John W. Dafoe

John Wesley Dafoe

John Wesley Dafoe (8 March 1866 - 9 January 1944) was a Canadian journalist and Liberal. From 1901 to 1944 he was the editor of the Manitoba Free Press, later named the Winnipeg Free Press. He also wrote several books, including a biography of Wilfrid Laurier. Dafoe was one of the country's most influential and powerful journalists. During his tenure, the Free Press was among the most important newspapers in Canada and was considered one of the great newspapers of the world. His influence extended to the very center of Canadian power, both through his writing and his close relations with his employers, the Liberal Sifton family. Dafoe accompanied Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King to several Imperial confernces and was asked by the Prime Minister to sit on the Rowell-Sirois Commission studying federal-provincial relations. Dafoe opposed appeasement of Fascist dictators and urged the government to prepare for a major war, which he accurately predicted would begin in 1939.

His son Edwin Dafoe also became an editor of the Free Press and his two nephews became editors of The Globe and Mail and The Beaver.


  • Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics (1922)
  • Canada: An American Nation (1935)


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