2019, Podcasts

COMMONS: Dynasties (2019)

This is an interesting but flawed podcast about major recent familial dynasties in Canada. I have a bunch of reservations about it but, given that I know of no other coverage of this subject in Canada, I still recommend it to you if you are at all interested on the impact of inter-generational wealth and success in Canada.

My first reservation is the name and the scope: I tend to think of dynastic families as lasting more than two generations but here most of the families profiles are just that – two generations (of adults, anyway) who have had some recent impact on Canada. Now, maybe pickings would have been really slim if they were looking for more enduring family dynasties but there really wasn’t a discussion of that, as far as I’m aware.

And the selection of which families is also puzzling. The focus is primarily on rich families which went into politics except when it’s not. The weirdest episode is the one on the Harts, who have never been in politics to the best of my knowledge. But there are a couple other episodes where the connections to politics are minor, including the most interesting episode of the show (in my mind). See if you can find the pattern.

And there’s an extremely notable omission if we’re saying a “dynasty” is two generations: the Trudeaus. Why skip them? I have no idea.

Finally, I find some of the episodes too brief. I understand that a show like this is limited by budget but a couple of the more interesting episodes left me with unanswered questions, and I spent a fair amount of time after online looking for more information.

But, putting all this aside, the best episodes are really compelling and interesting and I learned about some powerful Canadian families I have never heard of. That’s a valuable service and I would love to see a second season of the show if only to learn about more powerful Canadian families.

Because, as others have said before me:

  • my councilor is the son of the former head of the NDP (Canada’s third party),
  • my Mayor is the son of a major Canadian lawyer and corporate executive,
  • my Premier is the brother of my former Mayor and the son of an MP, and
  • my Prime Minister is the son of a former Prime Minister.

No matter how much we tell ourselves people get their jobs due to merit, at least in politics they get them from being the sons of politicians and people with ties to politicians.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.