It’s a tradition for newspapers to make election endorsements. 

In the past, these endorsements were made by an editorial board, which was granted the privilege of speaking on the newspaper’s behalf. This remains the case at some publications, but at other newspaper chains, the endorsement is crafted by higher-ups and forced on all newspapers. Regardless, these editorials serve as a useful tool to get a sense of a publication’s political leaning, and how it may influence coverage.

I’ve compiled the editorial endorsements of 17 newspapers for the past 13 elections: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021.

Most of the articles I based this research on are publicly available through the Canadian Newsstream database or historical databases for individual newspapers. Others were accessed through a paid-website. I also consulted a few different reviews of newspapers’ federal election endorsements, including one published in 2015 at Torontoist.

You can see the results of my research in the graphic below (or through this link for a larger version), which I encourage you to share on social media along with this article. I have also created a version that lists the newspaper’s ownership at the time of each endorsement, which is included below (and at this link for a larger version.)

Endorsements By Political Party (1980-2021)

  • Progressive Conservative/Conservative: 115 (56 per cent)
  • Liberal: 41 (20 per cent)
  • None: 30 (14.5 per cent)
  • Bloc Québécois: 8 (3.8 per cent)
  • Mixed: 5 (2.4 per cent)
  • Canadian Alliance: 4 (1.9 per cent)
  • NDP: 2 (.9 per cent)
  • Reform: 1 (.5 per cent)

Endorsements By Publication (1980-2021)

  • Globe and Mail
    • 8 Conservative (1980, 1984, 1988, 1997, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015)
    • 3 Liberal (1993, 2000 2004)
    • 2 None (2019, 2021)
  • Toronto Star
    • 12 Liberal (1980, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 1 NDP (2011)
  • National Post
    • 7 Conservative (2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 1 Canadian Alliance (2000)
  • Toronto Sun
    • 12 Conservative (1980, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 1 Mixed (2000)
  • Vancouver Sun
    • 9 Conservative (1980, 1984, 1988, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 2 Liberal (1993, 1997)
    • 1 Canadian Alliance (2000)
    • 1 None (2004)
  • The Province
    • 10 Conservative (1980, 1984, 1988, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 1 None (1993)
    • 1 Liberal (1997)
    • 1 Canadian Alliance (2000)
  • Hamilton Spectator
    • 5 Liberal (1993, 2000, 2004, 2015, 2019)
    • 4 Conservative (1988, 1997, 2006, 2011)
    • 4 None (1980, 1984, 2008, 2021)
  • Calgary Herald
    • 11 Conservative (1980, 1984, 1988, 1993, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 1 None (1997)
    • 1 Canadian Alliance (2000)
  • Edmonton Journal
    • 8 Conservative (1980, 1984, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 4 None (1993, 1997, 2000, 2004)
    • 1 Mixed (1988)
  • Ottawa Citizen
    • 10 Conservative (1980, 1984, 1988, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 2 Liberal (1993, 1997)
    • 1 None (2000)
  • Montreal Gazette
    • 9 Conservative (1980, 1984, 1988, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 4 Liberal (1993, 1997, 2000, 2004)
  • Waterloo Region Record
    • 6 Liberal (1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2015, 2019)
    • 3 Conservative (2006, 2008, 2011)
    • 1 None (2021)
  • Windsor Star
    • 10 Conservative (1980, 1984, 1988, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 1 Liberal (1993)
    • 1 Reform (1997)
    • 1 None (2000)
  • La Presse
    • 6 None (1984, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2019, 2021)
    • 5 Liberal (1980, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2015)
    • 2 Conservative (1988, 2006)
  • StarPhoenix
    • 8 None (1980, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2008)
    • 4 Conservative (2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
    • 1 Mixed (2000)
  • Calgary Sun
    • 6 Conservative (2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2021)
  • Le Devoir
    • 8 Bloc Québécois (1993, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015, 2021)
    • 2 Mixed (2000, 2019)
    • 2 Conservative (1984, 1988)
    • 1 NDP (1980)

Endorsements By Owner (1980-2021)

  • Postmedia: 42
    • 42 Conservative (100%)
  • CanWest Global: 36
    • 21 Conservative (58%)
    • 8 None (22%)
    • 4 Canadian Alliance (11%)
    • 2 Liberal (6%)
    • 1 Mixed (3%)
  • Southam: 36
    • 22 Conservative (61%)
    • 7 Liberal (19%)
    • 5 None (14%)
    • 1 Mixed (3%)
    • 1 Reform Party (3%)
  • TorStar: 26
    • 19 Liberal (73%)
    • 5 Conservative (19%)
    • 1 NDP (4%)
    • 1 None (4%)
  • Sun Media: 13
    • 12 Conservative (92%)
    • 1 Mixed (8%)
  • Le Devoir Inc.: 13
    • 8 Bloc Québécois (62%)
    • 2 Conservative (15%)
    • 2 Mixed (15%)
    • 1 NDP (8%)
  • La Presse Inc.: 13
    • 6 None (47%)
    • 5 Liberal (38%)
    • 2 Conservative (15%)
  • Thomson: 11
    • 7 Conservative (64%)
    • 2 Liberal (18%)
    • 2 None (18%)
  • Hollinger: 7
    • 4 Liberal (57%)
    • 2 None (29%)
    • 1 Canadian Alliance (14%)
  • Sifton: 4
    • 4 None (100%)
  • NordStar Capital: 3
    • 2 None (67%)
    • 1 Liberal (33%)
  • Bell Globemedia 3
    • 2 Conservative (67%)
    • 1 Liberal (33%)

In the future, I will expand this list to go further back. For now, I hope this research proves to be useful for you.

With files from Robert Hiltz.

UPDATE: This article was updated on September 27 to include the chart with newspaper ownership.

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