How Toronto's Papers Covered the Brexit Fallout
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered the Brexit Fallout

In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of Toronto’s major dailies.

What a difference a few days make. Since the last edition of Front Page Challenge, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, a stunning turn of events leading to the resignation of the prime minister, revolt within the Conservative and Labour parties, the collapse of the pound, skyrocketing racial tensions in the U.K., Britain’s AAA credit rating dropping down two levels, and the British empire becoming a laughing stock. It culminated metaphorically in their football team’s defeat in the Euro quarterfinals to…Iceland?

Which of Toronto’s papers is all over this developing story, and which one has its fingers in its ears saying, “Lalalala this isn’t happening I can’t hear you”?


globe june 28
The Globe and Mail


The Globe provides front-page coverage of the Brexit fallout: except for one story about unscrupulous practices in the B.C. real estate industry uncovered in a recent Globe investigation, it’s all about the spiralling collapse of Britain, with the England team’s stunning loss to Iceland in yesterday’s Euro quarterfinal served up as a metaphor for the chaos. The Globe reports on how the blowback from Brexit is leading to a spike in hate crimes and racial abuse in the streets of England, the sudden lack of political will in the country to push forward with “the will of the people” while plans are growing in Brussels to speed up the Brexit process regardless of the UK’s desires. This has led to the growing suspicion in some circles that the U.K. will not actually leave the EU because of how damaging to the Kingdom it would be to proceed with the decision.


post june 28
National Post


The Post provides the most Brexit-centric front page this morning. The paper softpedals the pressure the Brexit results have placed on the splintering and soon-to-be-leaderless Conservative government, focusing instead on the revolt within the opposition Labour Party against its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as dozens of his cabinet and inner circle have resigned en masse and may well trigger his exit from Parliament. Andrew Coyne’s column makes A1 this morning, waxing enthusiastically about “the merits of open borders” as Britain sails into uncharted economic waters with a reduced credit rating that may hamstring their trading clout. And in a throwback to the Cool Britannia era of the late 90s, the Post explains why the pro-Brexit side tend to be Oasis fans (keeping migrants out by putting up a Wonderwall?) while Blur fans tend to be pro-EU (better for the Girls & Boys who wish to still be able to work in Europe?).


star june 28
Toronto Star


The Star tries to cover a little bit of everything this morning, giving some space on the front page to the Brexit angst (situated below the fold). But the top story is a Star exclusive on a recent Osgoode Hall Law School grad who was denied a request to go on a police ride-along as part of his criminal law studies due to having been carded (for previous “associations” with persons with “serious criminal records”). He has now filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging discrimination by the police that may have compromised his law career (he has no criminal record). The Star also covers the news of continuing mercury testing on contaminated First Nations territory, and the continuing shakeup at Hockey Night In Canada, with Rogers admitting their first two years running the program have been a “ratings disaster.” And out of the Star‘s pun factory, the Iceland victory at the Euro is described as a “soccer shocker.”


metro june 28
Metro Toronto


This morning’s Metro only tangentially refers to Brexit on top of the front page, as the EU situation can be interpreted as one of the “major issues facing North America” at the “Three Amigos” climate change meeting in Ottawa, where apparently the three NAFTA leaders will also be dealing with…cookies? Metro‘s top story grapples with the country’s red-hot housing market, where even a semi-detached house in Toronto can sell for upwards of $1 million. Will the feds intervene before the bubble bursts? The paper also features a story on how Google’s new “symptom search” feature is leading to concerns that it will exacerbate the medical misinformation that springs from people self-diagnosing their ailments using search engines, leading to panic that their nagging headache is possibly an indicator of a growing brain tumour, etcetera.


Toronto Sun


sun june 28
The Sun‘s front page is pretending all this international chaos isn’t happening. For the second straight week in Front Page Challenge, the Sun has retreated to the comfy confines of the world of hockey with their sentimental tribute to former Leafs GM Pat Quinn, about to be posthumously inducted into the Canadian Hockey Hall Of Fame. “Irish Eyes Are Smiling” is the closest the Sun comes this morning to mentioning anything about the European Union. The paper also breathlessly reports on the return of Ron MacLean as the host of Hockey Night In Canada, great news for the supposedly disgruntled hardcore hockey fans who didn’t care for the hipster host stylings of George Strombouloupoulos, the Eve Harrington to MacLean’s Margo Channing as the Sun would have it. There is no mention of Brexit woes on the Sun‘s front page—they don’t even take the sporty bait of the completely humiliating England loss in the Euros yesterday that resulted in the immediate resignation of the team’s head coach, Roy Hodgson, and the launch of a million Brexit jokes. You would think Anglophilic Sun would come rushing to the defence of Dear Old Blighty in their time of need but not this morning, alas.


This week’s winner: The Globe wins this week with its decision to feature the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as Iceland kicked the England team when the country was down. It seems England forgot the old saying, “Cheykjavik before you Reykjavik.” This victory brings the Globe within striking distance of finally leaving the basement of our weekly standings.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Metro 9
Toronto Star 9
Toronto Sun 8
National Post 5
Globe and Mail 4


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