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From 'bugalypse' to Barack Obama Add to ...

The path from 2000 to 2009 was seldom easy and often devastating, as a review of The Globe's editorials over the decade shows. It began, however, with an anti-climax. Remember the Y2K bug, which many feared would disable computers incapable of recognizing a year beginning with "2"?

Jan. 4, 2000: The media world was ready to feast upon the "bugalypse" - what some were calling a potential computer-bug-created apocalypse. If all the world's computerized systems crashed, journalists were primed to report on food riots, fatal water fights, people frozen in their beds, panic and mayhem. And what happened was - nothing. ... What we got was the system working, and the system working is boring - and worse. For in the Age of Entertainment, everything boring is deeply suspect, even if it amounts to a

bugalypse averted.

Dec. 6, 2000: In the year 2000, it is grotesque that a loving and committed couple should be denied their fondest wish because they happen to be of the same sex. Countless court decisions and legislative changes over the past decade have affirmed that homosexual couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples. ... These changes have underlined the simple fact that homosexuals are equal members of society, entitled to the same rights as anyone else. Why, then, should they be denied the right to marry?

Sept. 12, 2001: When a friend suffers a terrible tragedy, we search for words of sympathy, and usually accept there is no way to convey all our horror and outrage and sorrow. So it is with the terrorist attacks in the United States yesterday. At The Globe and Mail, as in many homes and offices around the world, we stood silently yesterday morning, hearts pounding, all of us realizing there is no appropriate comment at a moment of unfolding catastrophe.

This much we can say, inadequate as it is. Our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with the victims, with their families, and with the United States. We mourn also for a world profoundly changed. Because changed we surely are, in ways that will be seen both immediately and gradually. Such an unpredictable attack alters all understanding of safety and national security. It will shake the confidence of many Americans who believed they lived in the greatest, strongest and most powerful nation on Earth. Power, as it turns out, can never be absolute.

Oct. 10, 2001: Canada has now joined the military battle [in Afghanistan]against terrorism, and it is in this dangerous role that Canada offers its most significant commitment to the U.S.-led fight. ... Military action is easy to support at its beginning, when optimism is at its highest. It is worth noting, however, that officials from Washington and Ottawa have repeatedly cautioned that this will be a long and slow campaign. ...

It is an easy prediction that there will be a struggle to sustain public support if results don't come quickly, and certainly if Canadians are killed in action. If resolve should waver as the initial alarm passes, we will have to remember why we joined this cause in the first place.

Oct. 9, 2003: Canadians have grown almost inured to the spectacle of the country's two most powerful political figures - Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and former finance minister Paul Martin - wrestling for power and position like two six-year-olds vying for control of a sandbox. ... Locked as they are in a rivalry more than a decade old, Messrs. Chrétien and Martin are incapable even of acknowledging a power struggle exists.

Jan. 25, 2006: Paul Martin is a decent, honourable man whose long-sought opportunity to be prime minister of Canada fell short of expectations.

In part, this was the result of a factor beyond his control: the Auditor-General's report on the sponsorship scandal. Though the scandal occurred on the watch of former prime minister Jean Chrétien, Mr. Chrétien saw to it that the report was not tabled in Parliament during his final days in office. He left it as a ticking bomb for Mr. Martin, who, to his great credit, reacted in a decent, honourable way. He appointed Mr. Justice John Gomery to get to the bottom of the abuse of public funds by the Liberal government and by ad agencies.

Mr. Martin's course was not politically savvy; Mr. Chrétien, the old street fighter who scoffed that the public had a short memory, wouldn't have chosen a course guaranteed to keep the scandal indefinitely in the public eye. But that was one of the reasons why it was past time for Mr. Chrétien to leave, and Mr. Martin's passion for ethical reform was one of the reasons his ascension occasioned such hope. Sadly, there has been more hope than achievement.

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