Podcast News

5 questions with the co-hosts of Party Lines 

On launch day, we caught up with the new co-hosts of Party Lines, Rosemary Barton and Elamin Abdelmahmoud, to ask a few get-to-know-you questions.

Rosemary Barton and Elamin Abdelmahmoud are here to get you election ready

Elamin Abdelmahmoud and Rosemary Barton take a deep breath, fresh off recording the first episode of Party Lines. (Kristin Nelson/CBC)

Any day now, the writ will drop, Parliament will dissolve and Canada's next Federal election will officially begin. 

Party Lines — a new political podcast from CBC News and CBC Podcasts — is here to make sure that, come voting day, you're election ready. 

Rosemary Barton (The National) and Elamin Abdelmahmoud (BuzzFeed News) have teamed up to deliver a political primer for every kind of concerned citizen. Each episode will take you beyond the talking points and provide the insights you'll need to navigate the upcoming federal election.

On launch day, we caught up with the new co-hosts to ask a few get-to-know-you questions. 

1. So, why the name Party Lines? (Also: do you remember telephone party lines?) 

Party Lines is a political primer for every kind of concerned citizen. From CBC News and CBC Podcasts. (CBC)

Elamin: I don't know how young you think I am?!

Yes, I remember telephone party lines. But no, these are not the kind of Party Lines we're getting into. Any election is an exercise in evaluating each party's official lines and whether you believe them, and since we're keeping a close eye on what leaders and parties say and how it changes throughout the campaign, Party Lines seemed like a fitting way in!

Rosie: That's right, the name speaks to the lines a political party might have, the direction they might take, the way they define themselves and, yes, it also makes us think of shared telephones lines.

And hey, if you feel like you're eavesdropping on a call when listening to us, we are doing our job!

2. How would you describe your dynamic? What do you like most about each other?

Rosie: We're still getting to know each other, but the chemistry is great, serious but open to great big laughs … something we both have. I like that Elamin thinks really differently than I do and that makes me consider things differently too!

Elamin: I think we're insightful and thoughtful about politics while still finding the space to laugh. A lot of us have become cynical about the political sphere and I like that, despite that, Rosie lives and breathes politics and that passion really shines through 

Our Canadian political culture tends to be on the buttoned up side, and so a lot of our political discussions end up being Very Serious, or even a little grave. On Party Lines, we'll inject our discussions with humour and (I hope you find) it's fun and informative to listen to!

Elamin and Rosie take their first in-studio selfie. (Rosemary Barton/CBC)

3. This podcast is a side hustle for both of you. For those who don't know you, what are your main day jobs? 

Elamin: I write Incoming, the daily BuzzFeed News morning newsletter. Basically, I wake up unreasonably early and I write a newsletter that is in your inbox by the time you get your day started, telling you what you missed in the world.

Rosie: I am one of the co-hosts of The National, CBC's flagship newscast. I'm based in Ottawa and primarily cover politics.

4. What are some of the key story lines you'll be watching in the lead up to the election?

Rosie: This could change on a daily basis! But all of these leaders are trying something they haven't done before: Trudeau, running on a record;  Singh and Scheer as first time party leaders; May, as a leader with a little momentum and Bernier as a leader who is running a first time party. That's a lot of firsts and that could make things pretty interesting.

Elamin: So many. Here are a few: I'm watching the polling success of the Greens (and the NDP's worries about them) closely. I'm wondering if the Liberals will be able to repeat the success they had in Ontario's 905 region. I'm paying attention to all efforts to change the channel — for the conservatives, to keep the conversation on the ethics commissioner's report, and for the Liberals to shift it to Andrew Scheer's views on same-sex marriage and abortion.

5. So, where will you be on the actual election day? (After voting, of course.) 

Rosie: I'm hosting CBC's election night special on TV, so I'll be in Toronto doing some rehearsals, drinking coffee and getting 10 pounds of make up applied to my face. It's my first time hosting the election special and I'm very honoured and excited.

Elamin: Ah, for me this is yet to be decided. I'll keep you in the loop.

Want to keep up with Party Lines?

Listen for free at cbc.ca/partylines or on your favourite podcast app — including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. And if you're new to podcasts, start here