought would be a routine “oater” was quite fascinating, and well done.

Canadian True Crime also did a couple of shows about the 1992 killing of nine men—scabs – in a planned explosion at the Giant gold mine in Yellowknife, NWT. I was impressed because Kristi had no anti-union animus, and she gave a more than fair presentation of the murderer – and the victims. This took place during a violent strike at Giant which was owned by Royal Oak Mines. It was co-owned by Peggy Witte, a formidable union buster who demanded workers take a 6% wage cut. Lee Selleck’s book, Dying for Gold, is excellent.

A while ago I wrote Kristi to suggest she look at the case of Mark Stobbe who was tried for killing his wife.  Of course having once lived in Saskatoon, I knew Stobbe as the assistant to former Saskatchewan NDP premier Roy Romanow.   Stobbe was an NDP apparatchik in the ‘90sstobbe

Stobbe is in the centre.

Almost anyone, even on the vague left in Saskatchewan, knew who Stobbe was. He was charged 8 years after the murder. In a spectacular two month trial –where Mark Stobbe took the stand in his own defence – a jury acquitted him.   That is a story worth telling…stobbe2


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s