Dig into politics from the best seat in the House with host Fatima Syed

The Backbench

Moving to a weekly schedule beginning March 15, 2022


Host Fatima Syed and her diverse crew of panelists re-invented the Canadian politics show during the last federal election. Canadians got to hear political analysis that did not come from Parliament Hill insiders trading barbs on strategy, or partisan talking points. Instead, The Backbench delivered a funny, candid, and real show about the politics that really matter to everyone –  bringing it back to the people and away from stuffy insiders. The result was the #1 ranked Canadian politics podcast, according to Apple. In one stellar special episode in which Fatima spoke with a supporter of the extreme Right-wing People’s Party of Canada, listeners heard a rare and valuable discussion between two people who vigorously disagree, but who found common ground as human beings. Now, Fatima and company will build on their success with a move to a weekly schedule.


The Backbench offers sharp and in-depth analysis from different vantage points with their rotating roster of panelists from across the country: Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Jason Markusoff, Drew Brown, Emilie Nicolas, Jaskaran Sandhu, Murad Hemmadi, Leena Minifie, Caroline Elliott, Riley Yesno, and Stuart Thomson. Guest appearances have included current and former MPs Dan Albas, Lori Idlout, Romeo Saganash, Catherine McKenna, Peggy Nash and Kenny Chiu. We’ve also had Toronto Star reporter Joanna Chiu, a PPC voter Derek Taylor and a disenchanted NDP voter Des Bisonnette.

Now, the podcast will be bringing listeners twice the amount of
The Backbench, moving to a weekly release schedule. As well, every other week, the show will break from their panel format for something different: an episode featuring a voice that is impacted by or impacting federal politics currently. These conversations will offer an unexpected angle, humanizing the political story of the week.


The first episode of this new format will come out on March 15, 2022, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

About Fatima Syed

Fatima Syed is a Mississauga-based journalist, Ontario reporter for The Narwhal, and host of The Backbench podcast. She has reported for the Toronto Star, National Observer and The Logic. Fatima reports on all things to do with politics, climate, race and business. Her journalism niche is all things complicated and largely uncovered. Fatima is a Digital Publishing Award winner (Best Editorial Package), a National Magazine Award finalist (Best Essay) and a National Newspaper Award finalist (Breaking News). She has been published in two Coach House anthologies: Subdivided: City-building in an age of hyper-diversity and House Divided: How the missing middle will solve Toronto’s housing crisis. Fatima is the vice-president of the Canadian Association of Journalists. She helped establish a mentorship program for all journalists by recruiting some of the biggest names in Canadian media.

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