Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Human and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Carrie Sanders

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor

Second Advisor

Jennifer Lavoie

Advisor Role

Second Reader


Policing in Canada and America has come under the microscope due to several high-profile incidents of police violence against racialized citizens. The murder of George Floyd by officer Derek Chauvin thrust the concept of ‘defund the police’ to the mainstream public dialogue. To date, there are few studies that explore what defund the police means. The present media analysis addresses this research gap by analyzing how Canadian mass media covered the defund police movement. A social constructionist theoretical framework was utilized to analyze 109 newspaper articles on defund the police from The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. The study illustrates how ‘defund the police’ was constructed as a solution to the putative problem of biased policing. However, the way in which the term was typified significantly differed among claims-makers, resulting in a competition within the social problems game. For one group, defund the police was typified as organizational reform and sought to change existing policies and procedures to raise the legitimacy of police, while for the other group it was typified as abolishment with the goal of dismantling policing. The following thesis empirically investigates how this claims-making competition played out within Canadian media sources.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season