Both of the Ottawa Citizen's editorial writers have decided to leave the newspaper next month.
Editorial pages editor Kate Heartfield's last day will be Dec. 11, after 11 years at the paper, while editorial writer James Gordon will end his 12-year tenure a week earlier, on Dec. 4.
"It gives me great displeasure to announce that both members of our editorial board, Kate Heartfield and James Gordon, have decided to leave the Citizen," editor Andrew Potter said in an e-mail to staff on Wednesday.
Ms. Heartfield declined to give an interview, and Mr. Gordon did not respond to messages requesting comment.
But both journalists posted farewell notes to Twitter, with Ms. Heartfield saying she plans "to spend more time writing fiction and parenting my kid, and to freelance non-fiction and editing." She called the Citizen's newsroom "my home," and her colleagues there "my family," but said "it's time to move on."
Mr. Gordon tweeted that "After 12 years and 1,200 or so bylines, I've decided to move on." He had previously worked for the Citizen's sports section and praised his colleagues, some of whom he described as "personal heroes of mine."
The Ottawa daily is owned by Postmedia Network Canada Corp., Canada's largest newspaper chain, which has already centralized some opinion writing. Some columns by prominent writers such as Andrew Coyne and Christie Blatchford appear across its papers, and the company has begun inserting a daily section of National Post content in its titles in Montreal, Edmonton and Windsor.
The Citizen's editor, Andrew Potter, said the two editorial board jobs will be "filled internally," from the paper's existing staff, and it is "definitely the plan" to continue having the Citizen write its own editorials. He declined to comment on the departures.
Postmedia drew criticism in advance of last month's federal election when the company confirmed its executives dictated that all newspapers in the chain – which includes the Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald and Vancouver Province, as well as the flagship National Post and the Sun papers – must endorse the Conservatives and Stephen Harper.
The newspapers wrote separate editorials, but each backed the Tories. However, within days, prominent political columnist Andrew Coyne resigned his job as the National Post's editor of editorials and comment, citing "a professional disagreement" with Postmedia's leadership after he was told he couldn't write a column disagreeing with the Post's editorial endorsement.
Postmedia president and chief executive officer Paul Godfrey told The Globe and Mail that, "Since God made babies, I think [endorsement editorials] were always made that way, and if anyone thinks otherwise, I think they were dreaming in Technicolor."
Some Postmedia papers, including the Citizen, also came under the fire over an advertising wrap paid for by the Conservative Party, which covered the papers' front pages on the Saturday before the vote, and which used the yellow colour scheme of Elections Canada.
Like many newspapers, the Citizen has had to cut costs of late, offering staff buyouts last February, as Postmedia has sought to cut about $180-million in annual spending over a five-year period.