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Politics Federal election: Globe editorial endorsements from 1984 to now

The Globe and Mail's editorial board has made its endorsement ahead of the federal election on Oct. 19.

Here is a look at which parties won The Globe and Mail editorial board's support during federal elections over the past 30 years.

Stephen Harper in 2015. The Canadian Press

2015: The Globe endorses the Conservatives (not Stephen Harper)

From the editorial:

"Canada needs a change. It also needs the maintenance of many aspects of the economic status quo. What Canada needs, then, is a Conservative government that is no longer the Harper government.

It is not time for the Conservatives to go. But it is time for Mr. Harper to take his leave. He can look back on parts of his record with pride, but he has undone himself and his party with a narrowness of vision and a meanness of spirit on a host of issues, from voting rights to crime and punishment to respect for science to respect for the courts. The topper has been how this election campaign was sidetracked into an artificial, American-style, culture war over niqabs and “barbaric cultural practices.” The spectacle of a prime minister seemingly willing to say anything, or demonize anyone, in an attempt to get re-elected has demeaned our politics. And while it may have firmed up the old Reform base, it also solidified the Harper Conservative Party as a party of, by and for that base.

The Conservatives have been a big tent party in the past, and they must be once again. Fiscally prudent, economically liberal and socially progressive – the party could be all of those things, and it once was. But it won’t be, as long as Mr. Harper is at its head. His party deserves to be re-elected. But after Oct. 19, he should quickly resign. The Conservative Party, in government or out, has to reclaim itself from Stephen Harper."

Stephen Harper in 2011. Adrian Wyld/Reuters

2011: The Globe endorses Stephen Harper’s Conservatives

From the editorial:

“Only Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have shown the leadership, the bullheadedness (let’s call it what it is) and the discipline this country needs. He has built the Conservatives into arguably the only truly national party, and during his five years in office has demonstrated strength of character, resolve and a desire to reform. Canadians take Mr. Harper’s successful stewardship of the economy for granted, which is high praise. He has not been the scary character portrayed by the opposition; with some exceptions, his government has been moderate and pragmatic.”

“The campaign of 2011 – so vicious and often vapid – should not be remembered fondly. But that will soon be behind us. If the result is a confident new Parliament, it could help propel Canada into a fresh period of innovation, government reform and global ambition. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are best positioned to guide Canada there.”

Stephen Harper in 2008. Fred Greenslade/Reuters

2008: The Globe endorses Stephen Harper’s Conservatives

From the editorial:

“On balance, Mr. Harper remains the best man for the job in the tough times now upon us. He deserves if not four more years, at least two more years.

“Meanwhile, the supposedly obstinate Mr. Harper has been nothing if not open to adjusting as circumstances change. He was masterful in building a “big tent” centre-right alternative to the “natural governing” Liberals. His vision, determination and adroitness restored political competition to Canada, not an insignificant accomplishment.”

“By and large, Canadians still don’t really trust Mr. Harper and so he has not yet earned their comfort with a majority government. If he prevails next Tuesday, it will be as a default choice, not a popular choice. Voters generally respect him – and, right now, competence trumps the unknown – but if he ever hopes to complete the construction of a governing party of the right and be remembered as more than a middling, minority prime minister, Mr. Harper will have to show as much capacity to grow over the next four years as he has over the past four.”

Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen in 2006. Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

2006: The Globe endorses Stephen Harper’s Conservatives

From the editorial:

“Today, Canadians clearly are ready for change. If not now – if not after a painfully incoherent minority Liberal government, if not after a succession of scandals, if not after four full terms of deteriorating government – then when? When is change acceptable if not now?”

“There is greater reason to feel comfortable with Mr. Harper today. He has shown himself to be an intelligent man and one, in this campaign at least, who has learned to master his emotions. He has gained control of a party inclined to fly off in all directions, moved it to the centre and proposed a reasonable if imperfect governing platform. His targeted tax measures are measured, his defence policies are sound, and his approach to waiting times is worth experimenting with.”

“The question many ask – who is the real Stephen Harper? – cannot be answered with exactitude. Then again, who was the real Pierre Trudeau – the civil libertarian or the invoker of the War Measures Act? All politics contains a degree of posturing and calculation. That said, the evidence suggests Mr. Harper has indeed evolved as a national leader.”

Paul Martin in 2004. Shaun Best/Reuters

2004: The Globe endorses Paul Martin’s Liberals

From the editorial:

“The answer to the question of who can best govern Canada requires a close examination not just of the devil you know but of the alternative.”

“On the one hand, the Liberals are worn and tired and their leader has not lived up to his billing. But he’s performed well in previous incarnations.

On the other hand, Stephen Harper, a product of Central Canadian caution and Alberta’s can-do frontier mentality, represents genuine change. Yet there are troubling signs that he has not yet matured into a truly national leader.”

“As with medicine, the most important principle of Canadian politics should be to do no harm.”

