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 papers. 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 10 newspapers for the past 11 provincial elections in Ontario. (Last year, I put together a similar article for federal election endorsements, which this article copies some of the text from.)

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

Unfortunately, many of these newspapers don’t have online archives going back to 1981, or have significant gaps between that point and the current day. This resulted in me being unable to include some newspapers I would have liked to, as well as results at several newspapers being incomplete. I reached out to senior editors at all of these publications hoping they could provide the endorsements for me, but they either didn’t respond or didn’t have access to that information. If they happen to respond with this information, I will update the article and graphic accordingly.

You’ll also see that for some of these newspapers (for example, the Toronto Sun) I was able to find results for older elections (in that case, 1981 and 1985) but not more recent ones (in that case, 1987 to 2003). That’s because in these cases I was able to find the paper’s editorial stance recorded in another publication, often through articles rounding up newspaper endorsements for that year’s election. It’s possible these sorts of articles were also published in missing years on the chart. If so, I was unable to find them.

I also labelled newspapers by their most recent title, except in the case of the Guelph Mercury Tribune, as it was created by merging two papers, of which I included the record of just one: the Guelph Mercury.

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 the link to this article. The graphic also contains the ownership of each publication at the time of each endorsement. I will update this article when the 2022 endorsements are released.

Endorsement Tally (1981-2018)

  • Liberal: 36
  • Progressive Conservative: 29
  • None: 14
  • NDP: 4
  • Mixed: 2

Endorsements By Publication (1981-2018)

  • Globe and Mail
    • 6 Liberal (1981, 1985, 1987, 1990, 2003, 2011)
    • 3 Progressive Conservative (1995, 1999, 2014) 
    • 1 None (2018)
    • 1 Mixed (2007)
  • Guelph Mercury
    • 3 None (2011, 2014, 2018)
    • 2 Liberal (1985, 2007)
    • 1 Mixed (2003)
    • 1 Progressive Conservative (1981)
  • Hamilton Spectator
    • 3 Liberal (1995, 2003, 2011)
    • 2 None (1999, 2014)
    • 1 NDP (2018)
    • 1 Progressive Conservative (2007)
  • National Post
    • 5 Progressive Conservative (1999, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2018)
    • 1 None (2003)
  • Ottawa Citizen
    • 5 Progressive Conservative (1999, 2003, 2007, 2014, 2018)
    • 5 Liberal (1981, 1985, 1987, 1995, 2011)
    • 1 None (1990)
  • Sudbury Star
    • 3 Liberal (2003, 2007, 2011)
    • 2 PC (1985, 2018)
    • 1 NDP (2014)
    • 1 None (1981)
  • Toronto Star
    • 8 Liberal (1985, 1987, 1990, 1995, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2014)
    • 2 NDP (1999, 2018)
    • 1 Progressive Conservative (1981)
  • Toronto Sun
    • 5 Progressive Conservative (1981, 1985, 2007, 2014, 2018)
    • 1 None (2011)
  • Waterloo Region Record
    • 5 Liberal (1985, 1995, 2003, 2007, 2011)
    • 2 None (2014, 2018)
    • 1 Progressive Conservative (1999)
  • Windsor Star
    • 5 Progressive Conservative (1981, 1985, 1999, 2014, 2018)
    • 4 Liberal (1987, 1990, 2007, 2011)
    • 2 None (1995, 2003)

Endorsements By Owner (1981-2018)

  • TorStar: 28
    • 14 Liberal (50%)
    • 7 None (25%)
    • 3 NDP (11%)
    • 3 Progressive Conservative (11%)
    • 1 Mixed (3%)
  • Southam: 13
    • 8 Liberal (62%)
    • 3 Progressive Conservative (23%)
    • 2 None (15%)
  • Thomson: 13
    • 6 Liberal (46%)
    • 5 Progressive Conservative (39%)
    • 2 None (15%)
  • Postmedia: 11
    • 10 Progressive Conservative (91%)
    • 1 Liberal (9%)
  • Sun Media: 8
    • 4 Progressive Conservative (50%)
    • 2 Liberal (25%)
    • 1 NDP (12.5%)
    • 1 None (12.5%)
  • CanWest: 6
    • 3 Progressive Conservative (50%)
    • 2 None (33%)
    • 1 Liberal (17%)
  • Hollinger: 2
    • 2 Progressive Conservative (100%)
  • Bell Globemedia: 2
    • 1 Liberal (50%)
    • 1 Mixed (50%)
  • Osprey Media: 1
    • 1 Liberal (100%)
  • Motz: 1
    • 1 Liberal (100%)

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