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Good morning, and welcome to the weekend.

Grab your cup of coffee or tea, and sit down with a selection of this week’s great reads from The Globe and Mail. In this issue, reporter Kelly Cryderman sits down with Danielle Smith to discuss the Alberta politician’s journey from leader of the now-defunct Wildrose Alliance in 2009 to her current bid to return to the Alberta premier’s office – this time with the voters’ blessing. “I’ve had some wrong turns, that’s for sure,” the United Conservative Party Leader told Kelly. “But I always look at every blunder that I’ve had as being a learning experience – and I’ve had a lot of blunders, which means I’ve learned an awful lot.” Some Albertans may not see it that way. Ms. Smith told Kelly that at the High River diner she runs with her husband, one customer recently complained about her politics. Her response? “I hope you enjoyed your Eggs Benedict, sir.”

Adrian Morrow reports on a Stronach Group-owned horse racing track that is shining a spotlight on the sport’s safety after two horses died in back-to-back races.

And does artificial intelligence play the role of friend or foe when it comes to creative industries? Joe Castaldo looks at how the debate is unfolding among Canada’s voice-acting communities.

This week, we asked Globe editors to share their thoughts about the stories written by their reporters and featured in Great Reads.

If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for Great Reads and more than 20 other Globe newsletters on our newsletter sign-up page. If you have questions or feedback, drop us a line at

Alberta’s Danielle Smith is hoping for a new chapter after May 29 election

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Leader of the United Conservative Party in Alberta Danielle Smith in Calgary, Alberta, May 3, 2023.Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

Alberta is no stranger to political intrigue. The last year saw the governing United Conservative Party roiled by internal conflict stemming mostly from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. But emerging from the political wilderness was someone familiar to Alberta voters – Danielle Smith. The former Wildrose leader, shunned in conservative circles after a disastrous floor-crossing debacle nearly a decade ago, emerged to take the reins as premier after Jason Kenney fell out of favour last fall. The Globe’s Kelly Cryderman sat down with the former talk-radio host and lightning-rod of a leader to talk about her past, her present and what she plans to do if she wins the provincial election on May 29.

– Mark Iype, deputy national editor and Alberta bureau chief

Renewed scrutiny over Stronach Group-owned race track puts spotlight on safety of horse racing

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Horses on the track at Laurel Park on May 7, 2023, in Laurel, Maryland.TNS/ABACA/Reuters

Belinda Stronach, a former cabinet minister and the famous daughter of an auto magnate, is Canadian royalty in the horsey set. When Washington correspondent Adrian Morrow informed me that two of the Stronach Group’s race tracks were in talks with the state of Maryland for upgrades, I said that was a story of interest to Globe readers. One of the tracks, Laurel Park, was temporarily closed after two horses died in consecutive races last month. The other track is Pimlico, home of the Preakness, a jewel in the Triple Crown of U.S. horse racing, Morrow writes, which is being run this Saturday.

– Angela Murphy, foreign editor

AI is coming for voice actors, but some see an opportunity

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David Ciccarelli, chief executive officer of, is pictured inside his London, Ontario, office.Mark Spowart/The Globe and Mail

As AI continues its cross-industry invasion, those employed within the creative industries have been largely split on whether the tech is a threat to livelihoods, or a creative boon – to say nothing of the debate swirling over its moral and ethical implications. This week, Joe Castaldo looks at how that specific debate is unfolding within Canada’s community of voice actors, after a London, Ont.-based studio launched a platform that would allow them to clone their voices for future, AI-generated work. It’s a hyper-focused, discipline-specific look at what is sure to be the defining creative issue of the decade.

– Rebecca Tucker, deputy editor arts and books

No wonder Alberta is on fire. We made this planet into a volcano

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Hot and dry conditions are expected to continue as wildfires throughout western Canada have forced thousands of evacuations and air quality warnings due to smoke as far east as northern Ontario.HO/The Canadian Press

I’ve long been an admirer of John Vaillant’s books, and had the pleasure of publishing his work in The Globe and Mail on several occasions. When I learned John was publishing a new book about the catastrophic 2016 wildfire that tore through Fort McMurray, Alta. – and how these types of fires are increasing in both size and regularity due to climate change – I reached out to him to see if he’d like to contribute a piece to the Saturday Opinion section outlining the risks our country – and many parts of the world – face as the planet grows hotter. Neither of us could have known, though perhaps we should not have been surprised, that the week he filed a first draft Alberta would declare a state of emergency, as the province battled what Premier Danielle Smith called “unprecedented” wildfires. Unprecedented? Anyone who’s been paying attention understands this is the new normal, Vaillant argues. The question is: What will we do about it?

– Mark Medley, deputy opinion editor

Readers are trouncing The Globe in the Investing Club challenge

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Illustration by Melanie Lambrick

A few months ago, Ian McGugan had a fun idea: The Globe’s investing writers should pool their collective wisdom and create a list of intriguing stocks. We’d track their performance for a year and see whether our investing gurus had the knowledge and strategic savvy to beat the market. Then, Ian raised the stakes, asking readers to submit stock picks of their own. We pitted our professional prognosticators against our readers to see whose picks performed better. And thus, the Globe Investing Club was founded. It’s the third month of the contest and it’s a good thing that we’re having fun – because our experts are taking a beating.

– James Cowan, investing and personal finance editor

Home brewing beer attracts savers and savants alike

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ISTOCK/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

While many domestic pandemic hobbies have petered out, brewing has only become more popular. With the price of beer rising from inflation, we wanted to know if this trend spoke to the collective desire for increased self-sufficiency, or if it was truly a passion project for beer aficionados. If, like many Canadians, you are kicking off outdoor party season this Victoria Day weekend (also known as “May 2-4″ weekend, in reference to a 24-bottle case of beer), this story may just inspire you to set the patio with some home brew of your own.

– Aruna Dutt, deputy pursuits editor

Getting the pitch ready at BMO Field

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Head groundsman, Robert Heggie, for Toronto's BMO Field, poses for a photograph in Toronto, Ontario, on April 15, 2023.Tijana Martin

Someone at a sports department story meeting asked: “Being home to two pro-sports teams, how tough of a job is it to keep the grass at BMO Field in top condition?” None of us had an answer, so Paul Attfield asked Robert Heggie. The first groundskeeper in the club history, Heggie has been tending greens since he was a teenager. Now, armed with $10-million worth of “toys” and facing increasingly erratic seasonal weather patterns, his never-ending challenge to maintain the field makes a great story for the long weekend.

– Jamie Ross, sports editor

Drawn from the headlines

“AI threatens humanity’s future, 61% of Americans say” – Reuters, May 17, 2023, as drawn by Kagan McLeod for the Globe and Mail.

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Illustration by Kagan McLeod for the Globe and Mail

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