“Therefore, we urge a Liberal vote Monday – not because they’ve earned the right to re-election but because, at the very least, we can count on them to do little harm ...”

Jean Chretien and his wife Aline in 2000. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

2000: The Globe endorses Jean Chrétien’s Liberals

From the editorial:

“Canadians have enjoyed an uncommon run of prosperity. The federal Liberal government, by which we mean Finance Minister Paul Martin, has taken advantage of the good times and exercised the necessary fiscal restraint to erase a crippling federal deficit and begin paying down an enormous debt.”

“If only Mr. Martin were running for prime minister rather than Mr. Chrétien, our choice would be obvious. Mr. Martin is a fully bilingual, thoughtful, experienced politician with a business background and leadership instincts at the conservative end of the Liberal spectrum.

But Mr. Martin is not running for prime minister. Mr. Chrétien has made sure of that, several times. The question, therefore, is whether he might become prime minister.”

“We therefore cast our vote for the Liberals, in the belief that the party will soon choose Mr. Martin as its leader, and Canada’s.”

Jean Charest in 1997. Tom Hanson/The Canadian Press

1997: The Globe endorses Jean Charest’s Progressive Conservatives

From the editorial:

“It is almost surprising to realize that, on balance, the best party platform comes from the Progressive Conservatives under Jean Charest. The PCs were not supposed to be ready with a coherent vision for the future yet, but Mr. Charest delivered it this spring with convincing force.”

“As a political leader, Jean Charest is clearly superior to Jean Chrétien. Mr. Charest’s ability to make the case for his cause is unsurpassed in Canadian politics, and his approach to Quebec has long shown the suppleness required by reality. The fact that Mr. Charest’s teammates are largely unknown and untested is a liability, but less so than Mr. Chrétien’s presumptuous absence of policy or vision.

Elections require that choices be made among imperfect alternatives in the face of unpredictable events. The Liberals made a bet in calling this election: That they wouldn’t have to earn a second mandate with specific commitments for the future because their opponents were too weak to matter. Both Reform and the PCs have shown the Liberals to be wrong, and Jean Charest has, in our opinion, prevailed in making the best case for the support of the voters.”

Jean Chrétien in 1993. Tom Hanson/The Canadian Press

1993: The Globe endorses a minority government for Jean Chrétien’s Liberals

From the editorial:

“Let us declare firmly for a minority. We do not trust the Liberals to govern unguarded.”

“In short, a minority would put all three parties on probation, probably for about two years. We should then have the chance to watch and learn from their behaviour in Parliament – whether the Grits have changed, whether the Tories can regroup, whether Reform matures – before committing ourselves to a majority for any one party.

What does all this mean for Canadians deciding where to cast their ballot? The Liberals are rightly assured of a plurality. The task now is to deny them a majority. So we urge voters who share our concerns at the Liberals being given a “blank cheque” to vote tactically, Tory or Reform, depending on which party’s candidate is best placed to defeat a Liberal. With the collapse of the Tories, that party looks in most cases to be Reform. The need to avoid splitting the vote is most acute in Ontario and the West, where the Grit majority will be won or lost. Mr. Manning wants his party to be the “fiscal and democratic conscience” of the next Parliament. He has earned that right.”

Brian Mulroney, right, in 1988. Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

1988: The Globe endorses Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservatives

From the editorials:

“To a degree perhaps unprecedented in Canadian history, this election has been dominated by a single issue – the free-trade agreement negotiated with the United States. Moreover, the political lines on the issue have been drawn with exceptional clarity: the Conservatives are strongly pro, the Liberals and NDP dead set against. The result, for those of us who favour the agreement, is an easy and obvious choice about which party to support in Monday’s vote. It must be the Conservatives.”

“This election demands passage to a higher state of maturity in Canada, internally as well as globally. Unity can no longer be based on the assumption that whole regions can stand alienated for generations “in the national interest.” The constructive citizenship of most Canadians must be assumed to be deepened. The image of Ottawa as policeman and Defender of the Faith must give way to Ottawa as leader and partner in a shared national purpose, as it has since 1984.

This is a nation-building election. We need a Conservative majority to protect and strengthen the new foundations of unity laid by the Mulroney government. Complacency with our progress could too easily become the enemy of our success.”

Brian Mulroney and his wife Mila in 1984. The Canadian Press

1984: The Globe endorses Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservatives

From the editorial:

“Which party is most likely to change – really change – the way our national government operates? Which party has the best claim to be a truly national party appealing to the diverse regions and groups which comprise the Canadian family? The answer to both questions is: the Conservative Party. And that, not Brian Mulroney’s smooth campaign or John Turner’s sometimes scratchy one, is why Canadians should vote to install a Conservative Government in Ottawa.”

“It is, as Mr. Mulroney says, a time for civility, for healing, in this diverse and quarrelsome land. The best chance for that is to elect a Conservative Government and let it get on with the nation’s business.”

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